In our previous meeting with the Vang Vieng Primary School we discussed the most appropriate long-term developmental strategy based on the finances currently at our disposal. After reviewing this meeting with the school administration, Sustaining Communities has decided to makes a number of short-term changes to Project Laos in which the most pressing needs of the school have been prioritized accordingly.
While our core focus is still to provide sustainable Water, Energy and Sanitation technologies for the school and communities in the developing world we also have a duty of care to listen to, and liaise with, the schools and communities in question about their concerns regarding the project. We have therefore decided to prioritize a number of issues that need to be resolved in the immediate short-term.
The principle and deputy principle have expressed gratitude and interest in the proposal of having the schools energy needs fully provided by solar power and the EGP system as something that could be developed in the future and over various phases.
We will therefore be delaying our order for the school’s solar system until we address the concerns relating to the lack of teaching resources and actual structural integrity of the building.
Sustaining Communities is an organization founded on the principles of sustainability guided by the Natural Step Framework. The 4th condition of the Natural Step requires greater social equity and resource/wealth redistribution before a sustainable outcome can be reached. In other words people need access to the fundamental necessities of life, namely: Food, Water, Health-care, Education and Shelter before any progress can be made towards achieving full sustainability and social justice on a global scale.
Sustaining Communities’ ultimate priority has always been the school and the educational, health and recreational resources available to its students. Until we can provide the school with a structurally-sound building, an up-to-date curriculum, adequate equipment and teaching resources then our efforts to create a fully self-sufficient school will be in vain. Unfortunately in the current monetary paradigm, social and environmental concerns will always be hindered by economic factors. The cost-benefit analysis of providing energy independence to a school that doesn’t yet have the appropriate resources for both their teachers and students is therefore currently unfeasible.
We have decided instead to allocate the funds raised for the EGP and solar systems into 5 separate budgets for the school.
-Provision of a full time English teacher.
-Provision of training and further education of the teachers.
-Provision of further training for selected students.
-Provision of an equipment budget – educational and recreational.
-Provision of a budget to help maximize the efficiency and minimize the cost associated with the computer that was donated to the school last year (lessons, paper, ink, maintenance, electricity costs, etc)
-Sustaining Communities will also be liaising with other organizations to help address the needs of the school’s classrooms, which currently require maintenance and repair.
Sustaining Communities is a non-profit organization in its infancy and is still in its developmental phase. We are open to and welcome all advice and criticism that will help us grow as an organization. We consider the technologies we provide to be the “Hardware” of the operation and obviously will have the most appeal to donors because of their tangibility. However unless we also provide the school with the appropriate “software” in the form of training and resources we will severely reduce the effectiveness of what we hope to achieve in the long-term. If any person who has donated to the organization and takes issue with the direction we have taken please don’t hesitate to contact me on email@example.com and we can discuss the refund of your donation. We have a commitment to full transparency on how our funds are allocated and this will be made available on our website http://www.sustainingcommunities.org/donations/ in the coming weeks.
Sustaining Communities would like to again thank all those who generously donated their time, money and effort to help children in the developing would improve their standard of living and educational capacity. Further updates will be posted shortly.