The new Sustainable Development Goals bring credence to some of the greatest challenges global communities have faced for decades. The effects of climate change and pervasive poverty are real, are growing, and must be addressed now. The problem is not a lack of financial capital, technical expertise or leadership skills – it is a lack of collaboration and an effective mechanism for matching resources to communities and projects that would thrive given capacity and support.
We at Greenwork™ believe the emerging green economy is a rapidly expanding opportunity for empowerment and employment. Greenwork is the newest initiative of Peacework®, a global non-profit that creates participatory development initiatives in over 17 countries.
Building on Peacework’s 27 years of experience supporting strategic cross-sector partnerships, Greenwork focuses on new opportunities in socially inclusive clean technology deployment. Our approach to mitigate climate change and reduce poverty utilises a strategic network of global partners across private, public and nonprofit sectors collaborating on projects that create shared value in renewable energy technology, resilience construction and sustainable agriculture.
Innovating for impact
Backing our commitment to partnerships for change, we know it takes real innovation to make a substantial impact. Since 2011, Peacework has worked with Penn State University and their local project sponsor, NECA member Vegas Electric, recognised as a leader in providing clean energy solutions for Roatán, Honduras, to install photovoltaic systems that benefit community institutions.
With essential support from ELECTRI, the foundation of the National Electrical Contractors Association, these systems provide electricity for educational centres and power water cisterns for up to 250-family communities. By including university students, community leaders, local electrical contractors and Greenwork field managers, we are able to install equipment, train community members on maintenance, provide for repairs and educate local youth on critical technology.
Collective impact is clear. Penn State students apply learned skills in the field and build cross-cultural professional relationships. Local institutions take the lead in solar energy in their community by creating a model for reliable and affordable electricity.
A customisable approach
The inclusion of social, cultural and political variables of communities ensures long-term sustainability of investments for all stakeholders. For financial investors – whether foundations or cleantech companies seeking to expand – this customisable approach is environmentally and culturally responsible and makes business sense, being both an economic and a social imperative.
The green economy is underway and communities throughout the world are ready for the evolution of job opportunities and access to innovative solutions. Through our strategic cross-sector partnerships the opportunities to expand business, create local jobs and actualise change in the lives of thousands are here and now.
Partnerships powered at greenwork.org
Image © Qiang Yu