Small Grants for Big Solutions in Northeast Argentina
26 / 12 / 2014, IPS News Environment
Summers in northeast Argentina are hot and humid. At siesta time, the people of this rural municipality like to drink “tereré” (cold yerba mate), which until now they had problems preparing because of lack of clean water or electricity. But sometimes small donations can make a big dent in inequality. Andrés Ortigoza, who lives in one of the villages in Bonpland, proudly shows off his simple new solar panel, which heats up an electric shower. In wintertime, tereré is replaced by hot yerba mate – a caffeinated herbal brew popular in Argentina and neighbouring countries – and taking a cold shower is not easy even for toughened gauchos (the cowboys of the Southern Cone countries) like him.“We used to wash up with cold water, it was tough in winter….or we’d heat the water with firewood,” he told IPS. Picada Norte, where Ortigoza lives, was not connected to the power grid until 2010. But service is still patchy and is expensive for local families.The installation of solar water heaters is one of the projects financed in Bonpland by the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP).