Long Term Volunteers

For long term placements of 6-12 months and more, our Tech Team at Bangalore is the hub from where young volunteers and professionals go out to spend quality time at grassroots NGOs, helping them in their CDM preparation work. Later, they can follow through the same NGOs that they have developed an intimacy with, by getting actively involved in PDD writing, validation, etc.

Orientation

Long term volunteers have to first orient themselves at ADATS in order to obtain a tip-of-the-fingers understanding of what the Fair Climate Network is, how CDM Projects are implemented and emission reductions monitored, carbon revenue sharing arrangements, community ownership and participation, larger climate change issues, and the overarching anti-poor bias of CDM within which we operate and dare to be different.

Visits to other NGOs who have already registered CDM Projects or are in an advanced stage of developing them will also help.

This orientation is not through a structured programme. Relations building skills of the Volunteer will be put to test when she interacts with already overworked field staff and community leaders to glean a deep understanding of challenges and solutions. Personal interest and sincerity will constantly be under scrutiny while she tries to discern dreams and ambitions of development workers and communities.

After that, they will shift to the Tech Team in Bangalore where they will get a fair grasp on how our CDM Specialists assist grassroots NGOs in the preparation of pro-poor CDM Projects. After that, it is a matter of "sitting on the bench" to go to a grassroots NGO and get involved, neck deep, with the first phase of CDM preparation.

First Phase of CDM Preparation

This first phase involves making a rapid appraisal, through a study of a few random families, to select the most suitable technology. Then the non-charity business implications have to be discussed threadbare with the grassroots NGO. A lot of expectations and apprehensions have to be demystified. Workload, cost and time have to be explained. A format has to be designed for a complete demographic survey of all Participating Families. A digital monitoring solution has to be customised. Data has to be collected, fed in, etc.

Tasks to be undertaken are:

  • Identification of the Technology for CDM
  • Prepare baseline survey formats, field test them and finalize them to collect baseline information
  • Understand the institutional structure of the NGO to implement and monitor the CDM project
  • If required develop additional institutional structure for CDM project monitoring in consultation with the NGO
  • Other scientific surveys have to be conducted based on the requirement of the methodology, which may take anywhere from 1-3 months.

All this data has to be collated for PDD writing. Alongside, Gold Standard stakeholders meetings have to be conducted, reports prepared and sent to the Registry.

This First Phase is the most important stage before the actual PDD can be written. Though it is not a very thrilling part of the work, it is necessity in order to write a credible PDD and deliver a project which can be implemented without any issues after it gets registered. This process takes anywhere between 6-8 months.

Mindset, Attitude & Personality

These tasks are non-exciting and sheer drudgery. Since we have already developed a fair number of pro-poor CDM Projects, we know how critical this phase is. It requires much patience, handholding and repetitious instructing. We have to be prepared for frustrations and irritations that crop up when this laborious and time consuming groundwork is carried out.

Young people, new to the field, are all the time raving to go! They quickly get to feel that they are "not being taught the real work". They feel under-employed. They don't realise that there actually is a lot of work – just that it is donkey's work!

There is an added element that causes frustration during first phase. Every step has a "political call". The NGO has to decide whether it is worth all the pain. Whether they want to invest so much money – if they even have that much money in the first place. Whether all their staff time can be devoted to these endless surveys. Whether they and their staff can ever master the new fangled world of intranet and internet monitoring. What the risk is of the project never coming through, etc. Transition from charity work to new age business is not easy for any NGO. They depend on reassurance that only senior and experienced colleagues can offer.

That is not particularly pleasing for young people. They feel slighted and ignored. Quite justifiably so! After they laboriously explain a process or procedure, NGO leaders once again consult the FCN Coordinator or Senior CDM Specialist for guidance. We can imagine that this is quite dispiriting for any self respecting volunteer, more so a yuppie!

The Second Phase

Only after this first phase is over can we get into the "exciting" job of choosing an appropriate Methodology, searching for Literature fixing the Baseline, designing a fresh Baseline Survey Format if needed (i.e. when the literature scan is not enough), making the Excel sheets with emission reduction projections, writing a PDD, applying for Host Country Approval, selecting the Validator, etc.

Tasks to be undertaken are:

  • Literature scan for PDD writing
  • Analysis of data collected during the First Phase
  • Actual PDD writing, which involves:
    • Substantiating the criteria for chosen Methodology
    • Baseline Emission Calculations
    • Analysing Additionality of the project
    • Emission Reduction Calculations
    • Monitoring Plan for the Project
  • Assist the NGO during site visit for Validation of the project by the DOE
  • Answer the request for clarifications raised by the DOE
  • If the project goes through a review by the UNFCCC, answer questions raised by the Executive Board