Mission of the organization
The Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment (CREATE!) was established in 2008 to help rural populations in the developing world prepare for water, food, and fuel shortages resulting from the impact of climate change on their communities. CREATE! operates on the principle that all people have a right to water, food, shelter, energy, and the means to earn a living. We work with village populations to meet these needs through a culturally respectful, participatory process grounded in our belief that people must have a stake in their development and contribute towards solving their own problems. The cooperative groups in our beneficiary villages have already demonstrated the validity of this approach. CREATE! currently operates in Senegal. Senegal is representative of many Sub-Saharan African countries that are hardest hit by the increasingly disastrous effects of global climate change. CREATE! responds to the inter-connected crises generated by climate change with strategies that decrease dependence on fossil fuels, conserve natural resources, and increase the use of appropriate technologies. Our programs produce sustainable, human needs-based development at the village level while forging resilient and vibrant communities across rural Senegal. CREATE! seeks to face these challenges and assist rural Senegalese residents with small-scale, accessible, and "appropriate" technologies - technologies that are adapted to, and fit, their local conditions - and with human needs-based strategies that can both better their lives and build their capacity to meet these inter-connected challenges. CREATE! works in six villages in two regions of Senegal. One region is in the rural north of Senegal, centered around Linguere in the Louga Region, where CREATE! implements programs in the village of Ouarkhokh. The other region is in the central-west of Senegal, centered around Gossas in the Fatick Region. CREATE! implements program activities in five villages in this region. The total beneficiary population of the six villages is approximately 12,000 people, comprised of both agricultural and pastoral peoples. The average per capita annual income of the population in these villages is approximately $350 a year. In each of these villages, CREATE! staff work closely with local and traditional authorities, including village chiefs and imams, in addition to other community leaders, families, and public schools. CREATE! values the expertise and input of community members and strives to incorporate their knowledge and participation into each stage of our programs. As a registered NGO in Senegal, CREATE! works with government officials from the regional office of the Department of Water and Forestry. CREATE! also respects the Senegalese government's strategic development goals for rural communities. Although CREATE!'s administrative office is located in the United States, CREATE! relies on local Senegalese staff and volunteers to plan and implement successful development interventions. Barry Wheeler, CREATE! Founder and Executive Director, has spent the past 27 years working to alleviate suffering and to provide basic human needs for rural villagers, displaced persons, and refugees in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. After serving in the Peace Corps for six years as an Improved Cook Stove and Appropriate Technology volunteer, trainer, and technical advisor in Togo, Barry earned a Master's degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University. Barry has served as Country Director for the American Refugee Committee's programs in Uganda, Sudan, and Rwanda; as a consultant for UNICEF and UNHCR; and as a team leader and training coordinator in local capacity building, renewable and appropriate technology, and sustainable rural development. CREATE! Chief Operations Officer Louise Ruhr has more than 30 years of private sector and nonprofit management experience and has spent the past eight years working with international NGOs, including the American Refugee Committee, to support women's cooperative groups in Rwanda and Senegal. CREATE! Country Director Omar Ndiaye Seck oversees program activities and conducts site visits in CREATE! communities. He also manages CREATE!'s finances and staff in Senegal. Omar closely collaborates with local and traditional authorities, community volunteers, and CREATE! staff to achieve both organizational and village goals.