Our Project-Based Approach
In additional to growing Jatropha on our own plantation, we seek out locations with existing Jatropha owned by local individuals. These projects further our mission by:
- Spreading awareness of the potential usages of the plant beyond just the traditional use as a living fence, specifically how they could use it as a green fuel source.
- Building a network of locally-owned Jatropha locations where we can purchase additional plant materials or have them donated.
Choosing a Location
We select our project locations based on a number or factors: the growth requirements of the Jatropha plant; assessments of need in the surrounding population; potential for building strong relationships with the local community; and accessibility to land, materials and services.
Finding the Right Solution
Existing land usage in the area plays a large part in how we approach a project for development. If existing Jatropha fence line is in use, we approach the land owner(s) and ask permission to further develop the fence line for later harvest. We also seek individuals with abandoned or unused land that share our vision and secure usage of the land to develop a mini-plantation.
Selecting a Patron
Patrons are those individuals in a project location that have a special dedication to our mission of environmental sustainability and providing assistance and opportunities to marginalized women. They normally have a special service or resource they wish to offer free of charge, such as land or equipment. Before partnering with a Patron, they must pass a vetting process to assess their commitment to the project in the long term and evaluate their ability to provide what they wish to offer.
Primary Categories of Costs
Covering the Costs
Every project has slightly different needs and expenses depending on the type of development we engage in and our level of involvement. This could range from a small cost covering annual collection expenses for a person that wishes to donate their harvest, to a larger investment if we are able to develop a mini-plantation.
Establishing Best Practices
Local farmers and residents have a wealth of expertise with growing Jatropha, as it is a native plant that has been used in Central America for many decades. We work with these individuals to determine the best practices for planting, growing and harvesting the Jatropha in their specific location, so we can continue to ensure that our programs utilize best practices in the field.
Three main factors influence the timeline of every project: quantity of land accessible for planting, the time required for the plants to grow, and of course the level of funding. The greater the amount of existing Jatropha in the area, the faster we can generate a harvest. For the Jatropha we plant ourselves, it can take up to 24 months to get our first significant harvest.
Primary Factors Influencing Timeline
Working with Local Communities
Our goal is one of sustainability and self-sufficiency, not dependency. The long term nature of our projects makes having a strong community buy-in very important. Our Patrons take the lead to engage with the community to inform, educate and strengthen local involvement to help build local capacity to self-maintain and grow the projects for years to come.
Monitoring & Evaluating
Understanding when projects aren’t developing as planned helps us learn how to make them more successful. Our team retains oversight and ensures that all of our projects are carefully monitored during and after implementation. As part of the development team, frequent visits to the project are a natural part of the process for our staff.