With a central philosophy that “it’s not worth giving, it’s not worth selling, it’s worth constructing together,” Pierre-Yves Herrouet is addressing the unmet needs of diverse impoverished rural and urban communities in northern Argentina for cleaner and cost-effective energy solutions, thereby improving their income, health, the environment and livelihoods.

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As exemplified by his central philosophy, Pierre engages isolated and largely impoverished rural communities in a social mobilization effort that brings communities together to equip themselves with a powerful and appropriate model of green technology that is adapted to their daily routine and customs. For Pierre, the community members, almost 95% of whom are indigenous, are both the key beneficiaries and the central change agents. His initiative Solar Inti only helps provide the tools and context. His deep, empowering engagement consists of an extensive period in which communities embark on a self-diagnosis of their needs and in collaboration with Solar Inti select and create new technologies that are most suitable for their regular routines. Community members work with each other and Pierre to build new transportable kitchens with ecologically friendly appliances using solar energy. These are adapted for use by rural farmers, especially to their particular diet, and come with a “kit” that serves to enable their adaptation and integration into daily life. The rural residents provide basic disposable inputs, such as wood and glass, to build and maintain the tools—and even more importantly their collective energy.

Pierre’s approaches success lies in its close participatory interventions that place the individuals from the community as the protagonists. Solar Inti’s engagement with local communities are both deep and carefully planned, much more so than most projects of similar high caliber, and are unlike any technology program available in the isolated northwest of Argentina. Rather than seeking to implant a piece of equipment in a new community, Pierre works with the community to design and adapt into their daily lives one of a plethora of devices that he and Solar Inti’s associates have either identified or created. As the Solar Inti intervention goes on, the community members develop a new sense of cohesion with one another, relying on one another to help in the adoption and maintenance of their new equipment. This cohesion lasts long after Solar Inti winds down its active involvement in the community.

Read the source article at Ashoka.org

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