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Changing Lives Through Renewable Energy
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Changing Lives Through Renewable Energy
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Earth Focus: Solar Power
Safe drinking water and household electricity were well out of reach for the rural communities of Candelaria and Malacatoya, Nicaragua, until the arrival of AsoFenix, a nonprofit organization that provides renewable energy projects to improve the lives of rural Nicaraguans.
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Directed by Matt Weatherly.

Originally featured in the ViewChange Online Film Contest.

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Segment 1

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Nicaragua
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Changing Lives Through Renewable Energy: Green Empowerment and AsoFenix, Candelaria and Malcatoya, Nicaragua. Green Living Project
ROB HOLMES [Host, Green Living Project]
Electricity and immediate access to potable water are things a lot of us take for granted, but not rural Nicaraguans. A local NGO, AsoFenix, in partnership with Green Empowerment, are providing these basic needs through cool, renewable energy projects, like wind, solar, micro-hydro, and biogas. It's exciting stuff that's having an immediate impact on the environment and the lives of rural Nicaraguans.
JAMIE MUNOZ [Director, AsoFenix]
AsoFenix began in the year 2000. I left the National Engineering University because I saw the need to use the projects of renewable energy to improve the lives or rural people.
SARAH HAYS [Volunteer, AsoFenix]
AsoFenix has been making an impact in the communities by installing water projects where before people had to carry buckets of water on their head several kilometers in order to have water in their house, as well as providing electricity in communities where there's no road and there would have never been electricity.
SETH HAYS [Volunteer, AsoFenix]
Up the stream, we built a dam, and we're diverting the water, and, as you know, there's always water. It's a renewable resource, so the water's channeled through pipes, spins a turbine, which generates electricity and goes into the community, and then the water re-enters the stream farther down.
ROB HOLMES
So, with the two to three kilowatts that this generates, how many households does it power?
SETH HAYS
Here in the community we're connected to about 29 houses, so it's about 100 watts per house is what they use for electricity.
CRUZ TORRES BURGO [Project Technician, AsoFenix]
The energy has really helped our coffee production. In order to de-pulp the coffee, we used to have to do it by hand. And we would start working at three in the afternoon, and work until ten at night. And now within a half an hour, using an electric motor, we can remove the fruit that would have taken us seven hours before.
NIDIA GONZALEZ [Resident, Candelaria]
So before, life was hard. But now we're a lot happier. We have water in our houses. We don't have to go long distances to carry water back to our houses. Less people are getting sick, so life is just a lot happier now.
JAMIE MUNOZ
So before we start projects, I build relationships with the communities, and through these relationships, I feel a strong tie to the communities. At times I feel even if I were to find a better job, or something where I would make more money, I couldn't give up my promise to these families to help them improve their lives.