Archive: News -

17 October 2012 | Posted By: Ilana Martin

Carbon Finance Boosts iDE’s Clean Water Business in Cambodia

photo by David Graham

For the first time in Asia, a sustainable and market-based water filtration business has been registered under the voluntary Gold Standard scheme, and will benefit from carbon offset funding, illustrating that carbon markets can support sustainable technologies that improve the lives of poor populations. iDE’s Cambodian social enterprise, Hydrologic, manufactures ceramic water purifiers which provide clean water to rural households, reduce the amount of wood burned to boil water, create local jobs, and bolster economic development. Hydrologic was recently named winner of a 2012 Ashden Award. Start-up resources for Hydrologic came from several sources including the USAID WaterSHED project in form of grants and technical assistance.

Nearly 40% of rural Cambodians still have no access to safe drinking water. Untreated water and poor sanitation result in about 10 million cases of diarrhea and 10,000 deaths per year in Cambodia, mainly affecting children in rural areas. iDE’s Hydrologic produces and sells ceramic water filters that provide safe drinking water to rural households of Cambodia. By displacing water boiling practices, the filters allow Cambodian households to avoid the unsustainable burning of 18,000 tons of wood per year, saving 41,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Thanks to this impressive environmental impact, the project has completed its registration under the voluntary Gold Standard scheme, an award winning certification standard for carbon mitigation projects.

The project has two major features:
• It uses a market based approach: Hydrologic Social Enterprise believes that sustainable business is a powerful way to provide clean water for as many people as possible. It created a market for water purifiers in Cambodia by selling affordable filters to NGO programs, and via shops and rural sales agents. Households benefit from a low cost water filtration technology, and the local economy is bolstered by the establishment of production and distribution facilities.
• Carbon offsets ensure a sustainable business model, as the carbon revenue is directly re-invested into further scaling up project activities.

Hydrologic joined Nexus, a nonprofit cooperative of NGOs and social enterprises that scale up development solutions by leveraging sustainable funding from the sale of high-quality carbon offsets, a concept referred to as “Carbon for Development.” Nexus provided financial and technical assistance with the carbon certification process, and is supporting the commercialization of carbon credits by engaging companies and public institutions on a fair approach to offsetting.

Hydrologic’s sustainable business model and its numerous benefits for the environment have also attracted private sector support. An impact investor, Impact Finance, provided a loan to support the development of the project, and a multinational company, Deutsche Post DHL, has committed to purchase carbon credits originating from the project.



26 January 2010 | Posted By: Ilana Martin

IDE + Gates: 100K+ Served

Check out Dana Goldstein’s interview with Bill Gates over at The Daily Beast. The discussion touches on a number of topics of interest, including  Haiti, companies that are setting a good example in the bonus era, government’s role in meeting social needs, what works in public schools—and a revolutionary “scuba rice” that can help fight poverty. Of course, we’re also extremely pleased that he mentions our affordable irrigation technology work when asked about innovations he’s most excited about! Here’s what he had to say about IDE and the Gates Foundation’s approach to agricultural development:

…Another technology that is meeting with great success is a simple, low-cost treadle pump that enables farmers with limited water supplies to irrigate their crops, utilizing every drop of water effectively. Our grant to International Development Enterprises has allowed more than 100,000 farmers in India to benefit from this technology.

Innovations that are guided by smallholder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and environment will be necessary to ensure food security in the future. But technology is only one part of the puzzle. Small farmers also need training and resources to grow these enhanced seeds, and access to stable markets that offer them a fair price for their crops. That’s why we invest in each of these areas with our grant-making, to fund improvements across the agricultural value chain.

Our thoughts exactly. What do you think?

15 October 2009 | Posted By: Ilana Martin

Polak is a Brave Thinker

IDE Founder Paul Polak


We at IDE already knew that, but it’s nice to see that our Founder, Paul Polak, has been recognized in a special feature in the Atlantic this month.  In its first annual “Brave Thinkers” issue, the magazine lists 27 men and women “who have risked their careers, reputations, fortunes, and, in some cases, even lives to advance ideas that upend an established order.”  Paul joins a diverse group of honorees, including President Obama, Freeman Dyson, Steve Jobs, Morgan Tsvangirai, and South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Paul will be appearing at The Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver to celebrate the paperback release of his book Out of Poverty on October 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Read article at the

1 October 2009 | Posted By: Ilana Martin

IDE Wins 2009 Chicken Award

It is indeed an honor to be recognized by large, award-granting organizations, but we at IDE believe some of the humblest awards can be the most meaningful.

A group of Zambian smallholder farmers recently presented IDE CEO Al Doerksen with a live chicken and a cabbage while on a visit to their community—Twikatane, Ndola District in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia.

IDE CEO Al Doerksen with his prize

IDE CEO Al Doerksen with his prize

The award was made in the context of a visit to the area from a group of British Columbian IDE donors, and was an expression of respect and appreciation for the support received from them.

42 Twikatane farmers have each purchased the IDE developed, Zambian made “Mosi-o-Tunya” brand treadle pump which just hit dealers earlier last month. These pumps, along with training in improved farm methods and links to output produce markets, have enabled the farmers to realize increases in their annual income ranging from $200 to $800 per household.

“This was one of the most moving awards I have ever received,” said Doerksen. “The live chicken was equivalent to several days’ income for the group, and reinforced the fact that we are not just selling pumps—we are creating income opportunities which can allow for additional on-farm investment, send children to school, and provide for three meals a day.”

The visiting group was accompanied by IDE Zambia Country Director Keith Henderson, Director of Operations Ken Chelemu, and Aggie Chama, Team Leader for the RPI Copperbelt project. All were impressed and moved by the warm, ululating welcomes they received in spite of the deep levels of poverty that exist in rural Zambia.

When asked what he would do with the chicken, Doerksen said he would be taking it to Denver to let it range freely throughout IDE’s head office. International flights and border crossing formalities may have frustrated his plan, however.

18 August 2009 | Posted By: Ilana Martin

New Report Praises MUS ("Moose")

The International Water and Sanitation Centre has issued a report on Multiple Use Water Systems (MUS) currently being implemented in developing countries by IDE and other organizations. The report, titled “Climbing the Water Ladder – Multiple-use Water Services for Poverty Reduction” concludes that MUS is an effective way to improve livelihoods:

“Our case studies confirm that water used at and around the homestead for multiple purposes brings substantial benefits to people’s livelihoods. Provided services are well targeted, homestead-scale MUS is a way of achieving a more integrated set of poverty impacts than conventional water services. Homestead-scale MUS empowers women and is accessible to the poor and is likely to be the best way to use water to contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”

You can read an executive summary or download the full report here.

17 August 2009 | Posted By: Ilana Martin


An IDE treadle pump in use in Myanmar

An IDE treadle pump in use in Myanmar

Voice of America reported on IDE’s success promoting the treadle pump in a recent development report.  Karen Leggett’s story “The Importance of a Simple Water Pump,” written in simplified English for audiences less familiar with the language, was broadcast August 16. You can read a transcript or listen to the story here.

27 July 2009 | Posted By: Ilana Martin

Income-generating Smoothies

Ebebe, a farmer participating in the apple growing project

Ebebe, a farmer participating in the apple growing project

British fruit drink company innocent drinks (through its innocent foundation) works with organizations in the countries where its fruit is sourced in order to create sustainable futures for impoverished rural families. IDE-UK and innocent have partnered on a project that helps small farmers in Ethiopia start to grow apples which can be sold at market to generate additional income.  So far, the project has helped 226 farmers get started in the apple business; it’s a great example of IDE’s method in action. Read more about it at innocent drinks’ blog.

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