1. Tell us about your mission.
blueEnergy works to create a more equitable, sustainable world by empowering healthy families and resilient communities. We work in direct, long-term partnerships with communities in Nicaragua and Ethiopia to unlock leadership capacity and sustainable access to essential services in themes of renewable energy; food security; and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH). We work in an integrated and holistic manner.
2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?
The story of blueEnergy is ultimately told in two elements. First, our deep commitment to unlocking access to basic services in partnership with marginalized and vulnerable communities. We achieve this by supporting the development of leadership capacity within the communities, fostering cross-sectoral partnerships of action, and direct technical intervention delivery. Second, we believe deeply in projecting our success throughout our network. This takes the form of knowledge sharing, partnership with other organizations, capacity building, and promoting South-South collaboration. The West Foundation’s organic approach to funding gives us the mobility and agility to respond to timely needs both in our community development and global projection through knowledge sharing. Yet what truly sets The West Foundation as a leader in their space is the true partnership mentality. The Foundation actively promotes connections within their portfolio, germinates new ideas, and serves as a catalyst to ensure leaders within their portfolio are supported, engaged, and communicating.
3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is The West Foundation’s philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?
Unrestricted funding is often the most difficult to secure. Unrestricted funding with an entire network of partnership and accompaniment is rarer even still. The West Foundation’s philanthropic support is difficult to value because the partnership with the Foundation implies more than just funding support. We are able to use the funds to support our most timely or difficult to fund challenges, which unlocks our internal ability to be sustainable, efficient, and responsive to the needs of communities that are marginalized and vulnerable. The willingness of Foundation staff to be a sounding board thought partner, and resource represents the magical X factor often lacking between Foundations and field partners. blueEnergy values the relationship, not just the funding, of The West Foundation deeply and that partnership represents a foundation to our success.
4. How are you realizing your potential?
blueEnergy has been working in Nicaragua for 15 years, unlocking access to basic services on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua for some of the most vulnerable indigenous communities in the region in the themes of water, sanitation, and hygiene; renewable energy; and food security. Approximately five years ago, we began a long-term partnership in Ethiopia to serve renewable energy access needs, including in refugee camps. We continue to explore and look for opportunities to share our rich learnings, experience, and methodologies with our partners. While we formed to serve a very specific set of needs in Nicaragua, we have always prioritized our global knowledge sharing and over the past few years have begun orienting our international administrative structure to support that effort, supporting the evolution of local partners, professional networks, leadership capacity, and South-South knowledge sharing.
5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?
We are, at our core, catalysts. We are intervention-agnostic and are always seeking growth, partnership, and innovation. We believe that bottom-up, decolonized, and sustainable development is achievable when you have a spectrum of actors who are working collaboratively to build a more sustainable, equitable world. While we use technical interventions as the vehicle to achieve that vision, at our core we unlock capacity within the community. While this work is slow, deliberate, and methodical, it is the true key to sustainable development and empowerment.
6. How can people reading this help you?
blueEnergy is always looking for partnerships. We are a small, agile organization deeply focused on investing our resources into our mission. As such, we actively seek to grow our network of supporters in a direct and organic manner. We are always excited about an opportunity to discuss our approach, methodology, tools, or resources and to learn from others in our network of influence. From donors to community members, we view our constituency as an interlocked network that must operate with transparency, integrity, and long-term commitment. We look forward to welcoming new people, such as yourself, into that network of action as we work to continue to empower healthy families and resilient communities.
7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?
Get the word out! We build our support through word-of-mouth, boots on the ground visits, and meaningful relationships.