Spare a Few Bucks for Biogas?

July 21, 2008

Oh the irony of writing a post asking for money after I wrote a post talking about how much I hate being asked for money…Let me justify myself:

After my last post about how I didn’t get the grant for my biogas project, a bunch of people commented/emailed me asking if there was any way that they could help. I was actually amazed by the number of emails I got, I’m always surprised by how many people actually read my random scribbles.

So here’s the deal: I don’t like asking for money. I know that most people reading this blog are college students who are just as broke as me (although maybe not quite as broke, perhaps some of you actually got a summer job that pays instead of buying a plane ticket to Africa…) I don’t like the idea of making my blog about fund raising and I really, really don’t want any of my friends/family to feel obligated to give me money.

That being said, money would be great! My original idea after I didn’t get the grant was that I would just apply to other sources of funding. I’ve done that, I applied to the Ford Foundation, Autodesk and I’m currently in the process of applying for carbon credits through CarbonCreditCapital.com (The last one takes longer because I have to get a letter of approval from the Kenyan government, bureaucracy sucks, trust me).

The only dilemma is that even if we get all of the funding, we still won’t actually see any money until at least 3 months from now. This sucks for a number of reasons. It sucks because the need is urgent, women are being bitten/arrested/raped all the time while collecting wood and the rainforest is quickly declining as a result of their wood collection. It also sucks because as much as I would like to believe otherwise, I think this project might die if we don’t get funding before I leave. This sounds really arrogant and like I have no faith in my co-workers which is definitely not the case.

The problem is that all my co-workers are volunteers, meaning that they receive only small volunteer stipends. In order to survive they often do small jobs outside of CARD. This means that without funding, I literally can’t ask them to continue the project, where are they going to get the money even to travel to visit the forest communities? Also, even though I would say that I am far from crucial to this project, I have spoken with a lot of different people about it. I’ve talked to other organizations and especially government officials about partnering with CARD on this project. Unfortunately, Alfred has been absent for a lot of these meetings, he’s pretty broke at the moment so he’s taken on a few small consulting jobs.

So if my long-winded explanation has made you decide that hey, I could donate a few bucks to Kenya, first you should know exactly where your money will be going. I added a page to this blog with the shortened (2 page) version of my grant proposal, the same version that I sent to Autodesk. Check it out http://lisamariecurtis.com/biogas-project-grant-proposal/

Within the proposal is the budget. It’s long and boring so if you don’t want to read it, here’s the basic summary:

  • It costs $ 52.50 for all of the materials to construct a biodigester. We are proposing to construct 1 demonstration digesters in 20 the communities that border the forest, making a total of 20 digesters which is $1050
  • However, we want to do more than just build biodigesters. We want to educate the community about the benefits of biogas and train them on how to construct their own digester. So in order to do that, it costs $ 250 for the training and monitoring. If we want to do that in the 20 communities, it will cost $5,000 which is how much we are asking from Autodesk and the Ford Foundation.

I definitely don’t expect to raise $5,000 from my friends, that’s a lot of money! But I’m hoping that maybe I can raise $250, enough to construct one demonstration digester and train the community. I think I’m going to donate $250 as well, although I’m going to lie and say it was fundraised because I don’t want them to feel indebted to me in any way.

Okay so if you’ve somehow made it all the way through this long blog post and have a few extra bucks to save a rainforest/help women/promote renewable energy, here’s how you can do it:

  1. Email me (curtislm@whitman.edu) and tell me how much you would like to donate.
  2. I’ll send you the link to the FSD website and you can enter in your credit card information

I wanted to create a PayPal account so that people could donate directly to CARD but unfortunately you need a credit card and CARD doesn’t have one. Alfred is looking into getting one though so hopefully soon people can do that. I really want CARD to have an account because I created a website for them, www.cardkakamega.com and it would be great if there could be a “donate” button on the site!

One last thing, I would LOVE any comments/suggestions on the website (www.cardkakamega.com), I’m not technologically inclined at all, this blog was set up by a friend and I even had to ask for help setting up CARD’s website!

Thanks! Even if you can’t donate, thanks for reading!