Few city dwellers think twice about turning on the lights. But in rural communities, access to national electricity networks is not something to be taken for granted. In Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua, between 30% and 40% of the population lacks electricity. Provision of electricity represents a giant step toward improving quality of life.
On Wednesday, 13 September, a virtual forum entitled “Community Participation: Responses to Electrification in Remote Areas: Ecotecnológico, Bolivia” will be conducted from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Chilean time (13:00 to 21:00 GMT) on the website http://www.risalc.org.
The forum will present the Ecotecnológico project, one of 20 finalists among 1,600 entries in the 2004-2005 cycle of the Experiences in Social Innovation contest of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Ecotecnológico aims to provide electricity to rural communities in the Bolivia department of La Paz, through micro-hydro power plants built and maintained by communities. Beneficiaries receive training in efficient energy use, analysis and determination of tariffs, energy for productive enterprises and water conservation.
Launched in 1997 and currently in its second stage, the program has 10 micro power plants and four productive enterprises in operation. These include milk, coffee and yucca flour processing plants and a handicrafts workshop, in addition to household connections. Some 3,700 people, mostly poor, are among its beneficiaries.
The project is being implemented by the Bolivian NGO Prodene and Alisei, an Italian NGO which works to reduce poverty, with support from the European Commission.
To participate in the electronic forum, enter the website http://www.risalc.org and register. Questions and comments will be answered by María Elisa Bernal, ECLAC/Kellogg project director, and Andrés Calizaya director of Prodener.
This electronic forum is organized by ECLAC, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, through the Network of Latin American and Caribbean Social Institutions (RISALC), and funding from the Italian Cooperation agency. Available documentation includes the project analysis and ECLAC publications on social development.
To join the virtual forum, enter ECLAC‘s RISALC site at www.risalc.org, select the forum from the Networks/Virtual Communities section and register. For more information (and to resolve any technical difficulties), contact Marco Ortega, at ECLAC, tels: (56 2) 210 2272 or e-mail email@example.com.
More information about the Experiences in Social Innovation Award: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).