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OMID began as a thought experiment: How could we improve upon Paul Polak’s treadle pump system? The hope which is foundational to that thought experiment is that by giving subsistence communities greater control over their energy and water they might gain a new level of self-sufficiency which will enhance the quality of their lives and the lives of their children.
OMID’s approach is not charity based. We want to help farmers become entrepreneurs through a system by which they own the PREP equipment which gives them access to energy where they have none or frees them from the ongoing expense and lack of dependability of buying their energy from electric companies. In this way not only will they learn about and care for the PREP but once the tank is filled (within a few hours) they can take the PREP home where it can be used for electricity in their homes.
PREP is a triple bottom line product – financially profitable for the farmers, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.
Technology created for the PREP is open source thus can be used and disseminated widely.
In 2009 the PREP system was tested in a remote, arid region of Iran, with remarkable results (see the Projects page for pictures). In 2015 the ColdShed was tested in Kenya with mango farmers, again with remarkable results. We are now focusing our attention on combining the two solar powered technologies in Cesar Department (Province) in Colombia.
In 2017 OMID donated and installed a complete system (a deep well pump, common/shared reservoir, PREP with small tank, and a ColdShed) (see pictures below) at SENA University (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje) in Valledupar, Cesar Department (Province), Colombia. We have a hectare of land at SENA to use the system for a variety of crops. SENA will serve as both a demonstration site and a place to test new technologies that communities need.
The same pattern can be followed in other countries around the world.
We have also established a long-term partnership with Red Adelco (www.redadelco.org), a Colombian NGO that works with poor communities throughout the country to help educate these communities about this new approach and help set up and implement the the solar systems in subsistence communities. They will also be an invaluable source for identifying needs of communities for which we then will try to develop solutions.
OMID is a solutions-based nonprofit which interacts with poor farming communities, asking them what they need to better their lives and then finding renewable energy solutions for those problems. Our goal is to raise the world’s poorest people out of poverty by giving them control over energy, water, and refrigeration. We already have new solutions being developed in response to communities’ requests.
Almost all of the parts of both the PREP and ColdShed will be manufactured in Colombia (with the hope that eventually all the products will be manufactured in Colombia). Thus we are supporting the manufacturing sector as well as subsistence communities. Again this same pattern can be replicated around the world.
On a trip to Colombia in November 2017, by listening to the members of communities (rather than telling them what they need), we have discovered a range of new uses for the PREP. One community of 30 families, to whom OMID donated a system, is using it to deliver water from a common well to their houses. For the first time in their lives they will have water in their homes and the energy to bring it to them is free.
– We are in the testing phase of a solar system that will allow small cattle farmers to keep their meat at 4 degree centigrade to meet national health standards
– We are developing a solar system that will clean polluted water to a standard that can be used for agriculture.