GIFT: An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development

Jay Owen Trendspotting, Earth Systems Science

Global Institute For Tomorrow – Programme Updates – Summer 2013
Programme Updates – Summer 2013

An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development issued by the UN last month outlines 10 priorities covering the four main dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth and the end of poverty, social inclusion,environmental sustainability, and good governanceWater resources for drinking, sanitation, energy and irrigation will be critical in ensuring economic, social, and environmental sustainability in the coming decade.

GIFT has been working on several water-related projects this summer, particularly in the areas of affordable irrigation solutions and “mini-hydro” development in India and Indonesia.

Project Update:
Affordable irrigation and financing solutions for smallholder farmers in India
India ranks amongst the top ten water-rich countries, but is still considered a water stressed nation. Many smallholder farmers rely on a fickle monsoon for irrigation. Limited resources prevent them from accessing affordable solutions for year-round irrigation, even though in some areas water is often present just a few meters below ground.

Participants on our most recent programme worked with award-winning social enterprise IDEI to propose a business plan for Blue Wealth International (BWI), a commercial enterprise affiliated with IDEI.  The new business aims improve the sale and profitability of treadle pumps, a low-cost low-tech irrigation solution tailored to smallholder farmers’ needs. The plan includes a new marketing strategy, a flexible financing option for farmers through local dealers and a proposal to optimise the treadle pump supply chain.

The business model for BWI presents an attractive opportunity for social investors with an interest in agriculture; the new business is projected to be profitable within three years and have a significant impact on farmers’ livelihoods.
Upcoming Programme:
Investing in community-managed mini hydropower
From 14-25 October global executives enroled in GIFT’s flagship programme will travel to West Java in Indonesia tocreate a blueprint for nationwide investments in community-managed on-grid hydropower.  The field project, in partnership with award-winning local organisation IBEKA, will be in Mt. Halimun National Park, home to the Kasepuhan – a Sundanese community who have inhabited the area for over 700 years. Rice cultivation is the community’s primary activity, with paddy kept in iconic storage huts for up to 100 years. This key crop is not commoditized or sold for profit ensuring food security and environmental sustainability for the community.
Given Indonesia’s enormous potential for decentralised hydropower and a law that mandates the national grid to purchase electricity from independent power producers (IPPs), there is an opportunity for the creation of a new business to attract and manage investments in on-grid “mini-hydropower”. Leveraging IBEKA’s industry expertise and nationwide network, the 1.5MW plant at Mt. Halimun will serve as the pilot for a new social enterprise that will seek to improve rural electrification rates and providealternative sources of revenue for rural communities.

There are still spaces available on this programme, so check out the programme brochure for additional information about the project or email our Head of Programmes, Karim Rushdy, to learn more.

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