As Portland gains notoriety for progressive green and social policies at home in the US, Green Empowerment is quietly putting those policies to work in rural villages in the developing world. A recent partnership with digital agency, Coexist, sparked a renewed digital effort for GE to bring fresh water and electricity to ailing communities worldwide.

Green Empowerment

Sarah Paul - Coexist

Filed Under - General Industry Articles - Interviews


What is Green Empowerment?


Green Empowerment is a non-profit organization that works internationally to provide renewable energy and sustainable water systems to remote communities. GE is proving that renewable energies are not only for the privileged in the developed world. GE envisions an equitable and sustainable world where everyone has equal access to the basic necessities of daily life – water and electricity.

Why the focus on water and electricity?

1.6 billion people live without electricity and 1 billion live without clean water. In search of social justice for all, GE partners with local NGOs and rural communities in the developing world to implement renewable energy, water, and watershed projects that alleviate poverty and improve the environment.

Like most volunteer based not for profits, robust marketing budgets are tough to come by. How did you pull off the new Green Empowerment website?

Based on mutual friends, Coexist was introduced to Green Empowerment just as the digital agency (headquartered in the Midwest) was opening a second studio in Portland, Oregon. Championing the effort as “Technology for Change” and looking to make an immediate impact in the local Portland community - Coexist jumped in pro-bono to amplify the GE message for the masses online. Coexist’s involvement aligned perfectly with the digital agency’s new focus on partnerships with leaders in the Green Technologies sector.

What were the goals for the new Green Empowerment website?

Like most “world-changing” organizations, the GE story is quite complex when looking at all the individual facets. Coexist worked closely with the Green Empowerment team to break down, country by country, the tremendous impact GE has had on individual rural communities.  Pairing these project stories with GE’s compelling photography became the starting point. From there, Coexist helped GE organize the rest of their content, making it intuitive to find, easy to digest and ultimately able to communicate GE’s passion. Finally, simplifying GE’s donation process was a key part of the equation because, at the end of the day, soliciting donations is the heart of what makes this incredible organization tick.

What are some results of recent Green Empowerment projects?

Green Empowerment has been instrumental in successfully establishing community-owned micro-hydro power projects in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.  These endeavors have brought electricity to thousands of people and boosted local economies.  In addition, Green Empowerment has provided solar power for 37 health clinics in Burma, developed solar projects with three indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon and eight villages in Northern Peru.  They have supported small wind projects in Northern Peru and water pump projects in Nicaragua and the Philippines. To date, through renewable energy, they have helped 23,500 heads of household gain lighting in their homes, secured local access to clean water for 11,000 people, and improved schools, clinics and small-businesses for an additional 177,500 villagers.

All told, Green Empowerment has helped improve the lives of over 385,000 people, and with the reach of the new website – they hope to double this number in 2011.  Check out the new site at greenempowerment.org.

CX Biography
Coexist is a digital agency. We deliver fresh interactive experiences for emerging brands across all digital channels. We continually embrace new technologies, often turning on a dime, to help brands interact with customers in memorable and engaging ways. At Coexist, it’s the distinction of being free range and independent that sets us apart from the masses – and agencies with large mass. We share with Green Empowerment a passion for sustainability and using technology to help people and the planet.  Check us out at coexistcreative.com.

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