UNTFWOP CHAPTER: 2015-2016 ACADEMIC YEAR
SUMMARY OF MAJOR PROGRAMS AND PROGRESS
UNTFWOP in Denton took the lead to kick off the solar initiative in partnership with Ivory Coast FWOP Chapter. They raised funds to send the first twenty lamps to be sent to Ivory Coast. There are two major locations initially: poor neighborhoods in Abidjan and a village in western rural mountains of Ivory Coast.
The President of Ivory Coast FWOP Chapter, Apatio Marie-France Coulibaly, will visit Ivory Coast in June and take solar cell phone charger to Abidjan and explore how the market with respond to the more advanced model. In April at the summit, a plan emerged to send 400 solar cell phone chargers to Ivory Coast in next 6 months.
In the village in western Ivory Coast there is an issue of water quality, so a new chlorination machine powered by a car battery will be introduced and evaluated. Solar lamps with cell phone and tablet charging docks will also be introduced and evaluated on how they can be best incorporated into the community.
The solar lamps have begun to replace the use of kerosene lamps, and have improved the lives of people living in the Ivory Coast in many ways. There is now increased safety for women walking at night, less risk of health problems from breathing in kerosene fumes, a decreased risk of house fires, and reduced monthly spending for owners of solar lights due to the fact that they no longer need to purchase kerosene.
Sustainability and Poverty Reduction Pre-summit
UNTFWOP partnered with Masters in International Sustainable Tourism (MIST) Graduate students to host an international conference at UNT, April 21st to 23rd. The planning committee used the registration fees and outside support to fund the solar initiative. College of Public Affairs and Community Services and International Studies Program donated $400 to cover food and space rental. Some $2000 was raised to support the solar initiative. Hillwood Communities, a Perot Company, at the Harvest Property south of Denton provided lunch to attendees on April 22nd.
Visitors and presenters representing Ohio, Virginia, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Costa Rica, Mexico, Indonesia, and India participated in Summit.
Initial plans for the International Summit in Costa Rica at the CATIE (http://www.catie.ac.cr/en/) in 2017 were made.
Creating Partnership With MIST Graduate Students
The Sustainable Tourism graduate students spend their first year at UNT and second year at CATIE in Costa Rica. Graduate students, after watching the UNTFWOP chapter operation, decided to support the undergraduate chapter and not create their own chapter of FWOP. With MIST graduate students strong fund raising ability, this should help us in 2016-17. In September we will meet the new MIST Graduate Students and attempt to forge a stronger partnership.
Fund Raising Innovation
During almost every week of the 2015-2016 academic year, the UNTFWOP chapter gave away popcorn to UNT students, faculty, and staff, while asking for donations for their projects and educating passersby about the mission and projects of the organization. These events on the Library Mall at UNT was a major success and innovation, thanks to UNTFWOP officer Jonathan Roosa. Besides being a wonderful system to raise funds, it did two additional things. First, it was a great way to recruit new members. Second, it was a solid way to educate students on campus and expand awareness about FWOP chapter activities in USA and abroad.
UNTFWOP is planning on continuing this in the 2016-2017 academic year.
Clean Stove Initiative
In the barrio Tepehua in the city of Chapala, Mexico, many households are burning wood to cook on open fires in their homes. Respiratory diseases is one result, as well as an increased risk of house fire. UNTFWOP, working with Corazon de la Tierra in Mexico, decided to fund one or more clean stoves to improve the health of local family members. Based upon local fund raising, we plan to fund the first stove this summer.
Rekindling the Garden Project
With support from Home Depot this year, the chapter has launched a community garden at the Renaissance Courts Apartments, a low income housing project in southeast Denton. Three raised beds were built and some plants were initially installed in spring of 2015, and replanting occurred in fall of 2015 and spring of 2016. After some struggle, some residents are beginning to take ownership of the garden and take care of it on their own.
We also attempted to assist Bettye Myers Middle School (where UNTFWOP has previously established the GOALS program) to create a community garden at the school. A teacher from the school was able to make a presentation at the conference. We have some hope we can kick off the garden in the fall.