April 26, 2010
Final Report: Manna Energy
In a small chapel, on the grounds of a missionary hospital overlooking the Congo and sparkling Lake Kivu, 3,000 people were massacred in 1994. The Mugonero community still struggles with rebuilding after these brutal acts. Mugonero sits atop a hill on the western border of Rwanda, accessible only by a red dirt road riddled with bumps and hairpin switchbacks.
The Manna Energy Foundation, through its spin-off Manna Energy Limited, is committed to partnering with Mugonero, and similar communities across Rwanda, by implementing sustainable, environmentally sound technologies for clean energy, clean water, and economic solutions while fostering health, education and gender equality.
Manna Energy Limited is a social enterprise founded to combine the carbon finance market with the deployment of innovative humanitarian technologies in an economically sustainable way. Manna is one of the only organizations to directly link the $120 billion per year international carbon finance industry with true humanitarian sustainable development for the poorest people in the world.
Manna Ltd. is installing several hundred water treatment systems, biogas generators, and high efficiency cook stoves in rural Rwanda, addressing the most critical public health and environmental challenges. Manna Ltd. will be able to sustain itself through the benefits of the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by generating Carbon Emission Reductions (CERs) from the offset of firewood used to provide basic water and energy needs.
Manna has already installed several water treatment systems in Rwanda, and has partnered with Engineers Without Borders-USA on several others. A joint project at the Mugonero Orphanage is providing water for 100 AIDS and genocide orphans. After installation in September 2007, Victor Monroy, the Guatemalan director of the Mugonero Orphanage reported, “The Children’s Village did not have clean water available on site for the past six years. The only available option to drink pure water was to boil it. That caused to the orphanage very high expenses to purchase big amounts of firewood. Due to the long and relatively complicated process of boiling water, quite often the children decided not to boil the water. Quite often the children suffered from digestive and intestinal problems. Now there is plenty of pure water available to cover all the needs of the orphanage. To boil such an amount of water we would need to burn mountains of firewood every single day. Now all the children have more than enough pure water to have a healthy and happy life. We are convinced that the health of all our kids will improve considerably through the precious and abundant supply of pure drinking water.”
The Swedish Energy Agency (SEA) has committed to the purchase of Manna’s CERs for the initial phase. Manna Ltd. has letters of interest from Acumen Fund, Calvert Foundation and First Light Ventures. Manna Ltd. is advised by the UNDP Millennium Development Goal Carbon Facility, and has received a grant from the Global Water Challenge.
During the current CDM validation period, Manna Ltd. will submit its projects to the CDM Executive Board for approval in early 2010. If successfully registered, Manna Ltd. will become the first organization worldwide to claim CERs for water treatment under the “Switch from Nonrenewable Biomass (NRB)” methodology. This is significant, because it opens the door for carbon finance projects in developing countries where the current energy use is predominately firewood.
The Global Water Challenge has generously supported the initial activities of Manna Energy Foundation and Manna Energy Limited. Through the GWC grant, the following activities have been completed since November 2008:
1. Completion of prototype water treatment system at Utexrwa in Kigali, Rwanda. This system has been used to refine and test the design, and to serve as a demonstration unit for the Government of Rwanda and potential Manna investors.
2. Development and implementation of improved biogas reactor at a secondary school in Rwanda.
3. Development and implementation of high efficiency cookstoves at several sites across Rwanda.
4. Development of Manna’s business plan and structure. Limited’s new program consists of two phases. Phase I is 7 water treatment systems for at least 13,000 people, and Phase II is the remaining commitment of over 400 systems.
5. Secured Letters of Intent and similar documentation from investors to support Limited’s Phase I activities, totaling investment of over US$1.5M from Acumen Fund, Calvert Foundation, Grey Ghost and the Swedish Energy Agency (SEA).
6. Completed water treatment installation at Fawe School, in Kigali, Rwanda.
7. Completed two draft Project Development Documents (PDDs) and submitted to United Nations CDM validator, TUV-Nord. Staff from Houston supported TUV-Nord validation site visit in Rwanda in January 2010. Responded to all corrective actions.
8. In cooperation with TUV-Nord, UNDP and SEA advisors, developed Clarification Request to submit to UN CDM to allow for use of NRB methodology for water treatment.
9. Completed two prototype remote monitoring systems for water treatment installations. The remote monitoring systems record pressure, flowrate, UV transmittance, UV lamp status, and report data and faults via cellular network to technicians in Kigali.
10. Attended and presented Manna model and progress at Clinton Global Initiative University meeting, UN Youth Assembly, World Energy Justice Conference, Unite for Sight Conference (planned), and Launch! Conference (planned).
11. Broke ground on the Mugonero Espan water treatment system installation. All remaining GWC funds have been fully allocated to completing this installation, along with supporting activities detailed in approved budget.
12. Full-time employment and training of Rwandan staff.
Challenges and Lessons Learned
Manna Energy Foundation was initially organized to be the ‘best of both worlds’ combination between a for-profit mentality with a non-profit ideal. Through Manna Energy Limited, the organizations have been attempting to become the first to claim UN carbon credits for the treatment of drinking water. This venture has involved several other firsts, including the first CDM project in Rwanda, and one of the only CDM programs managed from the United States. As such, financing for this program had been challenging.
Manna Energy Limited was able to breakthrough this impasse, and secure letters of intent totaling over 1.5M from Acumen Fund, Calvert Foundation and Grey Ghost. Additionally, the Swedish Energy Agency is now purchasing all CERs generated under Phase I of the program, and provided an advance purchase to pay for part of the CDM validation process.
Additionally, Manna has found itself at the center of an international conversation regarding CDM programs in Africa. The “meeting of unmet demand” premise that Manna is using to claim CERs for water treatment offsetting the “need” for biomass use is highly political. Our validator, TUV-Nord, was not willing to accept our interpretation of the methodology on their own authority. Therefore, we’ve been working with our advisors at the UNDP and SEA to develop a Clarification Request that will be presented to the UN in late April. This will be a deciding factor on Manna’s registration, and will have broad implications for any project following in our footsteps.
Manna Energy Foundation sincerely thanks the Global Water Challenge for believing in what we are trying to do. For too long, good intentions have met the realities of development, where water and energy projects fail because the necessary training and funding is not available to ensure long term sustainability. Manna intends to break that trend by generating sustainable revenue from water treatment systems that allow the maintenance and expansion of our technologies. Global Water Challenge’s grant enabled Manna to grow from an idea, to an organization employing Rwanadan engineers and technicians, working in five communities across Rwanda, and installing systems for over 13,000 people. And this is only the beginning. When Manna succeeds in registrating our projects with the CDM, we anticipate realizing our dream of installing hundreds of systems in Rwanda for hundreds of thousands of people.
Once we’ve demonstrated this model, we intend to pay-it-forward, working with non-profits and social enterprises to add a carbon finance layer to their programs to ensure better accountability and long term sustainability.
With the magnitude of the destruction that occurred in Mugonero and the rest of Rwanda, the challenge of rebuilding the country is immense. Community leaders are working everyday towards improving the quality of life for everyone. Where you might expect a feeling of helplessness, there is instead a common determination to rebuild. Manna is committed to being part of this effort.