Thursday, January 1, 2009

Small Infrastructure Grant for Locally built solar hot water systems for poor communities in Cairo

USAID Small Development Activities Cairo, Egypt
Applications may be sent to the above addresses at any time of the year.

Section One: Information About the Association

1. Full name of the Organization Applying:
Spirit of Youth

Contact Person:

Mustafa Hussein (Darb Al Ahmar), Ezzat Naem (Manshiyat Nasser), Hanna Fathy (Muqqattam)

Mailing Address: 6 Zuqaq Bahariya, Harith Aslan, Darb Al-Ahmar

Physical Address, Town, District, Region where Project is located:

Al Azhar Park Gate, Darb El Ahmar, Cairo, Egypt

Telephone Numbers:
Mobile: Mustafa: 0107201983 Ezzat: 017-6236531, Hanna 0121827315
Home: 5147350
Email: Mustafa:
2. Background, Membership, and objectives of Organization

Spirit of Youth Association for Environmental Services is a newly formed NGO (established June 2004) representing the dreams and aspirations of the youth of the Manshiyat Nasser area.

Objectives are
1) protecting the local environment from pollution through activities such as recycling solid waste materials
2) raising the health and reputation of the garbage collector community
3) improving education and social opportunities for the residents.

3. List the Organization's past and present projects and how they have aided in developing the community and district:

Projects to date have included 1) the “irregular education school” where children who cannot attend normal school can get the same skills while continuing to contribute to the family income, 2) awareness campaigns for source separation of waste materials and 3) training for brick makers in ‘Arab Abu Sa’id in Helwan.
4. Has your Organization received any financial aid from other Embassies or International donors? If yes, which Embassies or donors?

A past donation has been received from an Italian Aid agency and the Proctor and Gamble Shampoo Company.

5. Description of the Project:

Solar C3ITIES (Connecting Cairo Communities Integrating Technology for Industrial Ecology Systems) is a project undertaken by the Manshiyat Nasser/Darb El Ahmar Communities to bring together craftsmen and craftswomen, artisans, carpenters, welders, electricians and plumbers to build and introduce grassroots sustainable development infrastructure and technology through a new kind of vocational training program.

The C3ITIES pilot program began in the spring of 2006 by training a small group of children and adults from both of our communities to work cooperatively to create 3 fully functional solar hot water systems built completely out of local materials – even recycled solid waste – using local labour and expertise. These three units now sit on top of 2 residences in Darb El Ahmar and the Zabaleen recycling school in Muqattam, Manshiyat Nasser. A fourth system is under construction on the roof of a multi-occupant apartment building in Jumhuriya street neighborhood where Gamal Khudra lives. Gamal is one of the welders who used to live in Manshiyat Nasser and is now a contributor of in-kind material, training and labour to the project.
6. Purpose of the Project:

The purpose of the project is to build local capacity and create a knowledge and resource base that can “help our communities to help ourselves” and improve our environment, infrastructure and services using sustainable, cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and energy efficient technologies and materials. Our goal is to use the ongoing local construction of renewable energy systems as the basis for teaching vital vocational skills such as carpentry, welding, plumbing, metalwork and bending, computer aided design (CAD), internet-based research and micro-economics. The finished renewable energy appliances (solar hot water systems initially) will serve as a flagship in our communities (Manshiyat Nasser/Darb El Ahmar) for inspiring the area to use its skills and improve upon them, creating a more livable environment in the old city and its surroundings.

7. Organization of the Project:

The NGO "Spirit of Youth" is a registered Egyptian Non-Governmental Organization. It is a local initiative founded in Manshiyat Nasser. The C3ITIES renewable energy vocational training project that Spirit of Youth embarked on in the spring of 2006 involves many young community leaders and skilled craftspeople, from the recycling experts among the Zabaleen to the manufacturing experts, welders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and artisans of Manshiyat Nasser, Darb El Ahmar and Jumhuriya Street. Based at the “Irregular Edcuation School” in Muqattam and utilizing small workshops in Manshiyat Nasser and Darb Al Ahmar, it has used existing informal and formal networks that link the communities to widen its circle of opportunities and effectiveness. The Spirit of Youth C3ITIES project has advisors from the American University in Cairo, the German Technical Development Organization (GTZ), and the Egyptian Association for the Protection of the Environment. Spirit of Youth has chosen Mustafa Hussein, a 23 year old carpenter originally from Manshiyat Nasser, now living in Darb Al Ahmar, whose father owns a small workshop in Manshiyat Nasser, to run the program. Mustafa created C3ITIES with backing and assistance from professors, teachers and students from AUC's Science Department and Environmental Science Club, UCLA's Institute of the Environment, and the Zabaleen Recycling School. Working in tandem with teachers from the Irregular School, Mustafa has been the chief organizer, designer, instructor and builder of the existing solar hot water systems – the first in the area.

8. The duration and timeline of the proposal activities:

This project aspires to train small teams of residents from our communities in the vocational skills pertinent to the design, construction, maintenance and repair of environmentally friendly technologies and systems. In our first year we plan to increase the number of trained participants by building an additional 30 solar hot water systems. These systems will be placed on the rooftops of the participants homes. This will act as a positive incentive for program participation since up to 60 % of the families in our neighborhoods have no hot water service at all. By using vocational training to build actual infrastructure that satisfies a real community need we thus increase the relevance and usefulness of our project.

It is expected from experience that a local team can be trained and produce an average of 3 systems per month using the local facilities in which the first 3 systems were built. Each month a different team of 3 to 4 individuals whose homes lack hot water provision will be invited to work with us in the building of their own family system. Graduates of the training become trainers of trainers. Thus, including the introductory theory and design classes and the system evaluation and follow-up, C3ITIES will have trained over a hundred individuals and produced and installed at least 30 “solar roofs” within approximately 49 weeks, a little less than 1 year from the start. Training of new team members (capacity building) and construction would begin immediately upon receipt of the funding, which would principally go for locally sold construction materials and building and installation costs (the fees of welders, plumbers, carpenters, glass cutters). We would hope to begin in December of 2006 and finish by December of 2007.

9. Beneficiaries (who and what number):

Beneficiaries will be over 100 individuals and at least 30 families who currently have no hot water service. Recent surveys by the GTZ and the Aga Khan foundation reported that in both communities up to 3/4 of the residents currently have no hot water service. This is principally a burden on women, who must take care of bathing the children and washing the clothes. It is expected that subsidizing the construction and installation of solar hot water systems would lessen the burden on women and improve their ability to keep their homes clean and their families safe. It is also known that improved hygiene and appearance from more frequent washing improves job possibilities.

The lack of hot water also produces health risks since the neighborhoods have inadequate sewage and waste removal infrastructure and the streets are frequently sources of contamination. Water over 55 degrees has been shown to kill bacteria.

Beneficiaries will be picked on both a needs-based and willingness-to-contribute basis. Those with the greatest need who agree to make in-kind contributions (according to the 30/70 model already in place for home renovations in Darb Al Ahmar) will be selected for the first 30 systems. Labor costs and material donations will be compensated for by owning the system after it is built.

It is expected that after this enough local capacity will have been built, and interest and demand generated to justify further investments. Eventually we hope that the entire communities can benefit, so that everyone has efficient, reliable, inexpensive, safe and environmentally healthy hot water.

10. Location of the project:

Muqattam Hills, Manshiyat Nasser, in the area surrounding our first demonstration solar hot water system at the Zabaleen school; Darb Al Ahmar renovation zone, in the area surrounding our second demonstration solar hot water systems at multioccupant building 72 and the individual unit belonging to the family of Mustafa Hussein; Jumhuriya street neighborhood, in the area surrounding the multioccupant apartment building where Gamal Khudr, a welder on our team, is installing our 4th system and where some of the material (copper pipes, tools, insulation) are procured. The existing systems will serve as "growth poles" around which interest, confidence and expertise can be developed. The systems should be built in roughly concentric rings around the sites of original installations, until the communities in C3ITIES are connected by visible solar hot water roofs.

11. About the project area:

Manshiyat Nasser has been identified as a Type B informal settlement, Darb Al Ahmar has been identified as a Type C slum and Jumhuriya Street is an entrepreneurial enterprise zone where tools and construction materials are made and sold and where small workshops do light manufacturing and repair of refrigerators, water coolers, air conditioners, and electric and gas hot water systems. The residents of Manshiyat Nasser and Darb El Ahmar shop for materials and outsource work to Jumhuriya street and there is a considerable informal flow of materials, people and expertise between the three communities. Up to this point, however, there has been no project connecting our communities, and no way to formalize the connections. The Spirit of Youth C3ITIES project is the first to make use of the informal relations between our areas and focus them on a forward thinking agenda for improving the housing stock, services and infrastructure of our city.


12. The total budget:

To be effective in our community, vocational training must start with “on the job training”; people simply cannot afford the time or opportunity costs that come from completely giving up work to participate in educational activities without a realizable outcome. Thus, we have to pay expert welders, carpenters, machinists, electricians and plumbers to both do work on the systems and to supervise training, and, for the participants, some of the hours spent learning to build the solar hot water systems, during which participants actually build the technology and infrastructure under the supervision of local welders, plumbers, electricians and carpenters, should be considered wage labor costs for them. This model is well established in our community, for example, the Aga Khan foundation, pays its trainees and gives them tools and a certificate at the end of the training.

We anticipate that building an additional 30 solar hot water systems will cost approximately 135,000 L.E., based on a conservative estimate from the first three completed systems (3,500 L.E. in materials, 1000 L.E. in labor, from start to finish, without including instruction or installation costs). We think that in the future, with a trained workforce, better machine tools and volume discounts on materials we could build each additional system for a marginal cost of 2000 L.E. , with 1500 L.E. in materials and 500 L.E. in labor per unit and may be able to start a small competitive business, turning our communities into net producers of solar energy and other environmental service systems.

Our budget assumes material and labor at the rate we experienced building individual systems. If we can get volume discounts we can build more than thirty systems and train more than 100 people.

13: The local contribution (amount and type of contribution):

In kind: As a prerequisite for joining the initiative, and receiving the completed solar hot water system, families are expected to donate labor, materials, workshop space, tools and assistance valued at approximately 30% of the system cost. The principal local contribution besides space and tools is expected to be the donated time, labor and expertise of the “trainer of trainers”. Each team member, after completing a system, becomes a “trainer of trainers, supervised by community vocational experts, insuring sustainability of the project after the initial funding is used up. The feeding of workers and provision of transportation and accounting services are also considered in-kind contributions. Thus we expect roughly 1500 L.E. worth of in kind contributions per system (750 LE value in workshop space and tool rental, 750 LE value in instructional time -- estimating 1 day drilling and welding copper pipes, 1 day building collector boxes, 2 days stand construction, 1 day constructing heat absorber fins, 1 day painting, 1 day installing glass, 1 day installing and insulating tank and 2 days plumbing – 10 days total at 75 LE value per instructional day), or 45,000 LE for the 30 systems.

Cash: Those who would prefer to give cash rather than offer their time or labor and assistance in order to get a completed system on their roof, are expected to contribute money, again, amounting to roughly 30% of the system cost. So far, Dr. Jeffrey Miller of AUC has put 10,000 L.E. into the construction of the first systems. We anticipate other amounts from our institutional partners if we receive the grant funding, to ensure that we can finish the project.

14: The amount requested:

We are requesting the maximum grant level, 142,500 L.E.

15. Breakdown of Proposed Budget:


Items Cost per unit Total cost SDA contribution Grantee contribution
30 Solar hot water system materials 3500* 105,000 102, 000 3000
30 Solar hot water system labor costs 1000* 30, 000 30,000 0
Tools, machinery and workshop space, transaction costs (purchasing time and transportation) (overhead)
750 (equivalent) 22,500 0 22,500
Instruction/Expert Supervision time **
(overhead) 750** (equivalent) 22,500 10,000 12,500
* Full cost breakdown available upon request (i.e. per unit costs of copper pipes, aluminum, glass, stainless steel, tanks, insulation, silicone, glue, pvc pipe, fittings, valves, temperature gauges, flow meters, argon, gas and arc welding, etc. and per hour charges of local welders, plumbers etc. )
** This figure includes paying welder/electrician/carpenter/plumber to supervise workshop participants

16. Sustainability:

We believe that our project will be self-sustaining because demand for solar hot water and other energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies is growing at an accelerating rate. Once the craftspeople of our communities know how to build and operate solar hot water systems they will be able to serve not only the rest of the community but the entire region. Our experience has shown us that solar hot water systems are cost effective and efficient, even when built using local tools and materials. A trained work force in renewable energy systems manufacture from neighborhoods already adept at recycling, building and repairing appliances, we believe, will help kick-start Egypt's industrial ecology based economy.


17. Brief environmental review (if involving sanitation, solid waste, etc.)

Our communities not only suffer from a lack of hot water heaters, but most areas have inadequate water pressure, making it impossible to use gas heaters. Many of us suffer from insecure income streams, making high cost electric water heaters financially risky. Inadequate or poor wiring also make electric heaters dangerous. Furthermore, the community has a poor sewage and waste disposal infrastructure, which increases the need for bathing, yet we do not have reliable ways of providing hot water to our families. Solar hot water systems with their own thermosiphoning storage tanks can solve many of these problems.

18. Brief plans or drawings if construction is anticipated.

19. Obtaining required permits from local authorities.

Our work was presented at the 2006 San Diego Energy Conversion Conference sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In attendance was Dr. Essam Khalil, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Cairo, who told us that he would help with the proper permits and municipality connections.

20. Demonstration of required technical inputs or expertise to complete project.

Our first three systems, built by Darb Al-Ahmar carpenter Mustafa Hussein, Jumhuriya street copper welder Gamal Khudr, Zabaleen school instructors Adham Fawzy and Medhat Sharkawy, along with the school children, and local plumbers and welders from all three communities, under our supervision, demonstrate our capabilities (see photos of completed systems above).

As technical advisers, donating their time and expertise, we have UCLA Ph.D. Urban Planning student Taha Rassam Culhane, AUC Professor of Engineering Salah El Haggar, AUC Professor of Physics Salah Arafa, Wadi Environmental Science Center Instructor Hala Moheddin, former AUC Environmental Science professor Jeff Miller, AUC Master's Student in Industrial Ecology Lama El Hatow, Egyptian Society of Scientist's and Engineers director Alaa Watidy and San Diego based Solar Thermal Engineer Kurt Lund.

21. Demonstration of capability to operate and maintain the project (particularly if equipment will be financed. )

Spirit of Youth has embraced the C3ITIES initiative and will carry its benefits forward past the initial 30 solar roofs. Our initiative has been embraced by planner Seif El Rachidi of the Aga Khan restoration, who has given us permission to build our systems in the restoration area of Darb Al Ahmar, and by the GTZ, who have given us permission to build our systems in Manshiyat Nasser. Both have told us that they agree this is a much needed initiative for our communities, and will help to oversee its continued success and expansion.


The original grant application form is reproduced here:

USAID Small Development Activities Cairo, Egypt

A special fund to assist communities with the development of small scale, local initiative projects is available through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Egypt. This fund, known as the Small Development Activities program, assists limited, grassroots and community run efforts in Egypt.

The goal of the Small Development Activities program is to improve the basic economic and social conditions of the community or village. Because the needs of each community vary widely, the assistance is based on the local circumstances. Previously approved projects include: infrastructure improvements, the establishment of carpentry workshops, computer and vocational training centers, as well as programs for goat raising.

Small Development Activities
To qualify, a project must respond to a pressing community need and result in a lasting improvement to the community. The associations must start the project themselves and donate labor, material, or money. The associations must show that they can complete the project in less than one year and continue to maintain it in the years ahead.

There is no ideal Small Development Activities project. However, successful projects share similar features. Small Development Activities should:
  • Respond to community needs and plan to improve basic economic and social conditions of the local community;
  • Show local initiative and involvement
  • Benefit a substantial number of people in the community;
  • Involve women as participants and beneficiaries;
  • Involve a significant contribution of labor, money or materials by members of the local community;
  • Be within the means of the local community to operate, maintain and sustain; and
  • Be able to implement the activity within the one-year agreement period.

While it is not possible to list all restrictions, Small Development Activities funds may not be used for the following:
  • Start-up costs;
  • On-going administrative or operating costs, such as salaries and rent;
  • Purchasing vehicles and office equipment;
  • Religious activities;
  • Activities that receive USAID funds or have recently received a Self-Help grant.
The grant ranges between US $10,000 and US $25,000 (currently about LE 57,000 and LE 142,500 at a 5.7 exchange rate).

  • Small-scale infrastructure projects
  • Improvement of the position of women
  • Improvement of the living condition of disadvantaged children
  • Vocational training
  • Benefiting the environment

If your organization has a project that falls within the guidelines of the Small Development Activities program and you wish to apply for a grant, complete the application form and send to:
Fax: 516-0678 or
Mail: Small Development Activities Program
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
P.O. Box 32, Maadi
Cairo, Egypt,
Postal Code: 11435

Further information can be obtained from the USAID by contacting the Small Development Activities Program assistant by phone 522-6754/6755/7000
or through the website: .


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