Innovative Approach to sustainable use of resources to develop new outcomes
28 Jun 2014
“Development without Projects”
HAMK Development Studies module students have participated in an interesting concept of enhancing development without external project funding. HAMK partner, Shalin ry (http://shalinry.org/?lang=en) has been implementing 3 projects focused on ecological approach to development and specifically natural resource management and renewable energy. The three projects- GIS enhanced ecological mapping for improved governance of natural resources (GISEEM) and Renewable Energy for Sustainable Ecology (RESCUE) and Gasification Stove development started having joint actions, which led to the evolution of the local NGOs/CBOs into Cooperatives.
Cooperation with HAMK and HAMK students have been a valuable resource in developing this concept of development without project funding . The strategic aim of Shalin projects is to promote sustainable practices in food systems, forestry, biodiversity conservation, renewable energy technologies, and the related processes.
In total, seven Cooperatives emerged which were supported by Shalin through the umbrella cooperative -COOP Kenya. Through COOP Kenya, the local coops received capacity and business plans development support. During this process, one of the Coops decided to engage in the service industry and specifically on eco-tourism. The idea to build and eco-lodge was muted, but there was no money. The innovation of the new concept is based on the approach- where the activities hosted by the community from the planning phase are a chargeable service. This generates resources to start the actual build process and work, and in this case building the eco-logde with renewable energy solutions.
Innovation for Sustainability- Cherangany Eco-Lodge Under COOP Kenya the Cherangany community, which is one of the Ogiek communities with minority rights in Western Kenya, HAMK started working with Shalin and planning the actualisation of the Cherangany Eco-lodge. In 2012, working with students from HAMK/FUAS from development studies and volunteers, community consultations for the design of the eco-lodge began. In March 2013, students from HAMK/FUAS including their tutor spent 2 weeks in Kenya, met the different cooperatives and started the work on the different aspects of the project. They developed the landscape plans, contributed to the structural design and helped in the installation the wind turbine to generate renewable energy. This planning phase brought income for the community so that the building activities could start and the eco-logde was ready to host the first international meeting.
The first visitors were Finnish NGOs, Siemenpuu Foundation and Coalition for Environment and Development (Ympäristö ja Kehitys ry – CED). These meetings gave courage and trust for the community that their plans can be realised and their income can be boosted through their own actions. The community has hosted also some national and regional events. In 2014, the second group of Development studies were back at the Eco-lodge to assist in the further development of the Eco-lodge. During this period, the students focused on improving the interior decor, the landscaping, building of better sanitation, improving the functioning of the renewable energy installation and developing marketing material. In Cherangani eco-logde there are now 16 traditionally build huts. The huts have basic facilities, raised beds, chairs and traditional decoration. Roofs are made of grass and this with the tranquility in the region makes one’s sleep especially sweet. The eco-logde stands on a beautiful hill top, and in the third highest elevation in Kenya, which is ideal for high altitude training and home to majority of the Kenyan world champion runners. The deep and rich cultural roots make the welcome to Cherangani warm and the traditional dance groups ready to entertain the visitors all year round.
Ecolodge development and cooperation will continue.To sustain this approach of generating new outcomes, Shalin ry is coordinating a new project, “Skills for Appropriate Sustainable Technologies” (SkillsFAST). The project plans to use the Cherangany eco-lodge for some of the team preparation meetings. The project partnership, including HAMK, will have also partners from Uganda and Tanzania. A highlight Video: