Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Proyecto: Grant-Writing and more

It's Wednesday mid-day and I am currently at work. I have completed writing the bulk of my grant request and am working on the budget. For the last week and then some, I have been working on this grant. Not to be a downer, but grant-writing is a pain in the butt. FSD wants an absurd amount of details and the information gets repetitive. The title ("Introducing La Plata to Renewable Energy Technology: Construction of Solar Water Heaters") says it all. Was it really necessary to identify and discuss 6 different project focuses (economic, health, education, community development, environment, appropriate technology) when the community doesn't have hot water?? Well, I am asking for close to US$1000 to construct 3 (!!!) solar water heaters (SWH) so I can do the grunt work necessary.

And yes, I did say 3 SWHs! One of the other FSD interns working with another organization found another community in need (without hot water). So we are teaming up to build the 3rd SWH at another comedor.

I'll keep you updated with photos as the project moves along.

Currently, finding materials (most importantly tanks and wood) have been my focus. In most of the literature that I have read, building a SWH is considered an easy, DIY weekend project and the materials include things that you can find at a junk yard (used thermo tanks, old patio doors, etc). However, Argentines aren't as quick to give/throw away goods as Americans. They don't upgrade for the sake of upgrading. Things get used until they don't work anymore. Therefore, the chatarras ("second-hand goods store") that I have been visiting really are filled with junk. There aren't good used tanks lying around for me to snatch up. This is causing a big dilemma with my grant making the project way more expensive than I thought. The search continues...

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