521 Pre-Assessment Trip Report Review

521 Pre-Assessment Trip Report Review

521 – Pre-Assessment Trip Report Review

Chapter / North CarolinaState
Project title / Energy
Project community location / Lower Allentown, Sierra Leone
Date of call with chapter / 03/29/11
EWB-USA Project Manager / Tiffany Martindale, P.E.
EWB-USA Chapter Relations Manager / Kim Griffis
Chapter attendees on the call / Bryan Peele, Ed Witkin, Sarah Peterson, Dylan Cawthorne
PM Decision / PENDING
Required Follow-up /
  • Complete HASP – Also, send in the certifications for your HSOs as soon as possible. You can also just send in the receipts for the trainings.

Chapter Contact Information:

Project Leads / Bryan Peele / / 336-689-6268
President / Sarah Peterson / / 336-392-5371
Mentor #1 / Ed Witkin / / 919-357-7683

General Comments:

No. / Page No. / EWB-USA PM Comment / Chapter Response
1 / Good job on the report. / Noted.
2 / How has communication been with the community and partnering organization? / It has been going well. Since our water project team’s trip, we’ve had consistent email with the group. The head mistress of the school is responsive within a few days as well. Nancy travels back and forth between this site and the US.
3 / Are translators all set up? Keep in mind translation should also include “cultural translation”, not just language. Who in your group understands the technical language of the project in local language and who will be able to understand cultural responses to the process? / The December group used their driver/guide to serve in this role. In terms of language, there isn’t as much of a barrier since English is the primary language. The water group was anticipating more of a divide between them and their partners than they experienced. People seemed very positive and ready to move ahead.
4 / Have you looked at the site assessment checklist (505) and any applicable technical guidelines for this project? What about the community guidelines? / We have looked over the energy guideline and will look at the community ones.
5 / What type of cultural preparation does your chapter do for your traveling team members? / We’ve had some presentations in the past about Sierra Leone culture. It was based on things we found on-line. We had a group-wide meeting with the entire chapter after they returned. – We have also read books about local culture: A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Ismael Beah
6 / Professional Mentor – Has your mentor submitted the Mentor Statement of Intent? / Yes.

Project Design/Technical Description Comments:

No. / PageNo. / EWB-USA PM Comment / Chapter Response
1 / I like your list of tasks to accomplish on this assessment trip. Do you think you’ll have the time to get it all done? If not, are you prepared to go back for a second assessment on this project? / There’s a group called Energy for Opportunity who works in Sierra Leone, throughout West Africa. We’ve been in touch with them. They do solar installations in the area. They get donations, train local people and move to implement projects similar to ours. It sounds like they will be helpful in terms of having local knowledge on the technical side. They have agreed to meet with us while we’re there, and they could also perform additional site evaluation for us. They should be able to help us source materials as well.
2 / I have some concern that your chapter/the community is jumping to the conclusion that solar power is the best alternative. What other options are you studying to make sure you’re considering all appropriate alternatives? / We’ve been doing a fair amount of work up front to determine what our options are. We’re establishing their power needs and what the equipment at the school is now. We’re hoping to help them optimize what they currently have as well. We’ve considered wind as well. We’re open to anything at this point. One goal we have is to look at helping them understand their power usage in the first place so they have a good base to start from rather than being totally dependent on an unreliable grid to help them manage their power. We did a lot of different research between the wind and solar ideas. We looked at this largely from a maintenance issue, the solar system seems less likely to need constant maintenance. They might only need a battery bank that will store energy they have access to during the day.
3 / Community Ownership - Have you thought about what the contribution of the beneficiaries will be both during construction and after other than labor? The project should not be a donation- the beneficiaries need to contribute something to help establish ownership and buy-in, which is key for sustainability. What will be done to ensure long-term financial sustainability of the energy project as they need maintenance? / Since it is a school, we’re wondering if we might have an energy education element to the program within the school. They could be part of the design, sizing of the system. – We haven’t addressed this specifically with them yet. We think this is better done in person than through email.
4 / Locally Available Materials - Construction materials: All materials must be obtained locally to ensure availability when maintenance is required after you no longer have a presence in the community. It is often helpful (after permission is obtained) to take a photo of the contents for you to reference when you get back. Get to know the store owner. Begin with a design that relies on locally available materials. Do NOT wait until implementation to design with materials brought from the States. / Noted. We’re planning to get all materials in country.
5 / Solar energy projects require additional studies to be approved because they are some of the least sustainable of our projects. In order to be approved to design a solar energy project, you must submit the following in your post-assessment report:
-Cost-benefit analysis of all energy alternatives from the community’s perspective.
-All maintenance materials/replacement parts are available locally- this would include the mounting, sealant, and electrical equipment.
-Their reason for the panels is within our overall mission to meet basic needs.
-Adequate theft/damage prevention- proper mounting and durability. / Noted.
6 / Operation and Maintenance (O&M) – You will need to work with the organizational leaders to establish who is responsible for maintenance and upkeep. Also, you’ll need to know how much they can afford for maintenance. / Noted. We’ll aim for more of a team than a single point of contact for maintenance.
7 / Decision-Making – Involving community members in the decision making process is critical for community ownership. How do you plan to get their input on the design that you are developing after you return to the States? / We will definitely be in email contact once again. We want to talk with them about the best ways to communicate moving forward. There might be the potential for a skype connection.
8 / Draft Agreement (MOU) – You’ll want to make sure that the community feels equally capable of contributing to the agreement. Also, you will want to be specific about the responsibilities of the maintenance for the project. Do you want to just have a line that says they’ll follow a manual and then develop a good one, or do you want to include a timeline for maintenance activities in the agreement? / We think we could develop some preliminary design plans to use to get their feedback on the approach we’re developing.
9 / What unique contribution are you making to the energy project that skilled laborers can’t already do on their own? It seems there are already local vendors who could perform this work? What are you providing that they can’t in addition to funding? Will they be trained and can they afford to make minimal changes to what they typically do? / We’ll keep this in mind as we move forward. Since there are other NGOs that can do this work, we’ll have to explore this. Without us, these different groups might not meet to work in this community. For the second half of the mission of EWB-USA, we are going to learn a lot through this as well. Our commitment to sustainability is unique rather than just donating funding.
10 / Education: How are you incorporating opportunities for training community leaders in the project? Also, what are your plans to determine the best approach for educational materials? / We’ll look into this on this trip and in our design development phases.
11 / How will the school finance the implementation and the ongoing operations and maintenance of the system? / This is something that we’ll look into on this trip.

Trip Data Comments:

No. / Page No. / EWB-USA PM Comment / Chapter Response
1 / We strongly discourage Chapters from driving themselves – do you have a driver or will you be taking public transportation? / Our plan is to hire a driver. Those details are being worked out through the LemonAid fund. Through their guest house, we have a local driver.
2 / Remember to submit your travel waivers and insurance confirmation prior to travel. You need to submit these in order to receive your final travel approval letter. / Yes, we’re getting these together.
3 / Each trip requires two Health and Safety officers that have general first aid and CPR training at a minimum. If you are unfamiliar with this requirement refer to the Health and Safety Program page on the EWB-USA Website (On Member Pages under Project Process). / Will be trained on 4/6.
4 / Emergency planning services:
EWB-USA member #: 11BCPA000270
Check this website in addition to State Department for pre-trip warnings. / Noted.
5 / Keep in mind that all EWB-USA trips must be limited to 8 people. / 3 people are going.
6 / What are your anticipated travel dates? / 5/15-5/28 depending on airline ticket prices.

Next Steps Comments:

No. / EWB-USA PM Comment / Chapter Response
1 / You will need to get your post-assessment trip report in within two submittal deadlines of your return. In this, you’ll need to include all data collected and applicable photos and the trip’s accomplishments. For your trip, the 522, post-assessment trip report is due by the July 17thdeadline. / Noted.
2 / For future trips, please also be aware that we will no longer accept incomplete submittals. No submittals will enter our review process until you have an approved mentor who can travel, you have a complete set of drawings, you have presented all of your calculations, and you have a completed health and safety plan (HASP). I will pre-screen your submittal and if any one of these items is missing you will have to re-submit, which could impact your travel dates. / Not covered on the call, but included for chapter’s information.
3 / For your project, you should plan to submit a 523 which will describe the various alternatives you considered for the project. Remember in the 523 to include all feasible alternatives in your analysis. These should be submitted far enough in advance of the 525 to allow time to incorporate my feedback into the report you’re developing for the 525 submittal to the TAC. / Ideally, we’re planning implement in summer, 2012.

Chapter Questions:

No. / Chapter Question / EWB-USA PM Response