Ahmad Nahnoush is a 27-year-old geology engineer, community mobiliser and ambassador for teaching families and communities on how to integrate clean technologies into their everyday lives. Clean technology is simply any process, product or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through energy efficiency improvements, resource sustainability or environmental protection practices.
One of the ways Ahmad encourages the use of clean technology in his country of Jordan is through his work with MEDA’s Jordan Valley Links (JVL) project and their partner called Future Pioneers. Future Pioneers is a Jordan-based non-profit organization specializing in community empowerment and they partner with the JVL project to build the capacity of women and youth to become clean technology entrepreneurs.
Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the JVL project implements various activities through local partners, including community-based organizations like Future Pioneers and “Min Ajliki Ya Biladi”.
Min Ajiki Ya Biladi is a community-based organization run by 24-year-old Waed Al Blaylat and is one of many organizations working in the Jordan Valley to develop the entrepreneurship community and bring together community influencers.
These young community influencers are taught about the financial and environmental benefits of clean technology like solar and photo-voltaic (PV) systems and energy-efficient air conditioners and then trained to promote the adoption of these technologies in their communities. They are also equipped with the tools and knowledge to raise awareness on topics around environmental sustainability and ways in which to reduce resource consumption and decrease negative impacts on the environment.
The Jordan Valley is the lowest point on earth and is characterized by long, hot and dry summers and short, cool winters. Solar water heaters are considered one of the most-viable clean technologies in these communities, but adoption of these heaters is limited due to low incomes and the product’s high cost — around 500 JOD ($705 USD).
The JVL project in partnership with Waed’s community organization, and Ahmad’s endorsement assists communities as they seek to adopt green technologies like solar water heaters and PV systems by helping them find ways to finance these technologies. Waed and her fifteen volunteers have reached 2,000 families with information about clean technologies and linked them with organizations that could help finance their acquisition of green technologies. The JVL project is also working with a small group in these communities to introduce savings and loans groups, which will help families save money for an environmentally sustainable project, item or service they need.
Clean technology is a great introduction to environmental sustainability because possible buyers learn how these technologies are cost-effective in the long run and are willing to make an investment with proper support and resources. Making the business case for environmental sustainability is easy when communities are educated about the resources available to them.
This article was originally published in The Marketplace magazine by Dara Al-Masri.