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Update #1: Knightsbridge / Green Empowerment Mission to Philippines: 2-03

This is a brief update of our current mission to the Philippines.

On the first leg of this trip, Walt Ratterman of Knightsbridge International is accompanying Michael Royce of Green Empowerment to several projects dealing with delivery of basic electricity and potable water to communities in some very remote areas of the Philippines. This relationship will enable Knightsbridge to learn more about the techology available to be address the water and electricity needs of the communities they serve around the world.

February 15th through 19th: Negros Island

On Negros island, we worked with a local NGO, AIDFI. (Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc.) We visited several communities on Negros, and learned quite a bit about the methods that AIDFI has used to be able to address the needs of the communities. They have concentrated significant efforts on utilizing and improving on the technology of the "ram pump". The ram pump is able to move water from a low elevation to a high elevation with no electricity, provided some key water parameters are met. Basically, if the low water source has sufficient fall and flow, the ramp pump is able to use the energy in this water, and push a portion of the water up the hill to the community. We visited communities where AIDFI has installed systems that can pump water, in sufficient quantities to provide potable drinking water, and water for drip irrigation for as many as 500 people in a village. The heights that the water can be pumped can be up to 100 meters or more.(Over 300 feet).

This technology can be put to use in many communities around the world where the appropriate water conditions exist, providing clean drinking water for costs far less than the alternatives.

February 20 through 23rd: Mindanao

We then visited several areas in the Eastern portion of Mindanao and met with a local NGO - YAMOG. Yamog has been developing their expertise in microhydro capability to be able to provide electricity to small communities.

The facilities Yamog has installed range from 5 kW to 25 kW, and more are planned that are larger. The communities they are providing power for range up to over a hundred families.

The community development work involved with this effort is large. A community group needs to be assembled, of their own initiative, to be able to deal with all of the issues surrounding siting of the plant elements, operations and maintenance, and connection / disconnection policies and fees. Yamog will work with a group for up to a year to be sure these capacities are in place prior to committing to going forward with a micro-hydro plant. Included in the community development work is the sustainability of the surrounding watershed, which secures the continuing source of water for the plant. This needs a continuing program to prevent improper and illegal logging, and to continually plant trees.

We spent two days in a very remote village in the mountain - Saloy - where a project that Yamog is co-ordinating, and Green Empowerment is facilitating, is under way. When we arrived, the community was getting ready for a 24 hour continuous pour of a settlement basin that is a key element in the overall micro-hydro design. The plant location is far away from any normal roads, and all work had to be done by hand. The community had gathered a work force of about 100 people, with support staff for cooking, to work around the clock, hand mixing and pouring the concrete. All of this labor is volunteer, and is organized by the community groups.

Some of the power, when it is producing will be used for the school and the clinic. The clinic at this point, is nearly non-existent except for the structure - something we see all around the developing world. The electricity will allow them to install a vaccination refrigerator, and have lighting for running the clinic and seeing patients in the evening. Electricity in the school will provide for lighting in the evening, as well as power for new technologies - such as a computer.

While there, we learned that the students had nearly no school supplies, and the clinic had no stocks of medicines or first aid equipment. There is a strong village co-op, who is associated with buying supplies in town at large volume discounts, and selling them to the residents at prices far cheaper than they can find goods individually, even if they travel to town.

Knightsbridge made a donation, through the co-op to address the two issues of school supplies and household type medicines. For the school supplies, we provided funds for the co-op to purchase enough school supplies for all of the 700 students in the village. For the medicine, we provided funds to initiate a revolving fund, whereby the co-op will purchase, in bulk, medicines that are needed in the community, making them available to the residents at low prices. It is intended that after three years, the revolving fund will be paid back (through Yamog) and used similarly for another community. The co-op will provide regular records to Knightsbridge regarding the use of these funds.

Photos are attached as follows:

  • 4902: A Ram Pump in operation on Negros Island
  • 4979: The forebay structure, formed up and ready for concrete in Saloy
  • 5014: The forebay structure, being poured, viewed from below.
  • 5037: A 20KW crossflow turbine / generator in Megaharan
  • 5050: View of the Power House in Megaharan from below.

From here the trip will proceed to Mindoro Island to carry on further work initiated by Knightsbridge this past summer with Father Flynn and a community of inigenous Mangyan residents.

Thanks,

Walt Ratterman
Knightsbridge International
Mindanao, Philippines

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