It is common for immigrants in the United States to send money and resources back to their homeland. For many though, sending money is not enough. Instead, they share a common dream: to improve life for those still living in the communities from which they came. We meet foreign students studying in the US and first-generation immigrants who are taking the skills learned in America back to create innovative projects on the ground in Haiti, Cameroon and Ecuador.

Guests

  • Duquesne Fednard CEO and Founder of D&E Green Enterprises
  • Daniela Martinez Co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders Johns Hopkins University Project in Ecuador
  • Olivia Mukam Director of Harambe Cameroon

Making Green Stoves

Guest Duquesne Fednard’s brother and business partner, Jean-Fritz, discusses their green stove business model:

Transcript

  • 13:22:42

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIWelcome back. They say you can't go home again, so what happens when you try? For many first-generation immigrants, going home isn't a vacation. It's a mission. They return to their countries to bring the wealth of knowledge they've acquired to help develop their nation. But for many brave individuals, going home again can be a rude awakening. They are building a day care center, inspiring future entrepreneurs, creating green ovens. And whether they're in Ecuador, Haiti or Cameroon, all of them have faced similar obstacles, lack of funding, lack of support, slow government bureaucracy.

  • 13:23:18

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIWe're joining them to explore places and projects, no matter where they are. We've brought in Duquesne Fednard. He's a Haiti native. He's CEO and founder of D&E Green Enterprises, a company that has created green ovens called EcoRecho. Is that correct?

  • 13:23:36

    MR. DUQUESNE FEDNARDThat's correct, yeah.

  • 13:23:37

    NNAMDIDuquesne, thank you so much joining us. Joining us from studios in San Francisco, Ca., is Daniela Martinez. Originally from Ecuador, she's co-founder of the Ecuador project of EWBE, which is Engineers Without Borders USA, Johns Hopkins University Chapter. Daniela Martinez, thank you for joining us.

  • 13:23:58

    MS. DANIELA MARTINEZThank you. Thank you for having us.

  • 13:24:00

    NNAMDIDuquesne, let me start with you. You came to the U.S. in January 2001 to study computer science. You plan on returning to Haiti, but it's 2010. You're still here. How did your time in the U.S. transition you from a computer science degree to your current position as a social entrepreneur?

  • 13:24:16

    FEDNARDWell, thank you so much for having me.

  • 13:24:19

    NNAMDIYou're welcome.

  • 13:24:19

    FEDNARDAnd as you said, you know, I came to the U.S. in 2001 with the objective -- with a goal of getting a bachelor degree in computer science and go back and help. Unfortunately, when I graduated in 2004, the country, Haiti, you know, went to another, you know, political unrest, like, similar to what we're having right now. And that had prevented me from going back. So while I was there staying and working, I ended up going to graduate studies, get my degrees and the idea, again, just to really like, you know, get my knowledge hopefully like, you know, to go back and help the country.

  • 13:24:57

    FEDNARDSo in 2008, I started working on a project and for the past two years, we've been working on a green project in Haiti trying to solve one of the most pressing problems that the country face, which is energy. But it's not just an energy project. It's really like, you know, they have projects, you know, we're building project, you know, job creation and so forth. So at the, you know, at the end of this year, I'm going back full time to work on that project in Haiti.

  • 13:25:26

    NNAMDILet's talk about that project for a second because during our trip to Haiti, listeners heard a discussion of the green oven project in Haiti. Where did the idea for this green oven project called EcoRecho come from?

  • 13:25:41

    FEDNARDWell, the idea is not a new idea. The idea might be new to Haiti, but it's a technology that's been in use in the developing world for quite some time. I came up -- I came across of the technology while I was traveling in Africa, you know, doing, you know, consulting project for a course for my graduate school course work. So I came across of the similar project in Ghana and, you know, and I realized that, you know, this is a project that would benefit Haiti because the condition in Ghana, you know, very similar to Haiti and I would even say that it's much worse in Haiti than Ghana.

  • 13:26:20

    FEDNARDSo the idea really when I get there and I saw, you know, the impact and quickly, you know, I decided this is something that I would want to take to Haiti and hopefully, like, you know, help with some of the problem that we are facing.

  • 13:26:33

    NNAMDIDaniela, you were born in Ecuador. You came to the U.S. for college. Take us from there to how you got involved with this project in Ecuador.

  • 13:26:43

    MARTINEZOkay. Yes, well, I joined the chapter of EWB in my school in 2006 because I heard that they were doing a lot of good work in South Africa, in Guatemala, in Nicaragua, and I also heard that there were a few students who had done some work in Ecuador. And I was -- I thought the vision of EWB was great and I wanted to join the chapter. So I was talking to one of my friends from EWB, Linda Wan, (sp?) and she was one of the students who have been in Ecuador before doing some work. And she told me she had a great experience there. She learned a lot. It was a great way to get new skills and that was very encouraging.

  • 13:27:25

    MARTINEZSo a few weeks after I talked to Linda, I was actually talking to my dad and he was mentioning that he has been talking on the phone with one of his friends who is actually a member of the community where we're working. And this person was saying that his wife was very busy during the last months because she was babysitting some of the children in the community because the mothers have -- didn't have a place where they can stay while they were going to work. So he was giving me a lot of details about the situation in the community. They're having a small daycare center, but the infrastructure was not appropriate. It was very small. They didn't have enough teachers.

  • 13:28:03

    MARTINEZSo I was very curious about the situation. So I kept asking questions about my dad and then I called this person in the community and I just keep learning that the situation there wasn't really appropriate. They were having a lot of issues with the daycare center they have. And I was very interested and I really wanted to help because I knew this person. And then I talked to this friend, Linda, and I said, you know, Linda, I hear about this meeting and this community and I hear that the situation is very bad, and I just wanted to know, what do you think about this. Do you think we can do anything? Are you -- will you be interested in going there with EWB and maybe establishing a project?

  • 13:28:44

    MARTINEZAnd Linda, she was very excited. She said, yes, I would really would like to go back there. I think Ecuador is a great place. And we started to put a project together. We kept in touch with the community. We tried to get more information about the project. And then we talked to our advisor from EWB. He loved the idea as well, and we started from there. That's how the project was born.

  • 13:29:06

    NNAMDIBut as they say, talk is cheap and sometimes getting the action done is both expensive and takes a long time. When you first started in college here, Daniela, was it always your intention to go back to Ecuador and do something there?

  • 13:29:19

    MARTINEZWell, it was. I moved here in 2004. And as I said, Ecuador is home, and you always wanted to do something for the place that you love. So I always had this idea that I wanted to go back to Ecuador after I finish my degree. I always wanted to do something, but I didn't know how. And when I joined EWB is how I learned that there is a way that I can go to Ecuador and I can do it now.

  • 13:29:44

    NNAMDIPeople have heard...

  • 13:29:44

    MARTINEZI didn't have to wait four, five years.

  • 13:29:46

    NNAMDIPeople have heard of Doctors Without Borders. EWB is Engineers Without Borders. Daniela...

  • 13:29:50

    MARTINEZThat's right.

  • 13:29:51

    NNAMDI...in Ecuador, you've worked with two very different communities -- one rural, one in the city. A lot of our listeners may not be that familiar with Ecuador. How would you describe the community you grew up in compared to the community you're currently working with?

  • 13:30:06

    MARTINEZOh, yes. Well, I was born in Quito, which is the capital of Ecuador. That's a big city. It also had, like, a lot of mountains. You can find everything. There are big museums. It's a very big city, very urban. It's a very urban area. The community where we're working right now, it's a very urban area. The roads are very small, the houses are very small. They are still made of very basic materials like mud and wood.

  • 13:30:38

    MARTINEZPublic transportation is not really common there. It's very rare. There is not a public solid waste collection system. The water distribution system, it's not appropriate. So I can say it's -- there's a very big difference. I grew up being in the big city and now I'm working in very rural places. It's a very different scenario.

  • 13:31:04

    NNAMDIDaniela Martinez joins us from studios in San Francisco, California. She's originally from Ecuador. She is co-founder of the Ecuador Project of EWB, that's Engineers Without Borders USA, at the Johns Hopkins University chapter. Joining us in our Washington studio is Duquesne Fednard. He is a Haitian native, CEO and founder of DE & Green (sic) Enterprises, a company which is created green often called eco-racial. You can join the conversation at 800-433-8850.

  • 13:31:35

    NNAMDIAre you a foreign-born student or are you a foreign-born trying to get what done in your country that you feel that can improve the quality of life there. Tell us about the challenges you faced, 800-433-8850 or you can go to our website, kojoshow.org.

  • 13:31:52

    NNAMDIWe mentioned earlier the interview we conducted for the Green Oven Project while we were in Haiti. You can go to our website, kojoshow.org and listen to that interview there. But Duquesne, charcoal is the primary source of fuel for Haiti and many other countries, but it's not particularly green. How do these green ovens help make cooking more environmentally friendly?

  • 13:32:14

    FEDNARDWell, the project that we're talking right now, it's a twister project. We wanted to create something that has multiple impacts and immediately have immediate incidence on the life of the people in Haiti. So basically, you know, the green -- the efficient stove that we are currently manufacturing is the first step. And that is designed to really reduce consumption of charcoal by 50 percent while we are trying to find a more sustainable, an alternative fuel that can be manufactured locally. And the interest is on locally because, you know, for the past -- for many, many years, they have been trying to import solutions to the energy problem in Haiti and, you know, in other developing countries.

  • 13:33:04

    FEDNARDAnd those, you know, solutions, they failed because they failed to take into consideration, like, you know, the custom, the culture, what the people need, like the income level, the risk associated with the solution. So really the idea is to find local solution to local problems. So the first step is to really do that, give those people 50 percent, really fund their cost of energy while we are working on finding alternative fuel. So we are currently looking at briquette. Briquette's another source of fuel that you can use made out of sugarcane (word?) and other waste that can actually substitute to charcoal.

  • 13:33:41

    FEDNARDAnd the third step is, really, we are looking to find a way to manufacture clean fuel in Haiti to replace charcoal. So we are looking at waste to energy project where we can convert municipal waste into natural gas, such as methane and compress that methane and give it to the people for them to use in their kitchen. So really, the project itself, it's two-step project and, you know, hopefully then we can move the country toward a very, like, you know, sustainable energy path.

  • 13:34:14

    NNAMDIOf all of the problems taking place in Haiti, why focus on energy?

  • 13:34:17

    FEDNARDWell, the face of the project might be energy, but this is a project with multiple impacts. This is a health project. This is an economic development project. This is an education project. For instance, you know, according to World Health Organization, Haiti has the highest, you know, mortality by the age of five. And 42 percent of the children who die in Haiti, you know, affect -- you know, as a result of indoor air pollution. It is common in Haiti that people have different quarters to cook. But when you cook in those quarters with the mother and the child in the same place -- and you have, like, you know, the smoke.

  • 13:35:02

    NNAMDIFrom charcoal.

  • 13:35:03

    FEDNARDCharcoal smoke. So, therefore, like, you know, those children are very vulnerable and really inhaling the smoke. Suddenly, like, you know, affect their health negatively. So, really, this project is not just energy, it's also health because by -- the way that the oven is built, we insert a ceramic liner and the ceramic liner is made of clay. The clay has the property of absorbing smoke, in addition to cutting, like, you know, charcoal by 50 percent. So really, like, you know, if you look at it, it's a health -- you know, it's a health project as well.

  • 13:35:37

    FEDNARDIt's an economic development project. The way the project is set up, not only that the charcoal user -- cut his energy cost by 50 percent immediately, but also creating like, business development because that we conceived the project, we create -- we don't sell the stove to the people. We create, you know, distribution channel where people can start a small business by selling the stove itself. So it's really like an economic development.

  • 13:36:03

    NNAMDIWe'll talk about that some more. But first, let's hear from Harun in Frederick, Md. Harun, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:36:10

    HARUNGood afternoon, Kojo. Thank you for giving opportunity. I'm a physician from Pakistan. And we did raise the (word?) of medical supplies, but the collaboration of Humanity First (unintelligible) the website that's official and is worldwide. Branches that did work in Katrina and Haiti as well, tsunami. So I'm willing to go back and help build the community, in terms of health care, changing the system. But because of the religious prosecution, especially in the political situation, I can't risk my life.

  • 13:36:48

    HARUNI mean, I think that we as a nation should try to pursue our government to not just support the government, but our own needs but for the needs of local community. I mean, if we have more freedom of religion and freedom of speech, I think the situation can be better in terrible countries like Pakistan, which is at risk of some kind of (unintelligible).

  • 13:37:15

    NNAMDISo you are saying that the challenge that you face in Pakistan, Harun, is the challenge of staying alive?

  • 13:37:22

    HARUNYes, the challenge is, I mean, with the recent flooding, the monsoons that have (unintelligible) the size of (unintelligible) is underwater. I came back but the (word?), the livestock, the roads, bridges, the health care, the houses is gone. And the size of population the size of is homeless. I mean, there's enormity of death and the government is incompetent and corrupt. And with the -- in general election with the -- I mean, with the international agreement, I mean, it came into power by the -- not only corrupt, but is incompetent, most incompetent government.

  • 13:37:58

    HARUNAnd no support, I mean, and the religious fanaticism is on the rise and they are trying to get more support because they are trying to have the people. I mean, and even -- I mean, I belong to Ahmadi Muslims and we are oppressed and prosecuted in Pakistan. And even Ahmadi community in -- in the district of (unintelligible) Pakistan, where I belong, they (unintelligible) will not give them their proper share of the relief because...

  • 13:38:31

    NNAMDIAnd Harun, I do have to move on because we do have to take a short break, but we are very glad for your call, pointing out some of the challenges faced in Pakistan. If you are a foreign-born student trying to do work in your home country, we'll be interested in hearing about your challenges also, 800-433-8850 and our website, kojoshow.org. When we come back, we will talk with a student at Johns Hopkins University who's trying to make some changes in Cameroon. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 13:40:42

    NNAMDIWe're talking with foreign-born students trying to make changes in their own countries even while they are still here. Joining us from studios in San Francisco is Daniela Martinez, originally from Ecuador, and co-founder of the Ecuador project of EWB, Engineers Without Borders USA, a Johns Hopkins University chapter.

  • 13:41:01

    NNAMDIJoining in our studio in Washington is Duquesne Fednard. He is a Haitian native, CEO and founder of D&E Green Enterprises, a company that has created green ovens called EcoRecho. We also spoke with Olivia Mukam who is currently a student at Johns Hopkins. In her first year or two in college, she came up with an idea to motivate students back in her home country of Cameroon.

  • 13:41:26

    NNAMDIHer goal, to make them identify solutions to local problems in their own communities.

  • 13:41:32

    MS. OLIVIA MUKAMWell, in the U.S., in college, I was already -- I was able to identify some of the needs that are on the ground, you know. People lack -- there are so many lacks, you know, transportation, health, every kind of thing. And on the other side, in the U.S. there are many opportunities. And many people willing to help or give back to the community.

  • 13:42:00

    MS. OLIVIA MUKAMSo I figured how can you tie the two together. And realizing that there are those two, you know, those two dynamics, I realized, you know, I need to go back home and, you know, contribute my own little stone in the building of my country, and by trying to connect the dots between Cameroon and the U.S.

  • 13:42:22

    NNAMDIAnd Olivia did that with a program called Harumbe Cameroon. And here is how she explains what Harumbe Cameroon is.

  • 13:42:32

    MUKAMIt's an independent branch of a much bigger alliance, which is the Harumbe Entrepreneur Alliance. We came together in the U.S. end of 2007. Two African guys -- well, two guys thought about the concept of bringing Africans together to figure out ways back with the continent. And so that was Prince Soko and Okendo Lewis-Gayle.

  • 13:43:02

    MUKAMAnd as we all came together, we were representing ten African countries. Each of one us proposed an initiative for their countries so the others, Harumbe Nigeria, Harumbe Ghana, Harumbe Ethiopia, Harumbe Guinea, Harumbe (word?) and Harumbe Cameroon. So I have proposed an initiative for Harumbe Cameroon, which is based on the problem that I had to identify that there's a huge intellectual (word?) on the ground.

  • 13:43:34

    MUKAMYou know, you find students here from different universities who are really, really, really smart. But then, there's a problem with the, you know, trying to get them to translate that (word?) knowledge into tangible actions for the community, you know. I often say it's very ironic that we say we are a developing country or underdeveloped country, when you so many intelligent people on the ground who can actually think of solutions and solve problems in our community, that are just not engaged enough.

  • 13:44:07

    MUKAMAnd so that's why Harumbe Cameroon decided to come in the game. So we decided how -- we thought, how could pass into the creativity of Cameroonian students, and how can we engage them in the development of our country, in such a way that instead of me being on my own, you know, in the U.S. somewhere in Baltimore thinking, okay, how am I going to help my country, or you, you know, presenting this radio show thinking how are you going to help your country.

  • 13:44:40

    MUKAMHow can we engage people on the ground who starting thinking in that mindset. And so Harumbe Cameroon proposed a competition, inspired a lot by the MIT 100K Business (word?) competition. And a competition because, you know, it brings out excellence and it brings out quality and it brings out, you know, the best in people that would reward the best project ideas to local problems. So the best solutions to local problems.

  • 13:45:15

    NNAMDIDuquesne and Daniela, you also kind of make sure that the communities that you planned on working came up with their own ideas about what they needed. First you, Daniela. Your project was decided for you by the Ecuadorian community. How was it started, and why did that community decide on this particular project?

  • 13:45:33

    NNAMDIYou explained earlier that people had to go long distances to work. They had to leave their babies at home. They wanted someplace where their babies could be cared for. Is that what pushed your decision?

  • 13:45:46

    MARTINEZYes. As I told you before, I hear about this need through one of the community members, and I wanted to make sure that it wasn't just the concern of one person in the community. I wanted to make sure that this was the concern of the whole community and something they really needed. So what I did with Linda, was that we had an assessment trip in early 2007 to visit the community and to see what the other people were saying about the situation that we did with the daycare center.

  • 13:46:15

    MARTINEZSo we went there, we talked to the community. We met with the community leaders and we asked them. We kept hearing about this need, what do you guys think? Is this actually a concern that you have? Because in communities like the one in which we are working, there are many needs. They have problems with sanitation, they have problems with transportation. So we wanted to make sure that we were addressing something that was a real need in the community.

  • 13:46:40

    MARTINEZSo we talked to them. We had a community meeting. We did some interviews and realized that, yes, that was a real need that they have. That was something that they really were concerned about and that really pushed us further to really invest our time and put together a group of students at Hopkins that will be working on this project for the next few years.

  • 13:47:00

    NNAMDIDuquesne, how did you use market research to factor your communities needs into the development of these green ovens?

  • 13:47:07

    FEDNARDWell, when we started the project, I have -- you know, I was born in Haiti. I grew up in Haiti. I know about the culture. I know about the limitation. I know about the problems. But it was very important to me to really actually go and talk to the people and find out exactly what their thoughts are as far as solutions to the problem and also figure out exactly why so many projects -- so many energy projects have failed.

  • 13:47:33

    FEDNARDYou know, the international organizations and energy that was in Haiti have been pouring money into trying to stove that problem. Why? And really, we spent almost a year conducting survey, conducting focus group to really understand exactly what are, you know, what is lacking. Why, you know, the projects are not working and why -- what do we need to do different to make sure that we can guarantee a certain level of success.

  • 13:48:02

    FEDNARDSo really, what we did, we conduct like, you know, many, many, many different focus groups, many -- conduct, you know, survey on the different population. We did a stakeholder conference in December 18, 2009, where we invited all segment of the community. We invited people who are using charcoal, we invited people who are making charcoal.

  • 13:48:21

    FEDNARDWe're inviting the government officials. You know, we invited the university students. We invited the professors, the economists, everybody in one room, and we present the project. And we ask them to see to really tell us like, you know, what they think about the project, what they -- what should we modified about the project.

  • 13:48:39

    FEDNARDWhat they thought of it, and really answer questions and get all those input and incorporate it in our business plan to make sure that, you know, everybody's voice is heard, and so that we can have something that people, you know, that really like, you know, welcome in the community.

  • 13:48:54

    NNAMDIAs we mentioned earlier, you can go to our website, kojoshow.org, and you can see the YouTube video we have there where we interviewed somebody about the green over project in Haiti. That somebody happened to Duquesne's brother who was participating in that interview. But now we get to where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

  • 13:49:13

    NNAMDIAnd as we mentioned earlier, we talked with Olivia Mukam who is currently a student at Johns Hopkins, and back home in her country of Cameroon, and we asked her what on-the-ground realities she learned during the course of her first year.

  • 13:49:29

    MUKAMI feel that that after one year of suffering and hustling and jumping over all the roadblocks I had here, I can speak with much more authority about the realities on the ground because I've met a lot of the them, whether it's corruption or people embezzling the money you give them or, you know, people just being, you know, lazy and political talk and, you know, empty encouragement.

  • 13:49:56

    MUKAMI mean, you know, I've seen a lot. I haven't seen all of it, but I've seen a lot during one year. So, I'd say I think I've grown wiser. I'm less naïve I'll say than I was initially thinking everything would go as well as you plan it and you time it and you do all that. There's so many other, you know, obstacles that come in the way. So that's (unintelligible) my view of Cameroon.

  • 13:50:24

    MUKAMAnd I think I've gained a lot more respect of people doing things here on the ground, whether it NGOs or businesses, and any others and that are successful in it, because it's really hard because things are unpredictable, they're -- it's so many challenges. So ten times more respect from people on the ground. Secondly, how it has changed my view of Cameroonian students.

  • 13:50:53

    MUKAMMy view of Cameroonian students hasn't changed much in the sense that I've thought that if given the chance and the platform, they're capable of a lot and I still believe that, you know, they have a huge intellectual capital that can do tremendous things if they're given the tools to be able translate that into tangible actions.

  • 13:51:21

    NNAMDIOlivia Mukam about some of the challenges of working in Cameroon. Daniela, you started you project back in 2006. You'll finally begin construction of this building, this daycare center, in a few months. Why did it take so long? If you were doing this project in Baltimore, would it have taken four years to start construction?

  • 13:51:41

    MARTINEZI think it would have taken shorter, actually. When we started the project in 2006, I think we were really naïve, too, as Olivia said. We were thinking, oh, we have all the information. We're going to the country and in one year, two years, we'll have the building done. But after we started working, we realized that things were not as easy as we thought. We had to make sure we had all the information we needed.

  • 13:52:04

    MARTINEZWe had to make sure that we knew what the community wanted. We knew everything related local regulations, building codes, and we realized that if we were doing the project here in the United States, people would be more familiar with the process. And we're also working with engineers who have experience building buildings in the U.S., under U.S. regulations and the U.S. building codes.

  • 13:52:32

    MARTINEZAnd they were not very familiar with what's happening in Ecuador. They were not familiar with the type of materials that are used there, what's culturally acceptable. So we really had to have a lot of transfer of information going on and that took a long time. And also we had to learn about permits that the community had to get and we thought this will be done in one, two weeks.

  • 13:52:53

    MARTINEZIt happened that it took six months to get the permit. So it has been a great learning experience because as students, we are used to have quick solutions. We're given a problem in class and then by the end of the week, we have the answers. But when we're going into the real world, we're seeing that things are not as easy as we thought.

  • 13:53:14

    MARTINEZWe have to learn to improvise. We have to have a plan A, a plan B, a plan C, and just know that we have to be patient because good things take time. So we have had many challenges also related to fund raising, also making sure that we have all the information we need because since we are not in country, we are not able to travel there as often as we want. So we have to improvise. We have to make...

  • 13:53:40

    NNAMDIAs students, you find yourself in a real-life learning situation. Speaking of challenges, Duquesne, before you respond, here is Dio Gracias in Greenbelt, Md., with another kind of challenge. Dio Gracias, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:53:55

    DIO GRACIASHello, Kojo.

  • 13:53:57

    NNAMDIHi.

  • 13:53:58

    GRACIASHi. My name is Dio Gracias. I'm originally from Uganda, and I appreciate your program and the participants you have today from Ecuador, Haiti, and Cameroon. In Uganda, we have similar problems, but the biggest problem is the (unintelligible) . We can always devise programs to help our people come out of poverty and have income-generating activities, but if you still have to appease the patrons who are the political leaders in the country, it's very hard to make those projects run.

  • 13:54:30

    GRACIASFirst of all, the corruption is rampant and every time you want to get a license to do something, you got to pay somebody to make sure you get the license. And if you are associated with a different political party, you can't pretty much do the things you want to do on the ground.

  • 13:54:47

    NNAMDIDio Gracias, we're running out of time very quickly, but I'm glad you brought up political culture because when we went in Haiti, it was the month when they were going to have elections on November 28 and we learned a lot about that. Duquesne, how did you get his idea off the ground in terms of funding and finding donors and supporters in Haiti for your work?

  • 13:55:05

    FEDNARDWell, and I think all the other guests that, you know, has touched upon like the difficulties that you face when you're trying to do a project in a developing world. In our case, we decided to do this project as a response to what we see as the shortcoming of the NGO models and the international aid models.

  • 13:55:25

    FEDNARDTherefore, we choose not to follow that same route. We wanted to do a project that is market-based, and that's the route that we decided to follow. And really that route is certainly like, you know, much, much harder to really get funding, you know, especially in a country like Haiti were like, you know, there's limited funding like in a project, funding is non-existent in Haiti.

  • 13:55:49

    FEDNARDSo therefore, we started this project by -- the project is currently self-funded. So basically what I have done is really like, you know, dedicate a portion of my income in the U.S. to support the project and also, you know, my brothers and other friends in Haiti has done same and until now that's how the project is being funded. And currently we are looking to really raise funds.

  • 13:56:14

    FEDNARDWe are looking, you know, we are trying to raise capital for the past six months, and it's really like, you know, uphill battle because that particular project doesn't fit the mold. It doesn't fit the mold of raising money from like, you know, the international organization, nor the NGO model or the foundation, and it doesn't fit the mold of raising capital to the traditional VC (unintelligible) investors and private equity.

  • 13:56:36

    FEDNARDSo therefore, it's really like, you know, very, very difficult for us to really raise capital. But I do believe that we need to tweak the model a little bit to really get long-term success. So, you know, through my studies, you know, I realized that no, you know, the NGO model, the international aid models, they are really like, you know, the (unintelligible) solution, but they failed to provide long-term impact. And you cannot provide solution if you're not looking at long-term impact.

  • 13:57:10

    NNAMDIDaniela Martinez, when do you hope to complete construction of the daycare center?

  • 13:57:14

    MARTINEZWell, we're going to have an assessment trip in this coming January. We're going to see the community to get some final information to start constructing in summer next year. And we are thinking that the construction process might take about a year. So we're going to start doing the foundation in summer, and then we'll go back in January of 2012, and we're planning to finish it maybe by summer 2012.

  • 13:57:43

    NNAMDIAnd I'm afraid that's all the time we have. Daniela Martinez, originally from Ecuador is co-founder of the Ecuador Project of EWB, Engineers Without Boarders USA, the Johns Hopkins University chapter. Daniela, thank you for joining us, good luck to you.

  • 13:57:55

    MARTINEZThank you for having us. Thank you.

  • 13:57:57

    NNAMDIDuquesne Fednard is a Haitian native, CEO and founder of D&E Green Enterprises, a company which has created green ovens called EcoRecho. Good luck to you.

  • 13:58:06

    FEDNARDThank you very much, and thank you for having me.

  • 13:58:08

    NNAMDI"The Kojo Nnamdi Show" is produced by Brendan Sweeney, Tara Boyle, Michael Martinez and Ingalisa Schrobsdorff with help from (unintelligible) Kathy Goldgeier and Elizabeth Weinstein. Diane Vogel is the managing producer. The engineer today, Andrew Chadwick. Tara Boyle has been on the phones. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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