Sustainable Wind Power Development in Kazakhstan

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When the Soviet Union collapsed and fuel scarcity meant rolling power outages; giving birth in the dark at the Kyzyl Orda maternity hospital in southern Kazakhstan was a common occurrence.  Since then, the country’s Sustainable Development initiatives include replacing fossil fuel power generation with wind power.

According to Almasadam Satkaliyev, who heads up the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company, Kazakhstan should expand wind power as a way to diversify electricity generation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  In fact, the country’s goal is installing 2,000 megawatts of wind power by 2030.  In economic terms this means $18 billion added to the economy, an increase of $100 million in tax revenues, 1,500 new well-paying jobs, a 4.2 million ton decrease in carbon dioxide emissions, more rural development and enhanced energy security.

With long-standing infrastructure paid for and abundant fossil fuel resources present, sustainable power development has not garnered widespread support. Subsequently, Kazakhstan’s current energy-intensive economy is among the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters per gross domestic product unit with 85% of electrical power coming from coal-burning.

Beginning with Kazakhstan’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 2009, power generation policies are undergoing change.  In 2012, the country’s president introduced a national strategy for accelerating green economic development mandating that 50% of Kazakhstan’s energy come from renewable sources by 2050. With high mountains and extensive deserts, the country possesses a wind capacity 18 times higher than existing electrical infrastructure.

In addition, the ministry has established a Renewable Energy Office and provided over 200 civil servants and NGO people with education and training in wind turbine technology and energy yield assessment.  The first commercial wind energy plant began operations in 2011 in the Korday Crossing region, followed by two wind farm facilities in Karaganda and Kyzyl Orda.

Although, the country ranks high on ease of doing business, obtaining wind farm construction permits remains cumbersome. Kazakhstan plans include 13 more commercial wind farms from 2013 to 2020 which gives it a total capacity of 807 megawatts.

Please contact us for information our sustainable development initiatives in Central

International Organization Strives to Help Afghan Refugees in Tajikistan with Vocational Training

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Although Tajikistan is one of the few remaining countries in Central Asia allowing refugees to work giving them access to social securit benefits, finding employment that covers their living expenses is difficult.

In a one case, Nelofar Moradat, a computer science student from Kabul who fled Afghanistan, qualified for Vocational Training and now has her own beauty parlor in Vakhdat, a nexus of Afghan refugees.  Unfortunately, her income is not enough to cover rent on her family’s apartment.  Farid Ahmad, a former bank clerk in Afghanistan, currently works as a cobbler in the Vakhdat bazaar.

With 20 million refugees globally and more selective criteria for admission, the approximately 2,200 Afghan refugees living in Tajikistan foresee a long wait before resettling in Afghanistan or a third country.  Consequently, the UN works to improve local integrations so refugees can live with dignity.

While some refugees manage to start businesses in Tajikistan, they also become targets for corrupt officials demanding bribes. Vasidin Gardi, who worked as an interpreter for US forces in Afghanistan left after some people started following him beating him up after questioning.  Friends in Vakhdat gave him a job in their garment shop.

Afghan refugees also pay inflated rental charges.  Normally the price for a two-room apartment is $50 but they pay $100 or more.  Consequently, across the board rent inflation is occurring and local communities blame the refugees.

Since refugees receive some support from NGOs and international organizations, local residents misjudging the resources provided believe they have more money.  To help remedy the situation, the Danish Refugee Council sponsors meetings to correct misconceptions and improve relations between the refugee and local Tajikistan communities.

Omega International Associates works to expand vocational training for people at risk.  Please contact us to learn how you can help.

 

Training Leaders: Express Yourself

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Charles Wright might have sung, “Express yourself,” but leaders would be better served by thinking, “Replace yourself.” While it might feel counterintuitive, training leaders who can do your work aids your group not only now, but also in the future, and that idea’s as true for a service-oriented group as it is a Fortune 500 company.

For an organization to continue a sustained work, it’s necessary for new leaders to step up as previous ones step back, but too often leaders wait too long to begin training their replacements. In The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make, Hans Finzel relates what his predecessor at WorldVenture, Warren Webster told him: “Success without a successor is failure.” Long-range vision necessitates long-range planning.

However, the benefits start immediately. People in your organization are likely already excited to tackle new responsibilities. Equipping them now with show them your support and encourage them in their work. As the next generation of leaders do more now, they participate more in the vision of the organization, not only embracing it but helping to shape it until the group shares its goals and desires.

Having a better trained staff will enable your organization to function more efficiently. Decisions won’t need to be funneled down a narrow corridor as people become more confident in the group. You also eliminate any single points of failure. An illness or time away won’t shut down any action in progress.

Finally, training your replacements shows your commitment to the work you’re doing. If you’re invested in the what goes on after your departure, your colleagues see that your work is more than just a job. Your concern isn’t in a paycheck or in short-term satisfaction, but in seeing that valuable work happens and continues. That attitude can be contagious, inspiring the people around you now.

For more information on training leaders, please contact us.

A Woman Entrepreneur Thrives in Kyrgyzstan’s Hospitality and Tourism Industry

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In 2013, Gulzat Tuleeva turned 36 and joined Kyrgyzstan’s Hospitality and Tourism Industry as a hotel operator.  Like many other Kyrgyz women entrepreneurs, she waited until her children were older before starting her business.

Tuleeva runs a 12-room guesthouse known as Adamkaly along the main road in Kochkor, a city in central Kyrgyzstan’s mountainous Naryn province.  Her hotel attracts year-round business guests from banks, government agencies and local businesses in addition to local and international tourists from May to September.

Although Tuleeva was enjoying success in her hotel business, she wanted to improve her bookkeeping skills and expand her business and profits.  Because she kept track of her revenue by entering notes in a small notebook and did not record any disbursements, she lacked insightful financial information that would help her grow.

This changed in 2014, when Tuleeva and over 900 other women entrepreneurs entered USAID’s Women’s Leadership in Small and Medium Enterprises (WLSME) Program to receive training on hospitality, leadership, financial and business management, marketing and personnel management.

During her training, she entered and won a WLSME business competition.  As a winner, she got assistance in setting up Excel files to track her sales, disbursements, cash flow and income.  In addition, to improve bookkeeping and better analyze company data, she learned how to use the information in her guest register to identify patterns in travel purpose and booking source.  Using her financial information and guest census from 2014, she created both a business plan and detailed marketing plan for 2015. Being a contest winner, she received a small grant that allowed her buy new furniture for the guest rooms.

Through the WLSME program, Tuleeva and her husband participated in study tours to successful hospitality facilities, hotels and travel firms in and around the Kyrgyzstan capital, Bishkek, to get new ideas and learn good practices for their business.  After touring, they divided responsibilities in order to optimize their time and expand services.  Now Tuleeva manages guesthouse operations while her husband organizes hunting, fishing, horseback riding, biking and hiking tours for guests.

Thanks to the WLSME program, Tuleeva has grown her guest list and increased her revenue 20%.  Many guests find her hotel name which means good luck through Google Maps.  Though the program ended in 2015, the need for resources to help women entrepreneurs remains.  Please contact us to learn how you can help us meet this need.

 

 

 

Central Asia Economic Development and Education is a Key to Peace

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Central Asia Economic Development is based on the concept that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a meal, but if you teach him to fish, you feed him for life. Economic development that starts at the grassroots and raises up leadership from within the community, is preferable to the top-down type of aid that is given from governmental organizations. It is not that government aid is not appreciated, but in the long run, to be self-sustaining, economic models that function long-term must be created from within the community.

There is no question that poverty is a world-peace liability. Those nations that are poor and unable to provide for themselves become political footballs in the overall geopolitical picture. Helping communities become strong and self-sustaining is the best way to work towards world peace.

Ghandi once famously said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

The “bread” which we offer are educational projects. Education provides the means to lift individuals and communities out of poverty. Particularly in today’s world, with the advent of the internet, education offers a door to world-wide opportunities and commerce.

Our goal is to be financially sustainable within five years, and then turn all profits into funds to help start new social enterprise ventures throughout the region.

Contact us if you want to walk with us in this goal and vision. Alone, each of us may not be able to do much. Together, we can light the candle of education. 

Businesses as Partners in Sustainable Development

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In September, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the combined effort of a 70 country working group charged with creating a set of targets that replace the millennium development goals.  The group incorporated views from a diverse set of contributors including UN agencies, consultations in 130 countries, civil society, the private sector and 7 million participants in the UN’s My World survey.

In the agreement, there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals which focus on 169 targets to eliminate poverty, hunger and inequality, act on climate change, improve access to health and education, and build robust institutions and partnerships.  That this is a combined effort of the global community is encouraging for implementation and effectiveness.

Goal 16 entrusts the global community to work together to advance peaceful, inclusive societies for sustainable development, give access to justice for all, and foster effective, answerable and inclusive institutions at every level.  Despite private sector and local civil society often disagreeing on responsive governance, social inclusion and peace building, their meaningful joint investment is what is necessary to achieve Goal 16.

Rather than looking at companies as potential funders, other participants should embrace businesses as authentic partners who will invest wisely and reduce redundancy.  Companies should consider themselves as consumers of good governance working in partnership to achieve long-term policy solutions for all the sustainable development goals.  With this in mind, here are some recommendations for building successful partnerships on Goal 16.

Leaders approach development with a systemic view of change and insist that those most exposed to government change have a seat at the table

Build authentic partnerships with local organizations to actively develop capacity and bring local ownership into decision-making.

Business skills are a critical ingredient of a prosperous civil society sector that is essential to first-rate governance and vigorous advocacy.

Make impactful investments that reach beyond philanthropy. Do no harm conducting operations and social investment with unambiguous and ongoing conflict analysis.

Transparency is fundamental to building trust between organizations working together on development goals. Organizations should share information with partners on strategies and programs that were successful and those that were not.

Promoting common understanding requires access to credible information including internet access and Freedom of Information laws.  Engage locally in the discussion on the appropriateness of international norms in dialogues.

Businesses and civil society are open about their dealings with government and pay their fair share of taxes according to law.

Business innovation and resources can play a significant part in sustainable development. Omega International’s goal is to give people the necessary skills to become successful entrepreneurs. Please contact us to see how you can help.

 

 

 

 

 

Central Asia Economic Development– Making it a Personal Endeavor

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To some who may hear about Central Asia economic development and think it isn’t a concern for them, here are some considerations:

1. Each person in this world adds significance and meaning to existence. As 16th Century poet, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island” and “Any man’s death diminishes of me”. Omega International understands this and makes continual progress in reducing poverty and mortality by developing job training centers in struggling areas such as Tajikstan and Uzbekistan.

2. One person, like you, actively makes a difference. By small means, many great things are accomplished. Just think of the many examples in nature! One such example is the single grain of sand that turns into a pearl through the adversity of pressure inside of an oyster shell. By donating even a small amount, you can turn the adversity of one person into the pearl of education that they will take with them their entire lives!

Here are some of the real facts about poverty in Central Asia (from worldbank.org):

1. Winter is so long and so cold that many low-income families spend a lot of their money buying coal and other supplies trying to keep warm.

2. A normal diet for a family almost never consists of meat and often, they won’t eat breakfast until it’s almost time for lunch. When they do, it is usually whatever vegetables they can get and rice.

3. The Gross National Income (GNI) was only $6,892 at the end of 2014.

4. Many times, the government does not know how to give assistance to those who are poor or even how to identify those who could use the assistance because they are struggling as well. 

For more information about how you can make Central Asia economic development a personal endeavor, please contact us.

How to Participate in the World’s Much-Needed Social Entrepreneurship

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While buzzwords like “social entrepreneurship” and “globalization” have existed long before they became popular; it is the Internet that has given rise to them. And thankfully, it is the Internet that gives rise to social awareness so that more people can participate in such things, and make meaningful contributions to critical world issues.

What is a social entrepreneur?

Social entrepreneurs use business practices and innovations to find solutions for critical social issues such as poverty. Common fields that social entrepreneurs focus on are healthcare, education, environmental issues, and business development. Though completion of a social goal often requires the cooperation of many organizations, often differing in size, mission, and beliefs; all social entrepreneurs aim to build sustainable organizations that alleviate the original critical issue.

There are three different types of social entrepreneurship. The first type is the more traditional type most of us are familiar with; the Leveraged Non-Profit which is a business model that leverages resources and allocates them for social needs. The second type, the Hybrid Non-Profit takes on various organizational structures, but is unique due to its willingness to use profit to continue operations. Hybrids typically raise revenue to sustain the operation outside of traditional funding such as loans and grants. The Social Business Venture is a business model designed to create change through social channels. This business type is the result of a lack of funding.

How to become a social entrepreneur

The first step in becoming a social entrepreneur is to decide which critical social issue you want to tackle. For example, Tajikistan is Central Asia’s poorest state and is currently susceptible to both internal and external threats to its stability. Begin by reading everything possible with regards to Tajikistan and then set up Google Alerts with the keyword “Tajikistan” so that you’ll stay abreast of all issues pertaining to that nation.

The second step is to coordinate with other social entrepreneurs with similar goals. Find out what innovations they are using to create change in the area. Is there something you can do to help them? Unlike regular business ventures, social entrepreneurship is far more effective when those striving toward a mutual goal work together.

Spread the word and be a fundraiser

Now that you have a social goal, start educating your inner circle. The best and most sustainable way to raise funds is online. You are welcome to throw a themed, in-person party to raise funds, but this costs money and defeats the purpose in some senses. Also, most people are familiar and comfortable with crowdfunding, an online fundraising campaign.

To create an effective fundraising page, you will want to highlight the most critical issues or problems, and what solutions the funds will be dedicated to. Next, set reasonable financial goals and make sure your progress is highly visible. Also, be sure to thank supporters via email (you can set up auto-replies) whenever they donate. And while it may seem silly, using phrases such as “even a few pennies will help” has an obligatory psychological effect on a donors mind; usually causing them to be quite generous.

Once you have completed one successful fundraising campaign, set up recurring dates for future fundraisers. Keep your donators informed with current events via a regular newsletter or blog. Be transparent and show them how the funds are working.

Conclusion

Though social entrepreneurship is a little loosely defined, it is still very necessary. Without awareness of critical world issues, many will go unresolved. No matter the method you choose, being a part of positive change and empowering the oppressed is possibly one of the most important goals you will achieve in your lifetime.

Omega International provides educational training that will help launch small businesses throughout Central Asia including Tajikistan, Afghanistan and surrounding nations. Skilled training includes Conversational and Market Place Languages, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Skills, Sports Player, Coach and Support Staff Skills Entrepreneurial Skills, and Business Development.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can effect change in at-risk nations.

Central Asia Economic Development Relies on Investors in Sustainable Energy

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In the Central Asia countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, energy performance codes and energy efficiency laws are in place to support Central Asia Economic Development.  These policies have helped create new opportunities for investment in sustainable development.

Organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, government and non-government agencies have teamed up to help train and financially sponsor start-up renewable and efficient energy projects in Central Asia.  By informing factory and utility managers, apartment owners and tenants, municipal workers, architects and construction companies about available sustainable energy choices and explaining how to incorporate them into their operations, there is more acceptance for sustainable energy solutions and technologies.

In Kazakhstan, state funded programs have scaled up many UNDP pilot projects.  The UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for ALL which began in 2014 advocates achieving three sustainable energy goals by 2030.  These include securing universal access to modern energy services, a 100% increase in renewable energy’s contribution to the global energy mix and a 100% improvement in energy efficiency.  

70% of Tajikistan inhabitants live in rural areas and more than 14% lack sufficient energy to heat and power their homes.  When the country gained independence from Soviet Union control in 1991, its people no longer benefited from subsidized diesel and coal.  Since then, there has not been enough supply to meet increasing demand, especially in the winter.

While Tajikistan lacks carbon-based energy resources, it does have many small rivers and streams which offer potential for small hydropower projects.  In 2010, the UNDP became involved in helping remove existing barriers to expanded hydropower.  Realizing that the government was unwilling to help reduce investment risk in small hydropower projects and that state tariffs did not guarantee a reasonable return on investment, the UNDP began helping remove these barriers.

In Burunov jamoat, a rural sub-district with 22,000 inhabitants, the UN began a pilot program to help install a 200-kilowatt hydropower facility and established and trained a community organization to maintain the station.

In addition, the UNDP installed an energy-efficient boiler for heating, insulated the building and installed solar panels on a local health facility which greatly improved healthcare delivery.

These sustainable energy projects enrich livelihoods.  For example, a small hydropower project powering a local milk processing business employs seven people and encourages small-scale agriculture.

The UNDP partners with governments and other organizations to leverage financing in order to expand affordable clean energy throughout the region.  Please contact us to learn how your support will achieve transformational change.

Become a Partner for Change Through Central Asia Economic Development

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Do you believe real and lasting positive change in the world is possible? If you do, and you want a role in effecting that change, consider a successful project directed toward sustainable social good.

Omega International creates a framework for social, economic, ecological and political change. We partner with individuals in local communities and with our donors worldwide and invite you to join us in this great effort.

We seek a thriving and secure Central Asia, a world that supports individual dignity and a peaceful, secure environment for families. Omega commits to equipping individuals to overcome their impossibilities and become leaders in the different areas of their society.

With this vision for Central Asia economic development, Omega International creates a framework for philanthropists to change the world. Victor Hugo said, “There is one thing more powerful than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” Two intertwined ideas whose time has come inspire Omega International: social entrepreneurship and sustainability. 

Social entrepreneurship generates social value through creating sustainable change. Its goal is to achieve social, economic and environmental justice. Social entrepreneurship works toward this goal through businesses and projects that produce profit while they maintain a focus on systemic change. 

Sustainability is an equally important concept when we invest in programs directed toward social good. A program built on sand will wash away, but a program built on a firm foundation will last, continuing to contribute to changing the world for the better. Sustainability is holistic, bringing together social, economic, ecological and political considerations. This kind of change calls for individual responsibility and accountability from all of us as we move forward.

Omega International embraces these concepts and values as we work with people in local communities in Central Asia to fulfill their potential. As they empower and equip themselves through our programs to build their local communities, they, in turn, contribute to changing their world in positive ways. 

Omega International reaches out in four specific areas:

  • Educational, Conversational and Market Place Languages
  • Tourism and Hospitality Industry Skills
  • Sports Player, Coach and Support Staff Skills
  • Entrepreneurial Skills and Business Development 

Each program area contributes in powerful ways to equipping individuals to overcome their impossibilities and become leaders of their society. Each helps these individuals participate in achieving social, economic and environmental justice in their society. Each provides a firm foundation for sustainability and growth.

For those individuals who want to work in the global environment through trade or work in international humanitarian organizations, languages are essential. Those who want to share the beauty of their country with others while building the local economy, require tourism and hospitality industry skills. Sports bring people together in constructive ways, and sports businesses can also contribute to local economies. Local entrepreneurs learn how to develop successful business plans and launch their ideas for societal transformation and financial sustainability.

Our successful projects help local people create the programs in their communities that drive positive change. We offer leadership training, vocational training, work with local mothers, giving them the tools to become community leaders, train teachers to start schools where there are none and help villages build schools for the first time. 

Become part of positive change in the world. Be a partner in empowering and equipping individuals to serve their local communities as they develop toward a better future. If you are passionate about serving the world through an idea whose time has come, please contact us.

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