Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group

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AIDG's Peter Haas and Catherine Laine honored as environmental activists

Jacqueline Haas, Peter Haas, Senator John Kerry, Catherine Laine and Joe Mullin
3rd Middlesex Area Democrats 2008 Awards Breakfast: Jacqueline Haas, Peter Haas, Senator John Kerry, Catherine Laine and Joe Mullin

WESTON April 26, 2008- This past weekend, the 3rd Middlesex Area Democrats of Massachusetts recognized a number of local environmental activists for their work in bringing attention to global warming, energy usage and smart conservation of natural resources. Peter Haas and Catherine Laine of AIDG were nominated by the Weston Town Democratic committee for striving to bring green technologies to poor communities in Guatemala and Haiti.

Two for one: Two ecological toilets replace a river polluting overhang latrine in Shada, Haiti

One by one river polluting latrines in Cap Haitien's shantytown Shada are being replaced with ecological toilets


Cap-Haitien April 23, 2008 - "Are you going to help us or just do studies like all the other blancs?" was the reproachful question that a Shada resident asked Peter Haas, AIDG's Executive Director, on his first visit to the shantytown in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Haas was there to determine how best AIDG's initial projects on sanitation and energy production in Haiti could benefit Shada. 

It was a powerful rebuke meant to convey that the community was frustrated and wanted quicker action on sanitation issues from NGOs and charitable groups. With this stated question as a call to arms, AIDG and its community partner, SOIL, recently finished 2 dry-composting community latrines in Shada. Together these systems, also known as ecosan (ecological sanitation) or urine-diverting toilets, now serve approximately 400 residents.

AIDG Goals for 2008

2008 AIDG Haiti Goals

Haiti: Access to sanitation and clean energy in Cap-Haitien

1. Municipal Waste-to-Energy Plant. Begin building a municipal biogas plant in Cap Haitien to improve local sanitation and provide renewable energy to the city’s residents. Once online, the plant and associated waste collection services will serve an estimated 10,000 people.

2. Compost Site with SOIL. Collaborate with local partners to establish a community compost site using effluent from the biogas plant.

3. Job Creation. Create an enterprise to manage the biogas system and collect waste for processing. Revenue will be generated from biogas sales and waste collection fees.

4. Pilot Projects: Community Biogas and Upgraded Public Latrines.

  • Install several community and family-scale biogas systems as outreach to test and promote the technologies. One such system will be installed for a pottery collective in Lori, Haiti to generate fuel for one of their kilns.
  • Help improve sanitation infrastructure by upgrading existing public latrines. Build six dry composting latrines with SOIL.

2008 AIDG Guatemala Goals

Guatemala: Access to renewable energy and water for under-served communities

5. Achieving XelaTeco’s Triple Bottom Line Goals. Cement XelaTeco as a sustainable business that provides significant social, environmental and economic benefits to the communities it serves in Guatemala. XelaTeco’s primary focus is clean energy/energy conservation systems (micro-hydroelectric, biogas, higher efficiency ‘improved’ cookstoves).

6. Community-scale Renewable Energy Systems. Help XelaTeco provide micro-hydroelectric systems for three rural communities and, pending funding, help another 12-18 communities perform micro-hydro feasibility studies and system design.

7. Delivering Water to Isolated Communities. Prepare to start AIDG’s 3rd enterprise in 2009 that will focus on delivering water supplies to isolated rural communities.

8. Pilot projects: Water Supply Delivery, Small Scale Wind Power, and Solar Hot Water.

  • Perform hydraulic ram pump projects to deliver water to isolated communities in Guatemala.
  • Conduct research & development on small-scale wind power and solar hot water systems.

2008 AIDG Goals

AIDG: Expanding and Growing our network of businesses

9. Growing our network of businesses. To achieve our goals of providing families and communities with affordable energy, sanitation and clean water, we will continue to optimize our business incubation, training and financing model so that it can be replicated and scaled.

To achieve these goals, AIDG has to raise $500,000 in 2008. We need your help to bring renewable energy, sanitation and clean water to communities in Haiti and Guatemala. Donate today! 

Donate to AIDG
What we did in 2007 with help from folks like you


Village-Scale renewable energy in Guatemala. AIDG & XelaTeco provided over 150 families (700+ people) in rural Guatemala with renewable electricity. A micro-hydroelectric system installed for the Chantel and La Fe communities saved them $2000/month in fuel costs during their coffee harvest. Our total installed capacity as of December 2007 is 91 kW.

Village scale renewable energy

Helping families breathe easier with cleaner burning stoves. We installed and upgraded 20 biodigesters and improved stoves for rural families in Guatemala. Our higher efficiency stoves cut indoor air pollution, a major ‘killer in the kitchen’.

AIDG Stoves: participatory design at work. Through active community outreach and R&D, AIDG developed stove designs that use 50-60% less wood than a traditional wood fire. For families that buy their fuel wood, this could save them 14-30% of their monthly income.

Juana demoing stove with Liakos

Rocket Box Stove


Waste-to-energy: Home Grown Power in Cap-Haitien. We opened a new office in Cap Haitien, Haiti. In partnership with Oxfam, SOL/SOIL, and the Mayor’s offices of Cap Haitien and Milot, we are starting a project to create a municipal-scale waste-to-energy plant. When online, the plant will serve an estimated 10,000 people, improving sanitation and providing a valuable energy source.

Improving sanitation in Cap Haitien. Working with our community partners, we have already completed a dry composting latrine to serve 300 people in Petite Anse, a neighborhood of Cap Haitien. Building new public latrines and upgrading existing ones will give many more of the city’s residents access to basic bathroom facilities as well as protect groundwater from contamination.

Improving sanitation in Cap Haitien

Women of AFAPA (Association des Femmes Active de Petite Anse) help build the latrine.


Hot showers for cold kids. As an outreach project for a childcare center in Guatemala, we installed a solar water heater to improve hygiene for the center’s 45 children, particularly during the cold winter months.

Kids testing out the solar hot water heater at La Guarderia in Llanos del Pinal

Affordable solar water heater. AIDG partnered with the University of California - Berkeley to develop a low-cost solar water heater for under $100. Commercial systems cost $400-$1000.

Water testing. We collaborated with MIT’s D-lab for water quality testing training for XelaTeco. Lack of access to safe drinking water is a major cause of death for children under five.

XelaTeco Saves Community Thousands in Electricity Bills

XelaTeco steps in a crucial time to help La Fe and Chantel communities with a micro-hydroelectric repair.

Coffee cherries

Processing coffee from cherry to bean uses considerable energy. XelaTeco helped 2 coffee- producing communities save $1000's in eletricty and diesel.

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala - “Not again” is what the residents of La Fe and Chantel communities thought when their micro-hydroelectric system broke down for the umpteenth time this past June. Before Hurricane Stan in 2005, these 110 families had been one of the luckier campesino communities. When they obtained the rubber and coffee plantations with the help of the Land Trust Fund (Fondo de Tierra), they also inherited a functional 75 kilowatt hydroelectric system that could power their coffee processing.

Unfortunately the devastation of Stan nearly destroyed the hydroelectric machinery. The community managed to scrape together enough cash to hire a local machine shop for repairs, but the repair team’s lack of expertise with hydro systems resulted in a shoddy fix. In the next year and a half, the system had to be overhauled four additional times to keep it running.

AIDG 300 Update: Matching Funds for Haiti!

Dear Friends of AIDG,

We have great news! We're happy to annouce that we've received 2 matching grant opportunities from donors in our community who want to help us kickstart the Haiti expansion.

One couple who cares deeply about Haiti will donate $37,000 if we can raise another $37,000. To help get the ball rolling, another couple has generously pledged $2,000 if 40 people donate $100 each. Could you be one the 40?

Because of these wonderful offers of support, we'll be extending the AIDG 300 campaign through the fall. Any gift you make today will be doubled and put to work helping us get our new program started in Haiti. If we all pitch in a little bit, we can get things rolling in Cap Haitien quickly.

I'll be heading to Haiti in early September to move forward on a sanitation business. Our newest addition to AIDG, Sarah Brownell, is already there conducting assessments and looking for stakeholders and partners. Our progress on the ground really depends on the donations that come in over the next few weeks. You've seen what we've done these past 2 years with our programs in Guatemala. To build something as strong in Haiti, we need support from our community. We need your help.

If you've been thinking of giving to AIDG, but haven’t already, please donate today: If you've already given, thank you, thank you, thank you.

This is a very crucial period. We have a lot of hard, yet exhilirating work ahead and we really appreciate you taking this journey with us.



Peter C. Haas

AIDG’s next incubated business to focus on sanitation in Northern Haiti
View of homes in Cap Haitien from Citee Lescot neighborhood.

AIDG takes first steps to establishing new incubated business in Cap Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti

Weston, MA – When Peter Haas and Catherine Lainé of AIDG visited Cap Haitien last August, they saw a lot of potential business opportunities in Haiti’s second largest city.

“There were many basic services that the population needs, which they just are not getting access to,” says Haas, AIDG’s Executive Director. “A properly placed business could do much to address some of these issues and make a decent profit at the same time”.

Help WEdia come to Guatemala to film AIDG
Help WEdia come to Guatemala to film AIDG

WEdia Benefit Show

Date: Friday, May, 18th, 2007
Time: 8:00pm - late
Location: Southpaw, 125 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11217
Price: $20 before 11pm, $10 after 11pm.


Help send WEdia to Guatemala and Nicaragua! This summer, WEdia will send award-winning volunteer filmmakers to document the work of AIDG (Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group), Maya Pedal, Kiva, Bikes Not Bombs and Pro Mujer. They are trying to raise the necessary funds with a benefit show.

AIDG Executive Director Appears on PBS's Design Squad

PBS Design SquadWatch Episode 6 of PBS' Design Squad online. AIDG's own Executive Director, Pete Haas, makes a cameo appearance as a beta-prototyper and judge  in the episode, entitled "A Collective Collaboration".

AIDG "300" Campaign

Dear Friend of AIDG,

I hope you had a happy Earthday last week. Let me begin by saying thanks so much for your support. Because of you, AIDG has been able to provide access to sanitation, clean water and electricity to rural villages in Guatemala. This type of infrastructure development is essential to alleviate poverty and improve health. You’re helping us make this happen.

This month, we’re kicking off our “AIDG 300” campaign, but we very much need your help to get it off the ground.

Donate to AIDG

We’re trying to raise $300,000 by August 15th (XelaTeco’s 2nd birthday) to fund three key projects: 

  1. We want to take AIDG’s business incubation model to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
    Unfortunately, we can’t move beyond the planning stages until we have the necessary funds: $92,000.  Your continued support can enable us to deliver life-changing solutions to the rural poor in Haiti and the DR, as you helped us do in Guatemala.

  2. XelaTeco, our first incubated shop, desperately needs a truck.
    We’re looking at buying a used truck for $7500. Currently, our employees travel around the Guatemalan countryside on public or rented transportation, on foot or bicycle. A truck would let your donations go a lot further by allowing us to deliver projects faster and more efficiently. This has become essential due to the increased demand for XelaTeco’s products from local NGOs and community groups.


  3. AIDG has done a great deal in the past two years on only $150,000. Learn about what you've helped us do in 2005-2006. We’ve been able to do all these largely because of our dedicated all-volunteer staff. To continue providing clean and green technologies to rural communities and to grow AIDG into a sustainable organization with full-time staff, we need to find support at a level that goes beyond anything we’ve had before. We have to raise an additional $200,000 in 2007. Can you help us?

Your donation will allow us to promote affordable environmentally sound technologies in developing countries. Please know that any size gift would be a tremendous help. Thanks for all that you’ve done so far. Together, we’re making a difference in the lives of many families.


Peter Haas

Executive Director

P.S.  We’ve already raised $42,000 this year. Help us get to $300,000 by August 15th.

P.P.S. If you’ve donated already, THANKS!! We really appreciate your commitment.

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