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Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community


Stephen C. Welty

A Masters Degree Project submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in Partial

Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Energy and


Faculty of Graduate Studies

Quito, Ecuador

August, 2003

This project seeks to analyze the issue of poverty alleviation in the developing world
using a case study of an indigenous community in the highlands of Ecuador. While there
are a number of facets to poverty, this project deals with energy, studying needs such as
cooking, heating, pumping and cooking. It also seeks to involve the community in
planning, designing, implementing and managing the development to overcome other
aspects of poverty that the World Development Report identifies as voicelessness,
powerlessness, and vulnerability (WBG, 2000).
The project uses proven techniques such as Rapid Rural Appraisal and decision
matrices based on unified cost of service and others factors including reliability, safety and
environmental impact. However, it also presents a new way of including the community
through dialogue in the conceptualization and planning phases of providing services. The
project includes a significant educational facet to inform the community members as to
their options.

This project is dedicated to my wife Lisbet and to our daughter Lizlieth. I am forever
indebted to them for the sacrifices they‟ve made and the love and support they‟ve given me.
I would also like to acknowledge Michael and Carol Welty (my parents) for their support
throughout the project and the masters degree.
Finally, I owe a debt of gratitude to the community of Culatipo for their cooperation and
participation in this project.


Approval Page: Supervisor ___________________________ Error! Bookmark not defined.

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Abstract ________________________________________________________________ ii
Acknowledgements _______________________________________________________ iii
List of Tables ___________________________________________________________ viii
List of Figures ___________________________________________________________ ix
1 Introduction__________________________________________________________ 1
1.1 Objectives _______________________________________________________ 2
1.2 Background _____________________________________________________ 3
2 Methodology for Participatory Development ________________________________ 5
2.1 Problem Analysis _________________________________________________ 5
2.2 Preliminary Economic and Technical Feasibility Studies ________________ 6
2.3 Legal & Regulatory Framework ____________________________________ 7
2.4 Options For Implementation _______________________________________ 8
2.5 Public Participation _______________________________________________ 8
3 Problem Analysis ____________________________________________________ 10
3.1 Definition of Poverty _____________________________________________ 10
3.2 Global Consequences _____________________________________________ 12
3.3 Local Consequences ______________________________________________ 13
3.3.1 Migration and family deterioration _______________________________ 13
3.3.2 Loss of Fertile Soil, Biodiversity and Water Source __________________ 14
3.3.3 Indoor Air Pollution ___________________________________________ 15
3.4 Causes of Poverty to be addressed __________________________________ 16
3.5 Potential Approaches & Actors ____________________________________ 17
4 Feasibility Studies ____________________________________________________ 19
4.1 Electrification ___________________________________________________ 20
4.1.1 Grid _______________________________________________________ 21
4.1.2 Solar _______________________________________________________ 23
4.1.3 Wind_______________________________________________________ 24
4.1.4 Fuel Cells ___________________________________________________ 26
4.1.5 Diesel Generator _____________________________________________ 28
4.1.6 Pedal Generator for Lighting ____________________________________ 29
4.1.7 Summary of Electrification Options ______________________________ 29

4.2 Domestic Water _________________________________________________ 31
4.2.1 Pumping water from Springs ____________________________________ 33 Grid Electricity Available ____________________________________ 35 Solar Electric Pump _________________________________________ 36 Wind Electric Pump _________________________________________ 37 Wind Mechanical Pump______________________________________ 38 Wind Airlift Pump __________________________________________ 38
4.2.2 Rain Water Harvesting_________________________________________ 39
4.2.3 Other Methods of Obtaining Domestic Water _______________________ 40
4.2.4 Summary of Domestic Water Supply Options ______________________ 41
4.3 Irrigation & Wetlands ____________________________________________ 42
4.4 Home Heating ___________________________________________________ 43
4.4.1 Passive Solar ________________________________________________ 43
4.4.2 Clean Biomass _______________________________________________ 45
4.4.3 Electric Base Board heaters _____________________________________ 45
4.4.4 Summary of Home Heating Options ______________________________ 46
4.5 Cooking ________________________________________________________ 46
4.5.1 Biomass ____________________________________________________ 47
4.5.2 Propane ____________________________________________________ 48
4.5.3 Solar _______________________________________________________ 49
4.5.4 Summary of cooking options ____________________________________ 49
4.6 Water Heating __________________________________________________ 50
4.6.1 Passive Solar ________________________________________________ 50
4.6.2 Electric _____________________________________________________ 51
4.6.3 Clean Biomass _______________________________________________ 52
4.6.4 Summary of Water Heating Options ______________________________ 53
4.7 Future Prospects ________________________________________________ 54
4.7.1 Fuel Cells for electricity generation _______________________________ 54
4.7.2 Stirling Generators for electricity generation _______________________ 54
4.8 Productive Uses _________________________________________________ 55
4.8.1 Passive Solar Water Heaters ____________________________________ 56
4.8.2 Block Making _______________________________________________ 56
4.8.3 Improved Stove Construction ___________________________________ 58
4.8.4 Methanol Production for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells _________________ 58
4.8.5 Biomass Processing ___________________________________________ 59
4.9 Education and Health ____________________________________________ 60
4.9.1 Schools _____________________________________________________ 60
4.9.2 Hospitals ___________________________________________________ 61
5 Legal & Regulatory Framework ________________________________________ 63
5.1 Background on the Ecuadorian Constitution of 1998 __________________ 63
5.2 International Conventions ________________________________________ 64
5.3 Framework on Property Relevant to the Community __________________ 65
5.4 Institutional Framework Specific to Indigenous Communities ___________ 65
5.5 Electric Sector Laws and Regulations _______________________________ 66
5.6 Water Laws & Regulations ________________________________________ 66
5.6.1 Water Rights ________________________________________________ 66
5.6.2 Potable Water Standards _______________________________________ 67
5.6.3 Grey Water __________________________________________________ 67
5.7 Brief Overview of Private Enterprise Laws __________________________ 67
5.7.1 General _____________________________________________________ 68
5.7.2 Specific to the Community _____________________________________ 68
6 Options for Implementation ____________________________________________ 70
6.1 The Case for the Private Sector ____________________________________ 70
6.1.1 The Market Potential & Characteristics____________________________ 70
6.1.2 Government Policy Influences___________________________________ 71
6.1.3 Salient Stakeholders ___________________________________________ 72
6.1.4 Sustained Competitive Advantage ________________________________ 73
6.1.5 Porters Five Forces ___________________________________________ 75
6.1.6 Strategies ___________________________________________________ 75 Bridging __________________________________________________ 76 Redefine the customer _______________________________________ 77 Increase the Purchasing Power of the Customer ___________________ 77 Act as a Field Trial Agent for developers of products _______________ 78 Expanding the customer base _________________________________ 79 Excelling in Service _________________________________________ 79
6.1.7 Mechanisms _________________________________________________ 80 Debt Financing _____________________________________________ 80 Fee for Service _____________________________________________ 81
6.1.8 Cooperatives ________________________________________________ 82
6.1.9 Summary of the Private Sector Case ______________________________ 83
6.2 The Case for Government Implementation ___________________________ 84
6.2.1 Direct Implementation _________________________________________ 84
6.2.2 Government Funding __________________________________________ 85
6.3 The Case for Non-Governmental Organization Implementation _________ 86
6.4 Summary of Implementation Options _______________________________ 87
7 Community Assessment & Participation __________________________________ 88
7.1 Identity and Culture _____________________________________________ 89
7.2 Indigenous Peoples Reality in Ecuador ______________________________ 89
7.3 Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) _____________________________ 90
7.4 Rapid Rural Appraisal ___________________________________________ 92
7.4.1 Local History ________________________________________________ 92
7.4.2 Current Situation _____________________________________________ 94 Economy & Commerce ______________________________________ 94
vi Indigenous School Systems ___________________________________ 96 Housing & Construction _____________________________________ 97 Gender Issues ______________________________________________ 98 Indigenous Organizations and UNORIG _________________________ 99
7.4.3 Stakeholders ________________________________________________ 102
7.4.4 Maps & Diagrams ___________________________________________ 104
7.4.5 Key Information Interviews ____________________________________ 104
7.5 Educational Seminar & Final Meetings_____________________________ 105
7.5.1 Participation of Women _______________________________________ 106
7.5.2 Community Perception of Causes of Poverty ______________________ 107
7.5.3 Community Ranking of Services and Technologies _________________ 108
7.6 Local Management of Services ____________________________________ 110
8 Conclusions and Recommendations ____________________________________ 113
9 Bibliography _______________________________________________________ 117
Appendix 1: Quote for Wind-Mechanical Pump _______________________________ 125
Appendix 2: Quote for Grid Electrification __________________________________ 126
Appendix 3: Map for Water Tubing System __________________________________ 127
Appendix 4: Calculation for Tubing Length Required _________________________ 128
Appendix 5: Pump Energy Calculations _____________________________________ 129
Appendix 6: Map for Grid ________________________________________________ 130
Appendix 7: SWOT Analysis of the UNORIG _________________________________ 131
Appendix 8: Political Map of the UNORIG __________________________________ 132
Appendix 9: Geographic Map of the UNORIG ________________________________ 133
Appendix 10: Map of Culatipo _____________________________________________ 134
Appendix 11: Initial Questions sent to Leaders ________________________________ 135
Appendix 12: Outline for Community Seminar _______________________________ 137

List of Tables
Table 3.1: Possible Causes of Poverty_______________________________________________________ 17
Table 4.1: Distribution of Consumption for a typical household in the community of Culatipo. __________ 21
Table 4.2: Unified Cost of Electricity for grid extension in Culatipo. _______________________________ 23
Table 4.3: Unified Cost of Electricity for SHS _________________________________________________ 23
Table 4.4: Life cycle emissions of different generation schemes. __________________________________ 24
Table 4.5: Energy generated for 6 m/s wind all year round with different diameter rotors. ______________ 25
Table 4.6: UCE for Wind Energy using a turbine with a 1.2m diameter rotor and average 6m/s wind speed. 25
Table 4.7: UCE for AirGen Fuel Cell not including cost of reformer or distribution system. ____________ 27
Table 4.8: UCE for diesel generator not including distribution system cost. _________________________ 28
Table 4.9: Comparison of alternatives in terms of cost and reliability. _____________________________ 30
Table 4.10: Comparison of alternatives in terms of impacts, complexity, and fuel. *Life-cycle impact. _____ 30
Table 4.11: Comparing city water consumption with Culatipo water consumption. ____________________ 32
Table 4.12: Cost per cubic meter of water with grid electricity and efficient pump ____________________ 36
Table 4.13: Cost per cubic meter of water under the direct solar pumping scheme. ____________________ 36
Table 4.14: Cost per Cubic Meter of water using a wind-electric pumping scheme. ___________________ 37
Table 4.15: Cost per cubic meter of water using a mechanical pump powered by wind energy. __________ 38
Table 4.16: Cost per cubic meter of water using an airlift pump. __________________________________ 39
Table 4.17: Comparison of domestic water supply methods. _____________________________________ 41
Table 4.18: Survey of importance of objectives in Wood Stove Programs ___________________________ 47
Table 4.19: Cost per cubic meter of hot water using a passive solar system at each house. ______________ 50
Table 4.20: Cost per cubic meter of hot water using a tankless electric heater in each house. ___________ 52
Table 4.21: Cost per cubic meter of hot water with biomass water heater not including fuel cost. ________ 52
Table 4.22: Comparison of water heating options. Qualified according to operation not installation. _____ 53
Table 6.1: Organizations and projects under execution, January 2000. ____________________________ 86
Table 7.1: Epistemology-Cosmology-Ontology comparison of ways of knowing. ______________________ 90
Table 7.2: Communities in the parish of Guangaje ___________________________________________ 102
Table 7.3: External stakeholders with previous activities in the area ______________________________ 103

List of Figures
Figure 4.1: Climatological Data for the region. _______________________________________________ 19
Figure 4.2: Wind Data for the Latacunga Airport (20 km east of Guangaje). ________________________ 20
Figure 4.3: Picture of damage and unearthed tubing system and cracked cement tank. ________________ 33
Figure 4.4: Storage Tank Configuration for Water Supply _______________________________________ 35
Figure 4.6: Trombe Wall in Northern Hemispheres ____________________________________________ 44
Figure 4.7: Solar Slab as a heat exchanger and heat storage device _______________________________ 44
Figure 4.8: Demographic Profile of the Community of Culatipo __________________________________ 61
Figure 6.1: The structure of the problem facing the social entrepreneur. ____________________________ 76
Figure 6.2: The opportunities opened using a bridging strategy. __________________________________ 76
Figure 7.1: Pictures showing the variety of construction used in the community. _____________________ 98

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 1

1 Introduction
The ministers at the Rio plus10 summit in 2002 agreed that the greatest challenges to
sustainable development that need to be addressed are (1) poverty of most of the world
population, and (2) unsustainable consumption patterns of the more wealthy in all nations
(Ryan, 2001). But the term sustainable development has become a buzz word or jargon
that means different things to different audiences. For the purposes of this paper it will be
referred to as intergenerational equity where activities carried out by generations today do
not compromise future generations access to necessary resources (WECD, 1987). The
Brundtland report also made reference to the concept of intragenerational equity since it is
difficult to conceive of intergenerational equity when there is not intragenerational equity
today. This work is guided by the idea that intragenerational equity must go hand in hand
with sustainable development where the gross inequities in the use of resources is common
place among people and societies today and must be eradicated.
Instead of embarking on theoretical rhetoric of intragenerational equity, a specific
indigenous community in Ecuador that is considered poor by income standards has been
selected for study. While many attempts have been made to define poverty (WBG,2001)
there is no comprehensive indicator that adequately measures poverty. This issue is
discussed further within the paper in the problem analysis.
In an effort to avoid imposing development models or projecting the values of western
society onto the community, the investigator in this paper takes on the role of information
collector and educator to educate the communities about the technical options available to
them in terms of energy usage and the actors who could help them realize the services.
Once the community is familiar with its options, the investigator takes on the role of
facilitator to aid the community in thinking through the problems and selecting the services
and technologies.
Another difficulty with the problem of rural development is management and
determining if “development” has been achieved since different cultures may have different
ideas of what that means. For the purposes of this project, a continuous improvement
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 2

approach is taken and success is measured based on community perception as well as the
level of self-help achieved by the community.

1.1 Objectives
The principal objectives of this project are to determine what is meant by well-being
from the perspective of the community and to make recommendations for providing
services that are related to the masters degree course work in energy and environment that
will increase the communities well-being. A secondary objective is to identify the actors
(ex. private sector, government, non-governmental organizations) that could be involved in
providing such services from an economic, political, and legal perspective.
The community has elaborated a development plan for the Union de Organizaciones
Indigenas Rumiñahui-Guangaje (UNORIG) to establish development priorities. Below is a
list of the problems identified in the development plan (UNORIG, 1999) considered as
principal issues to address.
1. Lack of water and lack of adequate irrigation systems
2. Low agricultural and livestock productivity
3. Insufficient basic services. No community has electricity and some communities do
not have domestic water.
4. Eroded soil and loss of top soil
5. Malnutrition and a strong presence of intestinal and respiratory diseases
6. Lack of jobs for the youth and a consequent migration.
Secondary problems listed are:
1. Economic losses during commercialization of agricultural products
2. Poor quality education and a low educational level of the population
3. Overgrazing and poor management of the páramos (High altitude grasslands)
4. Deforestation and loss of the Andean surface brush.
5. Low investment capacity of indigenous families
6. Loss of cultural values in some youth
7. Low participation of women in decision making
8. The OSG does not have its own technical personnel
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 3

9. Relatively low capacity of execution on part of the UNORIG and the communities.

Within the objective of increasing the well-being of the community and bound by the
limitations of the masters degree topics, the following of the problems listed above are
addressed in this project:
 Lack of water
 Insufficient basic services
 Respiratory diseases (related to indoor air pollution)
 Lack of jobs for the youth
 Deforestation (from biomass use)
 Low participation of women in decision making

1.2 Background
The communities in the páramo region (Andean highlands) of Ecuador have had a
history of intervention from local governments, the Incan empire and the Spanish
conquerors, which have contributed to their loss of familiarity and harmony with their
environment and developed a culture of resistance and insurgence (Guerrero, 1993). As a
consequence a number of regions have suffered from desertification because of an
incompatibility between the human methods of subsistence agriculture, increasing
population and the natural processes of erosion. The communities in the area face a
growing challenge of modifying their behavior to sustain an ever-growing population and
maintain fertile land for their children. While some development activities have been
carried out in the region, most of these communities have been neglected by the
government and other agencies and suffer a lack of basic services for educating themselves
and their children to confront the issues that they face. With basic services, there is also the
possibility of engaging in other economic activities and reducing some of the pressure on
their ecosystem without too much migration to urban centers. Urban migration is a problem
that plagues most Latin American cities with a population that grows faster than the
infrastructure. The cities surrounding these communities are no exception (Crissman,
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 4

The community of Culatipo is in the province of Cotopaxi off the road between
Latacunga and the Crater Lake, Quilotoa in the Municipality of Pujilí. It consists of 30
households in 20 houses with roughly 110 members. It is part of the Parish of Guangaje,
which is composed of 20 similar communities in the area (UNORIG, 1999). Culatipo was
chosen because of the outspoken leader, Manuel Tigasi, who made an effort to contact
several institutions and organizations including the Universidad San Francisco de Quito as
well as having a comprehensive development plan and clear objectives.
It is a Quichua speaking community where most of the older women speak no
Spanish. Most of the men and younger women have been educated to speak Spanish but
language as an obstacle to getting adequate public participation should not be
underestimated and was carefully considered before any interviews were undertaken.
It is a scattered community with a distance of about half a kilometer between
clusters of houses (See Map in Appendix 3), which could complicate a renewable energy
central generation system since the costs will increase because of distribution requirements.
It is also important to note that an adjacent community was electrified in 2000 with funds
from the Japanese embassy and the grid is only about a kilometer away.
Over the past century, the indigenous people of the area have been resistant to the
dominant society and have achieved a number of victories including the end of the hacienda
(large landholdings owned by wealthy colonists where indigenous people were put to work)
and the distribution of land to the people and a growing bilingual education system that
allows the people to maintain their culture while also learning how to best interact with the
dominant society (Guerrero, 1993). During the process of reform, a number of indigenous
organizations have been formed to seek the development of the communities. Any
development effort in the area must incorporate these organizations in both the decision
making and design phases as well as the implementation and management of the project.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 5

2 Methodology for Participatory Development

The activities in the project have been divided into subphases for better
management. Each different subphase will apply a different methodology for completing
the work since the activities are very different from sub-phase to sub-phase. The major
phases in the project include problem analysis, economic and technical feasibility studies,
regulatory framework, funding options, public participation and selection of services.
The order of the work was, for the most part, performed in the order listed above due
to the fact that each subsequent activity depends heavily on the results of the activity before
it. The one major exception is public participation since some preliminary public
participation is necessary as inputs into the problem analysis and the preliminary economic
and technical feasibility studies. Some of the techniques used in the initial community
appraisal include walks through the community, discussions with leaders, and involvement
in community activities. Additionally, the UNORIG Development Plan document was
used extensively.

2.1 Problem Analysis

The procedure used in the problem analysis was to visit the site and do a preliminary
review of the literature to determine the major problems that the community is facing. The
problems are thought to have both a local and a global context and are discussed separately.
It is important to note that the guiding framework for the determination of problems is not
based solely on wealth nor on health but in terms of well-being. Therefore, the first goal of
this phase of the project is to try and determine what constitutes a well-being from the
perspective of the prevalent literature on the subject in order to have a baseline when
determining the communities idea of well-being in the public participation phase.
An obvious difficulty arises in the arrangement of the project since the involved
public participation and interviewing took place late in the project. However, it was
considered that an adequate idea of what the community considers an improved quality of
life was obtained from the initial visits and interviews with leaders. Additionally, in
establishing the objectives of this project, the Development Plan by UNORIG (1999) was
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 6

used. Throughout the subsequent phases of the project new questions arose and the ideas
were refined in the public participation phase.

2.2 Preliminary Economic and Technical Feasibility Studies

Preliminary economic and technical feasibility studies were done prior to the
regulatory framework, funding options, public participation and selection of services
phases in order to have an idea of the viable technologies and rough ideas about the
required capital. These preliminary studies include the gathering of available wind and
solar data and other resources in the area and a survey of the current technology and
technological complexity levels and a rough economic evaluation. The services considered
in this phase were determined based on the objectives established earlier.
A number of criteria were used to evaluate the different technologies within a
service area. For example, within electrification a number of technologies were considered
including: grid, solar, wind, fuel cells, and diesel generators. In order to compare the
technologies, a number of criteria were used including: Unified Cost of Electricity,
Reliability, Safety, Environmental Impact, and Technological Complexity . The Unified
Cost of Electricity or Water is an aggregated present value that includes capital,
operational, labor and fuel costs which is then divided by the quantity of service provided
to determine the unit cost of the service (Navas, 2000). While full cost accounting is a
useful tool to include “direct (capital, operating, and regulatory), indirect (training, audits,
fines), and intangible (contingent, liability, goodwill) costs” (Herremans, 2002), it is
considered beyond the scope of this project and only the direct costs were estimated
quantitatively supplemented by a qualitative analysis of other factors mentioned above.
The objective of this phase was to have a wide range of options to present to the
community in an educational seminar prior to interviews in the public participation phase.
Additionally, it was important in the regulatory and implementation options phases to
determine the laws surrounding a service or technology and determine potentially interested
parties in the implementation.
Product and technology assessment was also an important aspect of the feasibility
studies. “Product and technology assessment (PATA) is a systematic assessment of
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 7

primary, secondary, and tertiary impacts of products and technologies with respect to
health, safety, environment, and society that covers the life cycle from raw materials to
final disposal.” (Thompson, 2002, ch. 17 pg.1). This tool encompasses a number of aspects
of the project and tools that were used such as social impact assessment, life cycle analysis,
and disposal of obsolete technology. While it is not in the scope of the project to do a life
cycle assessment or a social impact assessment, there is literature on the subjects and
elements related to these activities are mentioned.
Risk management entails the analysis, evaluation, control and communication of
risks (Thompson, 2002). It was useful in selecting risky practices that can be abandoned, in
controlling the inevitable risks and letting the community members know how to minimize
risk. Risk can be minimized by reducing probability, consequences or both. In the case of
exposure to contaminants, as is the case with the burning of kerosene for lighting, the
source can be controlled or eliminated, the pathway can be controlled or the target can be
protected. For the case of kerosene fumes in the home, the provision of electric lighting
will eliminate the source.

2.3 Legal & Regulatory Framework

The legal & regulatory framework is important to this project since it determines
which natural or legal persons have the legal right or responsibility to provide the services
to the community. For different services, different areas of law apply. For example,
providing improved wood burning stoves falls under a different body of law than providing
electric services. Additionally, the areas of law surrounding the formation of individual
entrepreneurial activities within the community are analyzed.
The starting point for this analysis was the constitution as the supreme body of law.
Next in order of importance were the laws issued by the legislative body followed by
regulations issued by regulatory agencies. Ordinances and decrees from local government
were also important for some cases and were reviewed if the legal framework could not be
adequately determined from the laws and regulations. Since Ecuador operates under a civil
law system, it was not considered important to review the judicial precedents.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 8

2.4 Options For Implementation

The plausible options for the implementation of providing the services to the
community are considered in this study to be: government action, non-governmental non-
profit involvement, private sector involvement and direct community involvement. The
responsibilities & rights for implementation, determined in the legal & regulatory analysis,
are different for the different services analyzed and the different actors involved.
Having determined governmental responsibilities in the previous section, the
appropriate government organisms or agencies were identified and their funding &
implementation procedures evaluated. This section is highly specific to Ecuador.
The private sector opportunities were next evaluated in light of their rights under the
legal framework. General strategies and approaches were defined that could be used
worldwide depending on the leeway the private sector has in a given country. Direct
community involvement in entrepreneurial activities was considered as a subset of private
sector involvement. The generation of jobs and local economic activity in the effort to
provide basic services increases the quality of life in both respects.
Finally, non-governmental organizations that operate in the region were identified
and evaluated for their potential in aiding in the implementation of some of the measures

2.5 Public Participation

During the public participation phase, secondary data was reviewed and ethnohistories
studied prior to making the final visit to the site. Once prepared with all of the information
from the previous phases of the project, an informational meeting with the community was
called wherein the investigator presented the results of the previous analysis. Following the
meeting, informal interviews were held with leaders and others in the community to collect
information pertinent to preferences and the level of involvement desired in the activities.
These activities all fall into the realm of what Chambers (1991) refers to as Rapid Rural
Community meetings, interviews and direct observation were carried out based on
methods established in Rural Development: Putting People First by Robert Chambers and
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 9

standards of good practice mentioned by Burkey (1993) in People First: A guide to self-
reliant, participatory rural development. “If the objective is improved conditions for the
poor, then the outsider, with the help from the rural poor themselves, must try to identify
and understand processes, linkages, and opportunities for change. This can usually be done
better through an anthropological approach open to a wide range of information, and
flexible enough to follow up leads, than through the application of a predetermined survey
instrument.” (Chambers, 1983, pg 64). Due to the limited time and resources for this
project, a detailed anthropological study could not be carried out in Culatipo but the
anthropological work by Guerrero (1993) in Zumbahua (the adjacent parish) discussed in
his book El Saber del Mundo de los Condores was used as reference.
Chambers, (1991) suggests that there have traditionally been four main defects in the
generating, analyzing and using of social information for rural development projects. The
first defect mentioned is that things have always come before people, the second is that the
poorer people have been easily neglected, the third is that conventional social investigation
methods have often not been cost-effective, and fourth is that the information has been
acquired, owned and analyzed mostly by outsiders. Efforts were made to avoid these
Along with Rapid Rural Appraisal is the concept of Participatory Rural Appraisal
wherein the community members become involved in the extraction of information and
outsiders play a role of facilitator rather than extractor of information (Chambers,1991).
Where possible this approach was also used. “„Participatory Research‟ describes methods
in which rural people and outsiders are partners. One good aspect of this new work is
respect for the poor.” (Chambers, 1983, pg. 73).
The community members were then asked to prioritize the services and express
their preferences of technology. Once the most desired services were determined and the
preferred technologies for providing them were identified, some of the management aspects
of the different services were examined. Care was taken to use existing indigenous
organizations which have a good deal of buy in from the communities and are democratic
in process (Guerrero, 1993) for the management aspects of the project.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 10

3 Problem Analysis
Having identified poverty abatement or increasing the well-being for this generation in
the community of Culatipo and the prevention of poor living conditions for future
generations as the primary objective of this project, it is important to note that there are
global and local consequences to poverty. Only through a proper identification of the
consequences and a clear analysis of the causes can a problems importance and solutions be
determined. But before doing this, what is meant by poverty must be defined.

3.1 Definition of Poverty

One definition of poverty is proposed in the World Development Report 2000/2001
(WDR) which states “Poverty is pronounced deprivation in well-being.” (World Bank
Group, 2000, pg.15). However, this definition brings a new term to the table (well-being)
which must be defined. The results of the surveys undertaken for the WDR yielded the
result that “Well-being was variously described as happiness, harmony, peace, freedom
from anxiety, and peace of mind.” (World Bank Group, 2000, pg16). While this definition
can inform development workers, it is a very comprehensive definition of poverty and is
virtually impossible to measure. It is important to note that nowhere in that definition is
any mention made to material wealth or deprivation, however, being of flesh and bone we
have minimum material requirements for peace of mind and freedom from anxiety.
Additionally, there is one indicator for happiness, suicide rates, that may require the World
Bank to refocus its poverty abatement measures on developed nations. According to
Schmidtke et al (1999) the suicide rates in North America were 20.7 per 100,000 for males
and 4.9 per 100,000 for females while the rates in Latin America and the Caribbean were
7.8 and 2.5 respectively for the years around 1990. It is clear from this that humanity needs
to start thinking about development from a human perspective and not from a material
In the final analysis, the World Development Report 2000/2001 accepted the
traditional view of poverty as encompassing material deprivation and low achievements in
education and health (World Bank Group, 2000). The report broadened the concept of
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 11

poverty to also include vulnerability to risk, voicelessness, and powerlessness. Clearly,

this definition is multidimensional and requires a measure of overall poverty. Over the past
20 years, development agencies have focused on income measurements, therefore most
discussions on poverty revolve around income poverty (WBG, 2000). But there is a clear
problem with this in that poverty is equated with a lack in income when all of the other
aspects of well-being may be strong. While the World Development Report (WBG, 2000)
points out the complexities and shortcomings of developing a poverty indicator, they
decided not to form a composite index or tradeoff studies but evaluate poverty in each
For the purposes of this project, a similar approach is used because any composite
poverty index would necessarily be value laden with a bias from the investigator. Instead,
every effort has been made to keep the larger picture of well-being in mind and facilitate
the process for community initiated change.
For different cultures the different dimensions of poverty will have a different level
of importance. According to Tom Brown (1983), an outdoor survival expert, a modern day
human being dropped into the wilderness could survive indefinitely just using what is
available in nature. The only requirements are a positive mental attitude, knowledge of
how to build a shelter, obtain clean water, build a fire, an ability to identify edible plants
and the capacity to trap and cook animals (Brown, 1983). In fact he has said that he
personally would prefer that type of life. This is the condition that a number of indigenous
groups in Ecuador live in and many, in fact, have a cultural preference for that lifestyle.
The case of the Tagaeri is an extreme case where this indigenous group of the Amazon has
killed people encroaching on their “territory” because they do not want contact with the
western world (SII, 2003). For hunter-gatherers that wish to maintain their cultures, USD
income poverty is irrelevant. In addition, they may place little value on western education
and consider the apprenticeships of the hunter-gatherer life style essential.
Difficulties arise when environmental constraints are encountered with increasing
populations and when cultural preferences change to a consumer culture requiring more
natural resource inputs. Hart (1997) suggests that the environmental burden is a direct
function of population, affluence, and technology. He writes off population as a societal
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 12

factor that cannot be changed short of draconian measures or epidemics and affluence as a
necessity to decrease poverty, hence population growth. According to his article the only
variable in the equation that can be manipulated to reduce the environmental burden is
technology. But, in a western context, it is education, health care and less labor intensive
economic activities that will encourage poor families to decrease their numbers regardless
of the material wealth or “affluence” they attain. Cuba is a good example of a country that
has stabilized its population growth by providing education and health care while
maintaining consumption and affluence low (Welty, 2002). So it may be a more innovative
approach to consider that population, affluence, and technology are all variables that can be
manipulated, albeit indirectly, to decrease the environmental burden.
In summary, the variables that affect well-being include: education & training
(maybe not western education), health care (not necessarily western hospitals), shelter,
food, clothing, energy, water and empowerment for self-actualization. A number of them
are dependent on the state of the environment such as energy, water and food. As
mentioned above, the state of the environment is, in turn, dependent on population,
affluence, and technology (Hart, 1997). In addition to the importance of the environment
in the aforementioned variables, increasingly, a clean environment in and of itself is being
considered part of well-being as can be seen in a number of constitutions including that of

3.2 Global Consequences

According to Hart, (1995, pg 8) “The cycle of debt, poverty, population growth, and
resource depletion in the developing world was identified as a primary driving force behind
such problems as desertification, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and social-political
disintegration.” In their article on Sustainability and the Corporation, Westley &
Vredenburg (1996) argue that the citizens of developed nations are dependent on the
developing world for a healthy environment. They argue that it is there that population and
poverty pressures will most likely and quickly lead to deforestation, pollution of the oceans
and the atmosphere, and the destruction of rangelands. In addition to the problems that
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 13

poverty presents today, the fact is that the poor populations are those that are growing most
Aside from the environmental argument, perhaps even more urgent problems that
could be solved by lifting the “bottom of the pyramid” out of poverty and desperation are
the aversion of social decay, terrorism, and political chaos (Prahalad & Hart, 2002). The
Bush Administration would be wise to consider diverting some of its military budget to
global equity in its “War on Terrorism” following a pattern used in the U.S. by the
government to ensure a middle class lifestyle for the great majority in order to consolidate
the state power. Latin America is living through very chaotic times with major uprisings in
Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia largely due to economic failures (Argentina) and
disputes between socially oriented governments and profit oriented companies (Venezuela)
and socially oriented activists and profit oriented governments (Colombia). These conflicts
and economic failures reverberate throughout the world adversely affecting other
economies and the peace in other nations.

3.3 Local Consequences

3.3.1 Migration and family deterioration

According to the Local Development Plan Document of UNORIG (1999) between
50% and 60% of the population of Guangaje migrate temporarily to the cities to work in
construction, block making, or as domestic maids or carriers at markets. They may be out
of the community for 6 to 7 months and return to the community during harvest time to
help their families. The community members who tend to migrate most are the young men
without lands. However, women also migrate but are less influenced by the dominant
culture of the cities. The document states that very few families have migrated
permanently. The report identifies as positive consequences of temporary migration the
increased economic income, access to information and to a lesser extent, education. The
negative aspects were identified to be alienation, loss of community values and
“decommunalizing”. The women of Guangaje explain that the migration of the men is a
heavy burden on them with increasing responsibilities. Crissman (2001) states that in the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 14

last national census, the migration from the mountain highlands to the cities explains 27%
of inter-provincial migration in the country.

3.3.2 Loss of Fertile Soil, Biodiversity and Water Source

It is thought that poverty is closely linked with environmental degradation since a
growing number of people are occupying the same amount of land as is the case in the
community of Culatipo in the parish of Guangaje. The loss of productive agricultural lands
to erosion has been identified by UNORIG as a major problem in the area
(UNORIG,1999). Crissman (2001) notes that agricultural activities were realized in the
páramo centuries before the Spanish came and that traditional forms of agricultural have
typically been viewed as environmentally friendly. But he goes further to argue that the
demographic growth and the change in property ownership, have yielded these practices
unsustainable economically, socially and ecologically. The growth of the haciendas and
large land holdings throughout colonial times displaced a number of indigenous groups to
the less fertile soils of the páramo and created a strong pressure on the ecosystems
(Crissman 2001). In addition to subsistence agriculture, the páramo region has been used
for a number of tree plantations of pine which have a number of negative effects on the
ecosystem including: limiting hydrological functions, drying the soil, and acidifying the
soil (Suárez, 2000).
According to Podwojewski & Poulenard (2000) the main anthropogenic causes of
erosion in the páramo are: fire, overgrazing, farming, construction of roads, construction of
drainage systems and irrigation channels, and the passage of heavy vehicles. Fires are
started by farmers who seek softer more desirable grasses for their livestock so it can also
be related to overgrazing.
Leon-Yánez (2000) points out that the flora of the páramo region in Ecuador is one of
the richest among the high tropical mountain floras. The páramo comprises around 5% of
the total territory of the country (Proyecto Páramo, 1999 as cited in Leon-Yánez, 2000) and
according to current estimates, about 10% of Ecuador‟s flora is represented in the páramo
(Jorgensen y León-Yánez, 1999 as cited in León-Yánez, 2000). Additionally, 60% of all
the species found in the páramo are found only in that ecosystem (Luteyn, 1999 as cited in
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 15

Suárez, 2000). Many species in the area have become extinct and there are a number of
others that are endangered due to anthropogenic activity (Nieto & Estrella, 2001).
Aside from the sustenance farming, and biodiversity values of the páramo that are
altered with increasing human activity, the ecosystem is also the main source of water for
the majority of river basins in the country (Turcotte et al, 2000). In fact the springs
currently used in the community of Culatipo for domestic water feed down to Rio Toachi
which then winds through the mountains and discharges into the ocean. Intercepting this
water for irrigation and domestic water throughout the páramo could have a serious
negative effect on down river uses and ravine ecosystems.

3.3.3 Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution has been identified as a major health risk when biomass is burned
in the home to cook, heat water and heat the home. A number of houses without electricity
also use kerosene for lighting which contributes to indoor air pollution. However, a study
of indoor air pollution in the community of Culatipo revealed that kerosene only
contributes 3% of the indoor air pollutants in a typical home (Welty et al, 2002).
Women and Children in the communities of the parish of Guangaje are those that are
most affected by the pollution since they are the ones that are in the house cooking while
the male is in the fields or out working (Van den Hooven, 2002). In addition, since so
many men migrate to the cities to work for long periods of time, they have a much lesser
yearly exposure.
The main contaminants of biomass combustion are carbon monoxide, particulates,
benzene, and formaldehyde (Oanh and Uma, 2002). For the case of Culatipo, it was
estimated that the World Bank health standards for particulates and carbon monoxide were
exceeded by 2610 times and more than 11 times respectively (Welty et al, 2002). These
results are about twice as high as a study in Guatemala where actual concentrations were
measured (McCracken & Smith, 1998). This is most likely due to an underestimated air
change per hour in the Culatipo study. Nonetheless, the standards are exceeded
significantly on a daily basis. It was more difficult to determine the formaldehyde and
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 16

benzene levels since those levels are highly dependent on fuel type. Usually only Total
Non-Methane Organic Carbons (TNMOC) emissions are given in the literature. For the
community of Culatipo, it was estimated that the concentration of TNMOC was 30,450
ug/m3 for an eight hour period while the US EPA Standards recommend levels no higher
than 1226 and 3418 ug/m3 in eight hours for formaldehyde and benzene, respectively
(Welty et al, 2002).
The main health effects of wood smoke are respiratory disease, adverse pregnancy
outcomes and cancer (Aristanti, 1997). Respiratory disease can be divided into two sub
types: acute respiratory infection (ARI) and chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD).
According to Harding & Staton (2002), ARIs are the leading cause of the burden of disease
worldwide and children are especially vulnerable with 4 to 5 millions deaths attributable to
this disease. COLD on the other hand usually affects adults after years of smoke inhalation
and generally manifests itself in bronchitis (Aristanti, 1997). Adverse pregnancy outcomes
are due to high concentrations of CO in the blood of a pregnant woman which is transferred
to the fetus. The fetus cannot get rid of the CO as fast as an adult resulting in stillbirths or
low birth weights (Aristanti, 1997). Studies in Japan have shown that women cooking with
woodfuel at chronic exposure levels had an eighty percent increased chance of developing
cancer (Pandey, 1997).

3.4 Causes of Poverty to be addressed

For the case of poverty in Latin America, one school of thought (politicians of
developing countries and intellectuals) would suggest that “colonialism is the root cause of
our poverty” (Burkey, 1993). But these allegations go far beyond the scope of this project
into the realm of international history and politics and will only be mentioned in passing.
In order to get a clear grasp of the problem and its causes will require an evaluation
from the community out to the larger picture in a grassroots fashion. This will be required
to address the problem as a good physician would address an illness – by addressing the
causes and not the symptoms. An initial evaluation and review of the literature suggests
that the major causes of poverty are those shown in Table 3.1.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 17

Table 3.1: Possible Causes of Poverty

Physical Social Political Economic
Poor Soils Lack of Education Lack of Gov. institutions Lack of capital
Unreliable Rainfall Lack of Cooperation Nepotism & Favoritism Lack of skilled labor
Lack of Surface Water Dependency Thinking Corruption Exploitation by traders
Lack of Natural Res. Superstitions Lack of Law & Order Inflation
Unfavorable Terrain Corruption Poor local participation Central Marketing
Lack of energy sources Misdirected Priorities: Lack of interest in poor Lack of transportation
Drinking/apathy people and communication
Deforestation Legacies of colonialism Poor Administration Lack of equipment
Erosion Poor Social Services Non-compliance w/ laws Lack of storage
Overgrazing Large Families Lack of entrepreneurs
Disease Vectors Division of Labor Lack of Mgmt. skills
Source: Mostly taken from Burkey, 1993

It was impossible to address all of the problems shown in the table in this project so
a few of the problems most relevant to the Master Degree in question were analyzed. The
main problems that were the focus of this project are the lack of energy (heating, cooking,
electricity), water, and the lack of capital to implement the provision of these services.
Secondary problems that were touched upon include the division of labor, deforestation,
lack of entrepreneurs, poor administration, lack of governmental institutions or regulations
and governmental non-compliance with laws and the constitution. Every effort was made
to involve the community in the decision-making so as to address a problem mentioned
both in the World Development Report (WBG, 2001) and Burkey (1993) of a lack of
community participation.

3.5 Potential Approaches & Actors

There are typically three different actors that could be involved in poverty abatement
including the government, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.
Strategies for Multi-national Companies (MNC‟s) to pursue the opportunities at the
bottom of the pyramid with proper care of the environment and social issues could make
the age-old dispute between profits and social welfare less pronounced (Prahalad & Hart,
2002). The World Bank Group (WBG) suggests that “Broad-based growth and better
functioning markets are the main hope for the 800 million poor people living in rural areas.
Reliance on government services only has proved to be inadequate.” (WBG, 2001, pg 2).
However, they go further to say that sole reliance on the private sector and markets is also
deficient due to market failures and shortcomings in the availability of public goods. For
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 18

example, viewing health care as an opportunistic endeavor instead of a basic human right
does not fit well with many people‟s philosophy. Additionally, government regulations to
prevent usurious behaviors must still be in place.
It is not the intention of this work to deal with philosophical issues of state
organization and the seemingly unending debate between socialism and capitalism and their
middle ground. Instead it parts from the reality of existing legislation and the existing
constitution to divide responsibilities between the state and the private sector. The reality is
that even if one were determined to be better than another for a given service, the
legislative process in Ecuador is tedious and would take years to change legislation (Torres,
Where it is not the sole domain of the government, either a non-governmental agency
approach could be used or a private sector approach, depending on the profitability. In any
case, the most important issue is to involve the community in the decisions about their
development and to make sure that a dependency relationship is not established (Burkey,
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 19

4 Feasibility Studies
In order to present the community with alternatives and give them an idea of the
economics and technology of different options, a number of feasibility surveys were done
and are detailed in the following sections.
For a number of alternatives, climatological information is necessary to determine the
feasibility. Figure 4.1 shows the solar radiation, the precipitation and temperatures for the
different months over the year. The solar information was obtained from the Solar Energy
Engineering Solar Database (2003) and is for the town of Latacunga some 20 kilometers to
the east of the community, which is representative for the area but due to the mountainous
terrain could be different due to cloud cover. The temperature data is from the Ecuadorian
institute of sanitary work and is for the location of Pujilí about 15 km from Guangaje
(IEOS, 1983). The values are for the years between 1963 and 1979. The precipitation data
for the years 1973 to 1979 is from the same source but for the town of Guangaje which is
less than 1 km from the community in question.
Figure 4.1: Climatological Data for the region.

140 16

120 14
Temp [C] & Solar R. [Wh/m2/day]

Precipitation [mm]]

80 Precipitation
8 Solar
60 Temperature


20 2

0 0














Source: IEOS, 1983

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 20

The information in figure 4.2 shows the wind velocity at 10 m height averaged over 28
years from 1973 to 2001. The Maximum wind speed is the maximum wind speed recorded
at the Latacunga airport by the Dirección de Aviación Civil in the period from 1995 to
2001 (DAC,2002). Of the meteorological information presented here, this is the least
exact due to the variations in wind speed in mountain areas. For a complete analysis, more
representative wind data is needed closer to the study area.
For the feasibility studies a value of 4.5kWh/m2/day for solar irradiation, 5.1 m/s
average wind speed, 782 mm annual precipitation and 13ºC average yearly temperature will
be used.
Figure 4.2: Wind Data for the Latacunga Airport (20 km east of Guangaje).




Wind Speed [m/s]

Wind [m/s]
Wind Max [m/s]



Source: DAC, 2002

4.1 Electrification
Rural electrification projects have been completed using a number of different
technologies. In this section the most feasible alternatives have been selected for a
technological and rough economic analysis.
For the purposes of doing a preliminary economic and technical analysis of the
different electrification alternatives, the estimated consumption for the community has been
calculated. The community consists of about 120 people in 30 families housed in 20
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 21

houses. Since this is a scattered community and there are no existing transmission lines,
the feasibility study for each alternative will have to consider the costs of the transmission
lines if they are necessary which will give some economic advantage to distributed
generation schemes.
Table 4.1: Distribution of Consumption for a typical household in the community of Culatipo.
Item Quantity Load [W] Use [h/d] Energy [Wh/d] Type of device Price $/ea
Lights 4 13 5 260 Compact Fluorescent $11.00
Radio 1 20 3 60 Small Radio
TV 1 30 3 90 Small Television

Per house Peak 71.4 Daily 410 Per house

Community Peak 928.2 Daily 8200 Community

Table 4.1 shows the estimated consumption of a typical household based on current
consumption in surrounding electrified communities. The per family peak demand is
calculated assuming only 70% of the items will be on at the same time during the peak
hours of demand for the community. The community peak demand is calculated assuming
a 0.65 simultaneity factor. The peak demand that the generation system must be designed
for in a central generation scheme is about 1 kW. In a distributed system the peak demand
is only about 70 W.
The estimated consumption in table 4.1 provides only for lighting and entertainment
and while this is roughly adequate for an individual home, a system that could only supply
that quantity of electricity would not be very useful in increasing economic activity in the
community and providing other community services such as street lighting or other
services. To account for this problem, an accompanying analysis was done to estimate the
cost of doubling the provision of electricity once the system has been installed.

4.1.1 Grid
The community in question is in a parish that recently had a few of its communities
electrified. The grid is currently about 800 m from the nearest house in Culatipo. The
main expenses will be in extending lines from the current grid, distributing lines to each
house, purchasing and installing poles and providing meters at each house.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 22

The distribution company in the province of Cotopaxi is ELEPCO and it sells about
1.8% of the electricity sold from the Interconnected Grid in the country. All of the
generators in the province are hydroelectric generators but for the nation as a whole, about
40 to 50% of the electricity is generated using thermoelectric plants depending on the water
level in the hydroelectric reservoirs (CONELEC, 2002). Since it is difficult to determine
where the electricity is coming from, it is considered that half of the electricity consumed
by the community would come from thermoelectric plants since that is the overall national
statistic. This means that there could be significant environmental impact from the
provision of grid electricity due to the high emissions from thermoelectric plants (see table
4.4 for Oil or Gas generation).
The cost of extending the electricity grid one kilometer has been estimated to be
between $5000 USD and $7000 USD for three-phase line depending on labor costs and
between $4000 USD and $6000 USD for single phase lines depending on labor
(NRECA,2000). Single-phase distribution relies on supplying loads with the neutral conductor
and only one of the three phase-conductors as opposed to using a 3 or 4 wire configuration and
it is commonly used to supply rural areas.
Medium voltage lines between 1kV and 35kV are typically used to supply homes
because the higher voltage reduces losses, provides better quality electricity and allows for the
use of smaller, less expensive conductors. Additionally, the less-expensive single-phase
construction can be used with reduced costs on pole top insulators, conductors and other
equipment. According to the NRECA study on grid electrification “… an 11-kV, single-phase
line constructed with a very small, #6(13-mm 2 ) ACSR conductor could be used to serve a load
of 1,000 kW-km, with voltage regulation still within 4 percent. Such a line could serve two
remote communities of 100 to 200 households each, located 20 kilometers from the main line,
each with a coincident peak demand of 25 kW.” (NRECA, 2000, pg. 11) This is clearly more
than sufficient for the community in question and may even be sufficient for the entire parish of
The community is in an area of approximately 0.90 square kilometers and the estimated
length of line to connect all of the households between each other and to the grid is estimated to
be approximately 2.8km from the GIS points of the houses (see Appendix 6). Using the
average cost discussed above for single-phase lines the initial cost would be approximately
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 23

US$12,500. However, an estimate by Instaltec (a private company that does grid extensions) is
shown in Appendix 2 and the value from that estimate of US$11,076 is used in table 4.2. This
price includes three phase lines to the areas where there could be industries. The cost per kWh
for residential electricity is about US$0.075/kWh (taken from residential electricity bill of
March 2003). The unified cost of electricity including the cost of capital and initial investment
is shown in table 4.2 below.
Table 4.2: Unified Cost of Electricity for grid extension in Culatipo.
Total Energy Demand per day 8.2 kWh/D Initial Cost for Grid Extension $11,076
Peak demand for the community 0.94 kW Maintenance/year is assumed 3% of I.C. $375 $/year
Project Duration 20 years Electricity costs $0.07 USD/kWh
Life of the installation 20 years Interest rate for capital 10.00%

Total Initial Cost $11,076 USD Yearly electricity bill $210 USD/year
Annuity $1,301 USD/year Total yearly cost $1,885 USD/year
UCE $0.63 USD/kWh

The case of grid electrification lends itself well to expansion. The UCE in the table
4.2 seems rather high for grid electricity but if one doubles the consumption, no further
investment is required and the UCE drops to $0.35/kWh. As consumption increases, the
annuity and maintenance costs will become negligible and the main component of the cost
will be the electric company charge of $0.075/kWh.

4.1.2 Solar
Solar Home Systems (SHSs) have been employed in a number of villages to provide
residential electricity to varying degrees of success. The system‟s ultimate configuration
depends on the load. The photovoltaic panel will supply DC but if there are AC appliances
to be supplied, an inverter will be necessary. A charge controller is also necessary to
protect the batteries from overcharging, which can reduce their lives. The diagram below
shows the configuration of a typical solar system.
PV Modules Charge Regulator Battery System Inverter
Fans DC motors Non-critical DC loads Critical Load High Current AC Loads
Table 4.3 below shows the UCE for a SHS installed at each house without the need
for extending wires.
Table 4.3: Unified Cost of Electricity for SHS
Per family Energy Demand per day. 0.41 kWh/D Autonomy of batteries 3.00 days
Peak demand of the household 0.071 kW Depth of Discharge 60.00%
Daily Solar Energy 4.2 kWh/m^2 Battery Safety Factor 1.3
D.S.E. Factor 0.65 Required capacity of batteries 2.665 kWh
PV system efficiency 10% Battery price/kwh $165 $/kWh
Safety factor for peak demand: 1.3 Price for batteries $440 USD
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 24

Peak Wattage** 200 W(p) Life of the batteries 40,000 hours

PV system cost: $6 $/W Maintenance/year is assumed 5% of I.C. $22 $/year
Cost of PV panels $1,200 USD Labor per year with one person 1/30 time: $0 $/year
Required Area 1.50 m^2 Interest rate for capital 10.00%
Project Duration 20 years Inverter $30.00 USD

Year Present Value of battery replacement* Total Initial Cost $2,141 USD
5 $249.51 Annuity $251 USD/year
10 $141.58 Total yearly cost $273 USD/year
15 $80.34 UCE $1.93 USD/kWh
*Batteries Replaced every 5 years **Rounded to nearest 100W

Another alternative with solar electric is to have a central generation scheme and extend
wires to each household, however, it is clear that the cost of SHS is much higher than the
grid and extending wires would make more sense if it was for the grid and not an individual
generation system.
A SHS system does have a few advantages including: high reliability and service life
(panels), no fuel required, they are modular, and there are no harmful pollutants emitted
from use. But the disadvantages are also numerous including: higher cost per kWh than
alternatives, batteries need to be replaced every 3-5 years, high impacts other than use, and
the batteries need regular maintenance and care.
The impacts due to photovoltaic panels are related to the production, construction and
decommissioning stages (Baumann and Hill, 1994 as cited in OECD, 1998). A life cycle
assessment of renewable energies (OECD, 1998) reveals the PV systems have the highest
emissions among the renewable energy alternatives as shown in table 4.4.
Table 4.4: Life cycle emissions of different generation schemes.

Biomass Hydro PV Solar Wind Coal Oil Gas

Current Large Systems Thermal Best Best CCGT
Practice (g/KWh) Practice Practice
(g/KWh) (g/KWh) (g/KWh) (g/KWh) (g/KWh) (g/KWh) (g/KWh)
CO2 17-27 3.6-11.6 98-167 26-38 7-9 955 818 430

SO2 0.07-0.16 0.009-0.024 0.20-0.34 0.13-0.27 0.02-0.09 11.8 14.2 -

NOx 1.1-2.5 0.003-0.006 0.18-0.30 0.06-0.13 0.02-0.06 4.3 4.0 0.5
Source: OECD, 1998.

4.1.3 Wind
Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable energy technologies in the
world. From 1999 to 2000 14.6% more installed wind electricity generation capacity was
brought on line and that figure is projected to grow even more throughout the next years
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 25

(BTM Consult, 2001). It is important to mention, however, that the rapid growth in the
wind energy industry is related to large wind farms generating electricity and the cases here
refer to small scale applications. Wind can be used to generate electrical energy or
mechanical energy for water pumping. The two cases are very distinct with the only
aspects in common being the wind and the blade design. Electrical energy from wind is
discussed here and water pumping is discussed in the section on water.
For the initial feasibility study here, only average monthly wind speeds for the last
30 years are available and the information is from the airport in Latacunga several km away
(DAC, 2002). There is not enough information to make a Weibull characterization but a
rough calculation can be made as to how much wind energy is available. The average of all
of the months in the 30 years is 10 kt or 5.1 m/s.
Table 4.5: Energy generated for 6 m/s wind all year round with different diameter rotors.
Diameter [m] hours/day hours/year Wind Power [W] Electrical [W] Energy [Wh/year]
0.25 24 8760 6.626 0.994 8708
0.5 24 8760 26.507 3.976 34830
0.75 24 8760 59.641 8.946 78368
1 24 8760 106.029 15.904 139322
1.2 24 8760 152.681 22.902 200623
1.5 24 8760 238.564 35.785 313474
1.75 24 8760 324.713 48.707 426673
2 24 8760 424.115 63.617 557287
2.25 24 8760 536.770 80.516 705316
2.5 24 8760 662.679 99.402 870760

The table above shows the energy generated per year in Wh given a continuous
wind condition of 6 m/s but this is definitely a conservative estimate since the maximum
wind was 19 m/s and every year there are winds of at least 15 m/s. Since the wind power
available increases to the third power with wind velocity (i.e. Velocity3) the amount of
energy is much greater in periods when wind is greater than 5 m/s. That is why a value of 6
m/s was used in the calculation instead of 5.1 m/s. If this option is chosen, a more
complete analysis of the wind in the area will be needed.
Table 4.6: UCE for Wind Energy using a turbine with a 1.2m diameter rotor and average 6m/s wind speed.
Per family Energy Demand per day. 0.41 kWh/D Autonomy of batteries 3.00 days
Peak demand of the household 0.071 kW Depth of Discharge 60.00%
Daily Wind Energy @ 1.2m diam 3664 Wh/day Battery Safety Factor 1.3
Wind System Efficiency 15% Required capacity of batteries 2.665 kWh
Wind Energy from Turbine 550 Wh/day Battery price/kwh $165 $/kWh
Wind Generator Cost** $590 USD Price for batteries $440 USD
Inverter $30.00 USD Life of the batteries 40,000 hours
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 26

Interest rate for capital 10.00% Maintenance/year is assumed 5% of I.C. $22 $/year
Project Duration 20 years Labor per year with one person 1/30 time: $0 $/year

Year Present Value of battery replacement* Total Initial Cost $1,607.56 USD
5 $273.03 Annuity $189 USD/year
10 $169.53 Total yearly cost $211 USD/year
15 $105.27 UCE $1.49 USD/kWh
*Batteries Replaced every 5 years **Southwest Windpower AIR403 (Alternative Energy, 2001)
From the analysis in the table above the UCE is about 1.50USD/kWh, however, it is
important to note that over 60% of the initial cost is attributable to the battery system.
Without batteries, such a system would have a UCE of 0.65 USD/kWh. Unless there was a
grid available, a wind system without batteries would be highly unreliable. Because of the
low cost of wind energy and the economies of scale it may be possible, in the case of grid
extension, to sell energy to the grid as a business opportunity (see Group Project: Baldeon,
Welty, Romero, Jacome).

4.1.4 Fuel Cells

Fuel cells have grown considerably in availability over the last few years and they
are expected to continue to grow. According to Allied Business Intelligence, global fuel
cell generating capacity will grow from 45 MW in 2002 to 16,000 MW in 2012 at a
moderate rate of introduction and for an aggressive growth, it will be 27,000 MW in 2012
(Allied Business Intelligence, 2002). Once these technologies have been proven in
developed nations, there will be more possibilities for their use in developing nations in
rural electrification projects provided the fuel is readily available.
A recent end-consumer product introduced to the market in the last few months is
the Coleman AirGen which uses hydrogen to produce water, electricity and heat. The
system sells for $5995 and has a generating capacity of 1kW (, 2003).
The unit provides computer grade electricity and runs for as long as there is fuel. The
reliability of the system is unknown but is suspect due to an internal lead acid battery.
Another factor in reliability is that if high purity hydrogen is not delivered, then the
catalysts will be poisoned shortening life or requiring high level maintenance. Therefore a
critical issue is getting a reformer that can reform locally available fuels such as producer
gas or LPG. Osaka Gas is planning to release its first fuel processor for fuel cells in the
summer of 2003 and claims it will be economical (Osaka Gas, 2003).
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 27

A quick analysis of this alternative for distributed generation shows that the UCE is
on the order of $5.50 US/kWh mainly due to the fact that the only available technology
comes in units of 1kW and this is much too large for the individual houses in question.
However, recent work to make fuel cells applicable for battery replacement in a number of
consumer goods has yielded some small scale (25W) direct methanol fuel cells
(, 2003) (see section 4.7 for more info).
With currently available technology, in order to make this alternative realistic, the
whole community would have to be served by one unit in which case the UCE drops to
$0.41 US/kWh as shown in the table below. But that figure does not include the reformer,
nor does it include the system to distribute the electricity to different houses.
Table 4.7: UCE for AirGen Fuel Cell not including cost of reformer or distribution system.
Per family Energy Demand per day. 8.2 kWh/D Required capacity of fuel cell 1 kW
Peak demand of the household 1 kW Price for this fuel cell $5,995
Heating Value of Methane 54000 kJ/kg Life of the fuel cell 170,000 hours
PEM fuel cell with efficiency of: 40% Maintenance/year is assumed 3% of I.C. $180 $/year
PEMFC Price $/kW: $5,995 $/kW Labor per year with one person 1/30 time: $0 $/year
Safety factor for peak demand: 1 Other unforeseen costs: $100 $/year
Interest rate for capital 10.00% Project Duration 20 years
Density of Methane 0.75 kg/m^3 Methane costs $0.14 USD/m^3
Regular overhaul every 5 years $600 Inverter $30.00 USD

Year Present Value of overhaul Fuel Consumption/year (345 days) Total Initial Cost $6,773 USD
5 $372.55 29520 kJ/D Annuity $795 USD/year
10 $231.33 1.37 kg/D Yearly fuel cost $88 USD/year
15 $143.64 471.5 kg/year Total yearly cost $1,163 USD/year
UCE $0.41 USD/kWh

The main issues for applying this technology are fuel supply, fuel purity, reliability,
and technological complexity. The fuels available in the area are LPG (distribution
network) and biomass which can be gasified to make producer gas.
It is also important to note that in table 4.7 the methane cost was taken at
$3.95/thousand cubic feet ($139/thousand cubic meters), which was the cost of natural gas
in the United States in 2000 (Todaro, 2000). At 20ºC and 1 atm, the specific volume of
methane is 1.5 m3/kg. A quick calculation yields a price of USD 0.21/kg for natural gas in
the US. In Ecuador, for example, the cost of LPG, which could also be reformed to extract
the hydrogen for use in fuel cells, is subsidized with a consumer price of 0.11USD/kg
(Ministerio de Energía y Minas, 2002). The yearly cost of fuel in the calculations in table
4.7 is only 7.5% of the total yearly cost making this system much less susceptible to the
volatility of fossil fuel prices than a diesel generator system.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 28

Despite some of the drawbacks, this technology should not be overlooked due to its
versatility in meeting water needs, heating needs, and electricity needs. The two former
issues will be discussed in later sections.

4.1.5 Diesel Generator

Diesel generators have been used for decades in electrification for remote areas.
While the technology is well developed and relatively inexpensive, there are a number of
drawbacks including pollution of air, water and soils. Noise pollution is another
consideration and due to its high power/weight ratio, there aren‟t any of these generators
available in the 100W range as would be required for individual use. Therefore the result
would be a noisy, polluting machine in the close vicinity of the houses which would have a
questionable effect on quality of life. Additionally, diesel generators are not so inexpensive
from an operation point of view since the diesel is rather expensive.
Table 4.8: UCE for diesel generator not including distribution system cost.
Total Energy Demand per day 8.2 kWh/D Required capacity of gen-set 1 kW
Peak demand for the community 0.95 kW Price for this gen-set $468
Heating Value of Diesel 42000 kJ/kg Life of the gen-set 170,000 hours
Gen-Set with efficiency of: 12.00% Maintenance/year is assumed 5% of I.C. $23 $/year
Gen-set $/kW system cost:* $468 $/kW Labor per year with one person 1/4 time: $200 $/year
Safety factor for peak demand: 1.1 Other unforeseen costs: $20 $/year
Interest rate for capital 10.00% Project Duration 20 years
Conversion kg/gal of diesel 3.30 kg/gal Diesel $1.20 USD/gal
Regular overhaul every 5 years $250

Year Present Value of overhaul Fuel Consumption/year (345 days) Total Initial Cost $779 USD
5 $155.23 29520 kJ/D Annuity $104 USD/year
10 $96.39 5.86 kg/D Yearly fuel cost $735 USD/year
15 $59.85 2020.7143 kg/year Total yearly cost $1,083 USD/year
* Yamaha EF-1000 (USA Light & Electric, 2003) UCE $0.38 USD/kWh

From table 4.8 it is clear that diesel generation has a very low initial cost. The initial
cost of $468 US is that of a Yamaha EF-1000 1kW generator (USA Light and Electric,
2003). However, the yearly fuel cost is much greater than the initial cost of the equipment.
The cost of fuel is greater than that in Latacunga since it has to be transported so far.
From an environmental perspective, there are a number of risks introduced with the
transportation of fuel to the area. Additionally, it can be seen in the life cycle emission
table 4.4 that electricity generation from oil releases among the highest amounts of sulfur
dioxide, NOx, and carbon dioxide.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 29

4.1.6 Pedal Generator for Lighting

In the case that only electricity for lighting is required and electricity for other
appliances is not required, a system such as the system used in the Light Up the World –
Nepal Light Project could be used. The idea behind this project is to use White Light
Emitting Diodes (WLED) to light up a home. The WLEDs have a very low energy
consumption and emit white light. They require 12 Volt DC, are extremely rugged and
typically have a Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) of 100,000 hours compared to
1,000 hours for an incandescent bulb (Irvine-Halliday, et al, 2000). The luminous efficacy
of the WLED is 15-20 lm/W whereas for an incandescent light it is about 10-20 lm/W.
Twelve WLEDs operate on 1 W and according to Irvine et al (2000), 9 WLEDs could light
up a Nepali rural home to an acceptable level.
With such a low energy requirement for lighting, human powered systems can be
considered. The Nepal Light Project uses pedal generators to charge 12 Volt batteries that
in turn provide the energy for the lighting system. The costs are still high but are projected
to come down in the next few years since the technology is still in its early stages. The
system could eventually offer energy efficient solutions to grid tied homes as well as off-
grid homes.
However, lighting alone will only solve a small fraction of the energy needs of the
community and will offset a negligible amount of the indoor air pollutants found in the
indoor air pollution study done in Culatipo (Welty et. al, 2003).

4.1.7 Summary of Electrification Options

The above discussion is by no means a comprehensive list of available technologies
but it does include all of the technologies thought to be adequate for this application. For
example, micro-hydro was not considered due to lack of water ways and micro-turbines
were not considered because the smallest model available is 30 kW (Globalmicroturbine,
2003). Nor is the discussion a complete analysis of the options considered but it is an
adequate coverage in order to communicate advantages and disadvantages to the
community members so that they can have adequate information to make a decision about
which method they would like to pursue.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 30

Table 4.9: Comparison of alternatives in terms of cost and reliability.

UCE Double Demand 10x demand Reliability
Grid 0.63 0.35 0.13 +
Solar/battery 1.93 1.74 1.73 +
Wind/battery 1.49 1.23 1.12 0
Fuel Cell 0.41 + dist 0.41 + dist -- ?
Diesel Generator 0.38 + dist. 0.38 + dist. -- 0

Table 4.9 is a decision matrix that was presented to the community members. It is
clear that grid electricity has the most significant economies of scale since no further
investment is required to increase energy supply within the range that the community is
expected to demand. All of the other alternatives require further investment to increase to
the next level of demand. Additionally, the grid is the cheapest of all of the technologies
considering the distribution networks required by the fuel cell and diesel generation
systems. Following is another table comparing some other aspects of each technology.
Table 4.10: Comparison of alternatives in terms of impacts, complexity, and fuel. *Life-cycle impact.
Fuel Technological Visual Impact Environmental Health or Safety Risk
Import Complexity 1-10 Impact *
Grid No 1 High Medium Shock
Solar/battery No 4 Low Medium-Low Chemicals, Shock
Wind/battery No 4 Medium Low Chemicals, Shock
Fuel Cell Yes 6 High w/ dist Medium Shock, Chemicals
Diesel Generator Yes 3 High w/ dist High Burn, Shock, Chemicals

The technological complexity is an estimated figure based on the level of technical

knowledge required to operate the different systems. Although the diesel generation
system has a rather high technological complexity, it may not be important since diesel
engines are well known throughout the world and there may be a community member
competent in the subject matter. The grid was given a low technological complexity
because any management and maintenance of the system would necessarily have to be
carried out by the utility.
The visual impact was estimated based on the change in the appearance of the
community. The grid was estimated to be the highest since visible poles and wires will
alter the landscape. Any central generation system that requires wires will have a similar
effect. The wind turbines on the homes could change the look of the community but only
slightly, while the solar panels will have a negligible effect on the landscape.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 31

The environmental impact was estimated based on life cycle emissions including
disposal problems with lead acid batteries. As discussed in the grid section, a significant
amount of emissions could be generated from grid electricity but not nearly as much as
diesel. Diesel generators are inefficient and use diesel, while fuel cells are more efficient
and use gas – leading to lower emissions. The solar system has a higher life cycle emission
than wind (see table 4.4) but they are equivalent in problems with the disposal of batteries.
According to Manuel Tigasi (2003), the surrounding community households that
have been electrified pay from $2 to $5 monthly for electric service. At the indicated
energy consumption of 410Wh/day and the UCE of grid electricity at 0.63$/kWh, a
household monthly bill would be roughly $7.50. Without an industry in the area to
consume energy and contribute to the payment on the annuity, electric prices may be too
high for the consumers. Alternatively, if the infrastructure is built using a grant without the
requirement of recovering costs the electricity will become very affordable. But that mode
of development isn‟t considered easily replicable throughout the region and limits funding
Even though the visual impact of the grid is high and its environmental impact is
medium, from a technical and economic perspective it seems to be the best alternative. The
community was questioned as to their concern about visual impact and they suggested it
was not important to them.

4.2 Domestic Water

In establishing the demand of water for constructing water infrastructure, it is
common to project the population increase in the area over the project duration (20 years in
this case). However, for the case at hand there are too many factors and the information is
insufficient. For the complete design, provided the community opts for such a service,
more information will have to be obtained including historical records, migration patterns,
birth and death rates and so on.
The consumption in North American cities is as shown in the table below. The
figure given by Reynolds and Richards (1996), is that between 60 and 265 liters per capita
per day are used for domestic purposes. Since the rural communities have a much lower
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 32

water consumption than people in cities, the lower value for city consumption is used and is
divided into activities in the following table.
Table 4.11: Comparing city water consumption with Culatipo water consumption.
Percentage Amount at 60 l/cap-day Estimated Culatipo Consumption
Flushing Toilets 41% 24.6 l 0l
Washing & Bathing 37% 22.2 l 2l
Kitchen Use 6% 3.6 l 2l
Drinking Water 5% 3.0 l 2l
Washing Clothes 4% 2.4 l 0.5 l
Household Cleaning 3% 1.8 l 0.5 l
Watering lawns + Gardens 3% 1.8 l 0l
Washing Cars 1% 0.6 l 0l
Source: Percentages from (Durfor and Becker, 1964 as cited in Reynolds and Richards, 1996).

There are no flush toilets in the community, no plumbing for bathing, no cars, no
system for watering gardens and most washing and bathing is done in a nearby stream.
According to this quick analysis, the estimated water consumption in Culatipo is about 7
The water availability from the nearby springs is 0.3 lts/sec from the top aquifer and
0.4 lts/sec from the lower aquifer (UNORIG, 1999). For the upper aquifer this is
equivalent to 25,920 lts/day and the lower aquifer has a yield of about 34,650 lts/day. If the
flow estimates are approximately accurate, it means that the aquifers could supply Culatipo
and the adjacent Chilcanchic community without any problem. The total number of people
is approximately 170 in both communities which would generate a demand of only 1750
lts/day at current consumption levels with a Safety Factor of 1.5. However, with available
water, demand will certainly increase but not more than a North American city with 60
l/cap-day. At that rate of consumption, the total demand from the aquifer would be 15,000
lts/day, which could be satisfied with only one of the aquifers leaving the other for
irrigation of selected fields or supply to other communities or to maintain the existing
ecosystem down stream intact.
For the purposes of this preliminary feasibility study, a demand of 40 l/cap-day,
based on field experience (Thomas, 1994), with a population of 250 people will be used.
This is equivalent to 10,000 liters/day.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 33

4.2.1 Pumping water from Springs

The water from the springs is sufficient to meet the needs of Culatipo and
Chilcanchi. Both of these communities are already connected to a gravity driven water
supply system. There are three main problems with the current system (1) there are a
number of households higher in elevation than the spring making supply impossible by
gravity, (2) according to Manuel Tigasi (Tigasi, 2002) the piping system and tank are
insufficient for the number of people the system has grown to supply making water
availability irregular, (3) the tank is cracked and leaks heavily and the piping system is
unearthed in places with leaks along the route. In order to improve the system, the tank
leaks would have to be fixed or a new tank bought, and a pumping system would have to be
implemented. New tubing may also be required in places.
Figure 4.3: Picture of damage and unearthed tubing system and cracked cement tank.

A gravity flow tank is the best domestic water supply system where it is possible
(Backwoods Solar Electric Systems, 1999) and it is certainly feasible in this area where the
spring is on the slope of a mountain and all of the community houses are much lower than
the top of the mountain. There are a number of methods for pumping water from the tank at
the spring to the upper storage tank. The method selected will depend largely on the
electrification scheme selected. If a distributed system is chosen, then there are four
options including: (1) solar-electric pump, (2) wind-electric pump, (3) wind-mechanical
pump, and (4) wind-airlift pump. If it is feasible to supply grid electricity to the tank at the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 34

spring, then an AC electric pump can be used. The wind and solar options become much
more economically feasible with a water storage system because no batteries are required.
The tubing system will have to be underground due to occasional freezing
temperatures (León-Yánez, 2000) and mostly local labor could be used to bury the tubing.
The community layout and proposed water tubing configuration are shown in the map in
Appendix 3 and the calculation of required tubing is shown in Appendix 4. According to
the calculations, about 3500 meters of tubing will be required just for Culatipo. According
to Hidroasist in Quito, 6 meters of 50mm diameter tubing costs US$6.09 and 6 meters of
20mm diameter tubing costs US$2.19. The cost of tubing is approximately US$1,700.
The tank design should have a 2 day autonomy period for periods of lower spring
flow. Therefore the tank should be a tank capable of holding 20,000 liters or 20 cubic
meters of water which is equivalent to about 5,300 gallons. There are a number of options
for building such a tank including polyethylene tanks and ferro-cement tanks. The price of
a polyethylene tank of 5000 gallons is approximately $2100 and would just need to be
transported to the site and installed (, 2003). For a ferro-cement tank, the
tank must be built on site. A similar size tank was designed for South African school for
about 16,000 Rand which was equivalent to about $2200 at the time (AWARD, 2001)
including $5/day wage to community workers. This method will generate local
employment and use local resources and it will also help develop local expertise for similar
projects in the area, however care must be taken in quality control so the new construction
technology does not get a bad reputation. There are a number of complete guides that will
help in designing and building the cement tank including Schatzbergs‟ (1991) work, Build
your own Water Tank . The current tank at the spring may be able to be upgraded just by
putting a tank liner in. The figure below shows the system using a water storage tank.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 35

Figure 4.4: Storage Tank Configuration for Water Supply

Since a water storage system is used, the pump can be designed to a smaller
capacity than that required for peak demand. The pump should be sufficient to pump
10,000 liters/day to the upper tank at an elevation of 200 meters above the upper aquifer
(see Appendix 3). The energy required per day to do this is calculated and shown in
Appendix 5. It is clear that with a 50 mm tube and continuous flow throughout the day, the
pressure drop becomes negligible. Twenty mm tubing can be used for supply to the
community. The energy required for pumping per day is 19.6 MJ. Grid Electricity Available

A Dankoff Solar Ram pump with a cost of $2200 (Solar-Electric, 2003) will be used
for all of the analysis of electric motor pumping to make the comparisons possible. While
it may be possible to obtain a lower cost AC pump for grid applications, the Solar Ram
pump used here is among the most efficient in its class – yielding lower operational costs.
According to the technical specifications, the Solar Ram pump is 65% efficient. If it works
continuously throughout the 24 hours of the day, the continuous power required is about
350 W and the continuous pumping requirement is 0.116 l/s. This would be a reasonable
size pump if continuous electricity was provided from the grid. It is likely that this system
would be the most cost effective if the line passed close to the spring and the meter and
transformer were rather inexpensive. However, the electric bill could be high and the
community would need to determine a way to collect the money based on usage.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 36

The technical specifications and prices for the pumps, wind-electric turbines, and
solar panels were obtained from Backwoods Solar Electric Systems, 1999, Alternative
Energy 2000 –2001 Design Guide & Catalog, and Solar-Electric, 2003 webpage.
Table 4.12: Cost per cubic meter of water with grid electricity and efficient pump
Water Demand 10000 lts/day Line from Grid 100 USD
Aquifer 1 25920 lts/day Meter**** 45 USD
StorageTank 20000 lts/day Diaphragm Pump* $2,200.00 USD
Storage Tank 2200 USD Elec. Rate** $0.29 $/kWh
Tubing 1700 USD Maintenance*** $22.00 $/year
Consumption@65% eff 8.40 kWh/day Other Costs $20.00 USD/year
Discount Rate 10.00% Project Duration 20 years
Pump Efficiency 65.00%
Total Initial Cost $6,245.00 USD Yearly Electric Bill $1,367.91 USD/year
Annuity $734 UDS/year Total Yearly Cost $2,143.44 USD/year
Cost/Cubic Meter $0.59 USD/m3
*Dankoff Solar Ram Surface Pump, 20+ year life, 2 to 6 year owner performed maintenance
**Electric rate at double community consumption ***3% of Initial Cost of Pump every three years
****AGB Meter from

From the table it is clear that the majority of the yearly cost is due to paying the
electric bill and not from the annuity (capital + interest) on the initial investment. Under
the grid scheme, as community consumption went up, the UCE would drop significantly as
discussed in the grid electrification scheme and the cost per cubic meter of this method of
pumping would drop. Additionally, if the capital for the grid was supplied as a grant rather
than as a loan that had to be repaid, the UCE would be much lower at the utility cost rates. Solar Electric Pump

A solar-electric pump configuration has the same options as the grid tied pump
discussed above except that these pumps can be run by a DC motor powered by
photovoltaic panels. AC motors can also be used with solar panels but they require the
extra expense of an inverter, losses in the inverter and a less efficient pump which result in
much higher expenditures on solar panels. For this case, the same pump is used as in the
grid case discussed above.
Table 4.13: Cost per cubic meter of water under the direct solar pumping scheme.
Water Demand 10000 lts/day PV panel efficiency 13%
Aquifer 1 25920 lts/day Recommended Safety Factor 1.25
StorageTank 20000 lts/day Peak Wattage 2917 W(p)
Storage Tank 2200 USD PV Panel Cost** $17,500.00 USD
Tubing 1700 USD Required Area 22.44 m^2
Consumption@65% eff 8.40 kWh/day Diaphragm Pump* $2,200.00 USD
Discount Rate 10.00% Elec. Rate $0.00 $/kWh
Daily Solar Energy 4.5 kWh/m^2 Maintenance*** $22.00 $/year
D.S.E. Factor 0.8 Other Costs $20.00 USD/year
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 37

Pump Efficiency 65% Project Duration 20 years

Total Initial Cost $23,600.00 USD Yearly Electric Bill $0.00 USD/year
Annuity $2,772 UDS/year Total Yearly Cost $2,814.05 USD/year
Cost/Cubic Meter $0.77 USD/m3
*Dankoff Solar Ram Surface Pump, 20+ year life, 2 to 6 year owner performed maintenance
**PV Cost at $6/W ***3% of Initial Cost of Pump every three years

This option is more expensive than the grid option mainly because the panels have
to be sized to capture enough energy during daytime hours. It is clear in this case that the
annuity on the initial investment is by far the largest portion of the yearly cost. Wind Electric Pump

Wind energy can be used to pump water using the same pump as used in the solar-
electric pumping configuration. One advantage of wind turbines over solar panels is that if
the area has relatively constant wind, the pump can work overnight as well as during the
day making the maximum capacity much lower. The wind speed used here is the same as
discussed in the wind electrification scheme discussed above.
Table 4.14: Cost per Cubic Meter of water using a wind-electric pumping scheme.
Water Demand 10000 lts/day Wind Energy @4.7m diam 56,200 Wh/D
Aquifer 1 25920 lts/day Wind Energy from Turbine 8.43 kWh/D
StorageTank 20000 lts/day Wind Turbine Cost**** $5,000.00 USD
Storage Tank 2200 USD AC Pump* $2,200.00 USD
Tubing 1700 USD Elec. Rate $0.00 $/kWh
Consumption@65% eff 8.40 kWh/day Maintenance*** $216.00 $/year
Discount Rate 10.00% Other Costs $20.00 USD/year
Av. Wind Speed** 6 m/s Project Duration 20 years
Turbine Efficiency 15%
Year Overhaul Total Initial Cost $12,968.78 USD
5 931.38 Annuity $1,523 UDS/year
10 578.31 Yearly Electric Bill $0.00 USD/year
15 359.09 Total Yearly Cost $1,759.31 USD/year
Cost/Cubic Meter $0.48 USD/m3
*Dankoff Solar Ram Surface Pump, 20+ year life, 2 to 6 year owner performed maintenance
**Wind speed taken as discussed in Wind Electrification Section ***2% of Initial Cost of Pump and Turbine every year
****Southwest WindPower Whisper Wind 175 (Alternative Energy, 2001)

Compared to the previous two options, this pumping scheme is the most economical
with the majority of the annual payments being attributable to the annuity on the initial
investment. One disadvantage of this scheme is that the wind turbine will probably need
periodic overhauls during the 20 year project life.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 38 Wind Mechanical Pump

While the previous three water pumping schemes have to do with an electric pump,
there is a way to pump water with wind power without using any electricity. This method
has been in use for centuries but there are modern models available that can do the job as
well as an electric pump.
Table 4.15: Cost per cubic meter of water using a mechanical pump powered by wind energy.
Water Demand 10000 lts/day Wind Pump 11% wind-pump
Aquifer 1 25920 lts/day Wind Energy @4.5m diam 50000 Wh/D
StorageTank 20000 lts/day Pump Energy from Turbine 5.50 kWh/D
Storage Tank 2200 USD Wind Turbine Cost $5,500.00 USD
Tubing 1700 USD Maintenance*** $110.00 $/year
Consumption 5.448 kWh/day Other Costs $20.00 USD/year
Discount Rate 10.00% Project Duration 20 years
Av. Wind Speed** 6 m/s
Total Initial Cost $9,400.00 USD Total Yearly Cost $1,234.12 USD/year
Annuity $1,104 UDS/year Cost/Cubic Meter $0.34 USD/m3
**Wind speed taken as discussed in Wind Electrification Section ***2% of Initial Cost every year

The cost when using this scheme is shown in Table 4.15 and comes to be 0.34
USD/m3. This is by far the least expensive pumping scheme compared to the previous
three, however the yearly maintenance could be troublesome for the community and would
certainly require training and proper management. The wind pump cost used in the
analysis is taken from an estimate given by Dividec, a supplier of these windmills in
Ecuador (see Appendix 1 for estimate). The cost includes transportation, installation and
tax and represents the most accurate price of all of the analysis done. Wind Airlift Pump

The Wind Powered Airlift Pump is a type of water pumping windmill that uses the
mechanical energy from the wind mill to compress air (Airlift Technologies, 2003). The
air is then used to provide the pressure against the water required for pumping action. A
side-effect of this method is the aeration of the water which helps in cases where the
dissolved oxygen in the water is low. However, since the water being used in this
application is spring water and relatively pure, this is not considered an advantage.
Another advantage of the system is that the wind mill does not have to be placed
directly over the well or tank so a better siting in terms of wind can be used. The system
consists of the AIRLIFT Windmill which is the blades, rotor and mechanical pump, the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 39

airline, a stauffer positive pump and a tower. The stauffer positive pump is used when
insufficient submergence of the pump tubes is available (50% of height submergence is
recommended for 100m heads).
Table 4.16: Cost per cubic meter of water using an airlift pump.
Water Demand 10000 lts/day Wind Pump 10% wind-pump
Aquifer 1 25920 lts/day Wind Energy @4.7m diam 55000 Wh/D
StorageTank 20000 lts/day Pump Energy from blades 5.50 kWh/D
Storage Tank 2200 USD Airlift Pump w/ Acc. $4,820.00 USD
Tubing 1700 USD Maintenance*** $96.40 $/year
Consumption 5.448 kWh/day Other Costs $20.00 USD/year
Discount Rate 10.00% Project Duration 20 years
Av. Wind Speed** 6 m/s
Total Initial Cost $8,720.00 USD Total Yearly Cost $1,140.65 USD/year
Annuity $1,024 UDS/year Cost/Cubic Meter $0.31 USD/m3
**Wind speed taken as discussed in Wind Electrification Section ***2% of Initial Cost every year

This option is not well known in the area and no local suppliers could be found.
Additionally, by the time transportation and installation is included, it would not be more
economically feasible than the wind mechanical pump.

4.2.2 Rain Water Harvesting

Rain water harvesting “is the gathering and storage of water running off surfaces on
which rain has fallen directly” (Kerr, 1989, pg. 72). Corrugated roof panels could be used
to catch water and divert it to gutters that then discharge the water into a tank. The capital
and energy would be saved in eliminating the pumping requirement but then tanks and
corrugated roof panels would need to be purchased for each house. A 60 gallon barrel
specifically designed for rainwater harvesting costs about $90 (Real Goods, 2001). The
corrugated roof panels are a common construction material in the area and could be
incorporated on to roofs that do not already have them.
However, even with this information, it is very difficult to design an adequate rain
harvesting system in the páramo. The precipitation patterns in the Andes can be very
complicated with significant differences with changes in elevation, orientation of the
mountains and valleys (Rundel, 1994 as cited in León-Yánez, 2000). The houses just in the
community of Culatipo range in 300m differences in altitude and have very different
positions with respect to mountains and valleys. Additionally, the climate and precipitation
of the Andean highlands are affected significantly by the Niño and Niña currents changing
rain patterns drastically from year to year. Even if the precipitation patterns were
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 40

consistent, the community members suggested that there are periods of up to four months
without any significant precipitation. This would require a storage system of 20,000 liters
for each 4 person home at the consumption levels indicated. This cost could not be
At lower consumption levels these kinds of systems could be implemented but with
caution and possibly trying a pilot system on a few houses before widespread
implementation. Additionally, there are good reasons to provide spring water because it is
usually safe to drink having been filtered by the aquifer (Stern, 1982). If a storage tank and
collection system was used at each house, there would be numerous opportunities for the
introduction of pathogens into the water system.

4.2.3 Other Methods of Obtaining Domestic Water

The discussion above covers some of the most feasible technologies available for
pumping the water from the nearby spring and a rain water harvesting system. The only
other water sources are humidity in the air, the river in a very deep ravine, and chemical
processes such as those that occur in a fuel cell.
In order to capture the water in the air, a large surface area must be maintained
below the dew point temperature of the air. This would require a refrigeration system and
the cooling load would be the latent heat of vaporization of the amount of water to be
captured and the heat transfer losses to the air that do not contribute any water to the
system. Even if the systems are distributed at the different homes a quick calculation of the
energy to condense 10,000 liters/day can reveal whether this is a feasible option or not.
The amount of energy required to condense that amount of water at 20ºC is roughly 374
MJ which is on the order of 19 times the energy required for pumping the water from the
spring. This expenditure of energy cannot be justified since there is a more effective
alternative and no further meteorological analysis is necessary.
Rio Toachi flows in a deep ravine nearby but in order to use this source for the
community in question, the water would have to be pumped about 1 kilometer horizontally
and about 400 meters vertically. The amount of energy required to make this option
feasible considering just the vertical pumping distance is roughly 2 times the pumping
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 41

scheme using the spring and this does not include the pressure drop in the line which would
be at least 15 times that required for the spring scheme. Not only the energy requirements,
but the labor of installing tubing up a steep cliff for 400 meters makes this option too
daunting of a task when a much simpler option exists. This option should only be
considered if the springs prove to be inadequate to supply the community or large scale
irrigation is undertaken.
Finally, the water exhaust from a proton exchange membrane (PEM) or solid oxide
fuel cell (SOFC) can be harnessed for domestic water supply. While this may be a viable
option for cases of high electricity demand, for the levels used in the community, very little
water would be generated (Welty, 2002).

4.2.4 Summary of Domestic Water Supply Options

While a discussion of water uses in the community was given, the final water
consumption was taken to be 40 l/cap-day based on field experience by Thomas (1994).
The water yield from the spring was analyzed based on information reported in the
UNORIG report of 1999. It was determined that the spring would provide plenty of water
for the domestic water needs of the community based on a population of 250 people. For
the final design it would be wise to spend some time analyzing future population growth.
The systems shown in Table 4.17 are the systems that were considered for pumping
water from the spring to a tank at a higher elevation than the highest house in order to
supply home water pressure by gravity.
Table 4.17: Comparison of domestic water supply methods.
System Unit Cost of Reliability Tech. Visual Impact Environmental
Water Complexity Impact
Grid tied pump $0.59/m3 0 5 High Medium
Solar Electric Pump $0.77/m3 0 6 Low Medium
Wind Electric Pump $0.48/m3 0 7 Medium Low
Wind Mech. Pump $0.34/m3 0 2 High Low
Wind Airlift Pump $0.31/m3 0 3 Medium Low

The values for technological complexity are based on the difficulty to repair, operate
and maintain the system. The mechanical and air pump are low on this because
maintenance is just oiling the mechanisms and repair is based on widely spread mechanical
skills. The reliability estimates are based on the number of repairs that may be required in
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 42

the 20 year period. Using the Solar Ram pump, it is assumed that there will be regular
maintenance and repair requirements for the duration of the project based on technical
specifications. The grid and solar options will require little repair while the wind-electric
option may require factory repair in that timeframe. The mechanical and airlift pumps may
need repair but much of it can be done locally or in the surrounding towns.
The visual impact due to the grid would be high because of the lines stretched across
the community and the environmental impact could be medium due to some energy coming
from thermal power plants. The solar electric option would have a low visual impact and a
medium to low environmental impact due to the life cycle emissions of photovoltaics. The
Wind mechanical pump would have the highest visual impact of the three wind
technologies due to its larger and more bulky appearance. All three wind technologies
would have a low environmental impact.
While rain water collection is a feasible option for domestic water supply, more study
is needed on the rain availability. Additionally, a treatment system will be needed at each
home and care must be taken so that stagnant water is not left in the tanks with the users
dipping dirty hands or cups into the tank (Boeheme, 2003).
Other water supply options considered were condensation of water vapor in the air,
pumping the water from the ravine and using water from fuel cells. Condensation is
considered to take too much energy, pumping water from the ravine is considered to be too
difficult and time consuming, and the water from fuel cells would be insufficient
considering energy consumption levels in the community.

4.3 Irrigation & Wetlands

While irrigation was a service that was asked for by the community members in early
meetings, it is clear that all of the fields in the area cannot be served by the two springs. To
apply all of the water from the springs for irrigation would have at least two negative
effects (1) the ecosystems that depend on the spring water for continuation would be
changed potentially leading to the extinction of some species in the area, (2) there would be
an inequality in access to resources created between the community members, which is one
of the pitfalls this project will specifically seek to avoid. Nieto & Estrella (2001) indicate
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 43

that it is in the ravines and steep cliffs that the remaining biodiversity of the area has
survived. To alter the ecosystem would accelerate the extinction rate.
Another option for irrigation is pumping the water from Rio Toachi but this option
will not be included in this project due to the extensive energy and labor requirements to
complete such a project.
There is no wastewater system proposed under this plan due to the fact that the
wastewater will be grey water and not sewage due to the presence of latrines near all of the
homes (UNORIG, 1999). If this water will not be contaminated by fecal coliforms or other
chemicals it can be applied directly to the fields surrounding the homes as irrigation water.
According to Manuel Tigasi, this is the way that wastewater from the kitchen and washing
is currently disposed of (Boehme, 2003). If the communities habits of water use are not
changed, wastewater can continue to be disposed of in that manner. This possibility would
allow the community members to maintain personal gardens year round to ensure an
adequate food supply for their families even if they are unable to sell products at the market
in Guangaje.

4.4 Home Heating

Despite the fact that the community of Culatipo is on the order of 100 km south of the
equator, its elevation of about 3700 meters above sea level leads to a rather cold climate
with temperatures falling below 0C some evenings and climbing to a maximum of 20 C
during some days (Leon-Yánez, 2000). There are three principal ways to heat the homes
including, (1) passive solar energy, (2) using biomass combustion, and (3) electric base
board heating. All three of these options will be discussed briefly below.

4.4.1 Passive Solar

Solar Thermal Energy is used everywhere on the planet whether it has been
designed for or not. “All houses are solar. The sun shines on almost every home, many
days throughout the year. The question is, to what extent are you utilizing the sunlight?”
(Kachadorian, 1997). One application of solar thermal energy is to use it directly to heat
the homes in the community of Culatipo.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 44

Figure 4.6: Trombe Wall in Northern Hemispheres

Source: Kachadorian, 1997

Figure 4.6 above is a depiction of the Trombe wall, which is a simple solar collector
comprised of a south facing glass wall (in Northern Hemispheres), a blackened wall made
of a material with a high heat storage capacity (concrete), and an air space between them.
The air will circulate passed the warm surface heating up in the process and then naturally
distribute throughout the house by gravity and the change in density with temperature. This
system can be aesthetically unpleasing but the wall can be put horizontally at the floor level
and is called a solar slab and is shown in Figure 4.7. The solar slab acts as both a heat
exchanger and heat storage device that is at floor level.
Figure 4.7: Solar Slab as a heat exchanger and heat storage device

Source: Kachadorian, 1997.

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 45

While the solar slab method may be good for future homes, it is not feasible to
retrofit current homes with this system. It is also important to note that in any home
heating scheme, the key to efficiency is to minimize heat loss by insulating the home well.
Most of the homes in the community use biomass for cooking and decreasing air changes
per hour would increase exposure to harmful air emissions from this activity.
Any activities for home heating with passive solar will have to be applied to each
individual case so no general cost scheme or methods can be defined here.

4.4.2 Clean Biomass

Most of the homes in the area use biomass for cooking and heating. From the
discussion earlier in this report, it is clear that biomass burning has serious health
consequences for the inhabitants of the home. Not only that, there is a problem of resource
availability and much of the biomass in the area has been planted for future harvesting of
fuel wood. Many of these trees were selected not because of their suitability to the area but
because they are fast growing trees and are degrading the soils in the area, reducing
biodiversity, and reducing the hydrologic function of the area (Suárez, 2000) (see section
Despite the problems, there is an improved wood stove design that could reduce
wood consumption and remove indoor air contaminants that is explained in section 4.5.1.
This stove uses a chimney which could be adapted with a heat exchanger surface in order to
heat the home with the exhaust gases (Conway, 2003).

4.4.3 Electric Base Board heaters

Electric base board heaters are rather inexpensive, safe in terms of emissions and
easy to install. However, they require a great deal of electricity and would only be
applicable in the case of grid electrification. A typical heater size available for electric base
board heating is 1000W. If the heater was run for 6 hours a day the energy consumption
would be 6 kWh/day which would increase the energy demand by a factor of 15 in a single
home. If all homes used this method, the UCE for grid electricity would reduce to about
0.08$/kWh making the annuity on the initial cost negligible and the monthly bill for a
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 46

household would increase from $8/month to $16/month. In addition to a higher monthly

bill, the grid lines may increase in cost and depending on the generation capacity of the
local electricity suppliers, the demand may exceed the supply if this heating scheme was
used extensively.

4.4.4 Summary of Home Heating Options

It is not possible to get reasonable cost estimates for the home heating options
discussed above. While solar thermal energy is already used in all of the homes to some
degree, some basic recommendations about building materials & techniques, insulation,
and orientation can be given for future buildings to reduce heating needs or meet all
required heating loads.
From the discussion above it can be concluded that electric heating is not a good
alternative from an economic point of view as well as from a rational energy use point of
view. It is not efficient to use chemical energy to generate thermal energy to generate
electricity to then turn it back into thermal energy. In the case of grid power from
hydroelectric plants it may make more sense but since cooking is done in the house
anyway, most of the heating can come from the stove for less cost to the user. In any case,
this option was presented to the community members for their opinions.
Heat from the combustion of biomass is how the houses are currently heated but this
leads to a number of health problems as discussed in the problems section. Since this
method provides cooking, water heating and space heating it seems to be a good solution if
a cleaner and more efficient method can be established.

4.5 Cooking
Biomass combustion is currently used to cook in the community. Using traditional
stoves with biomass currently provides all of the heating and cooking needs of the
community with the exception of a few families that use LPG stoves. However, the
traditional cook stoves used are highly inefficient and are not ventilated properly leading to
a number of health risks for the community members. One health risk that was identified
as a priority to solve in the UNORIG development plan is respiratory disease (UNORIG,
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 47

1999). Aristanti (1997) identifies two sub groups of respiratory disease that could be
caused by smoke inhalation including ARI and COLD.

4.5.1 Biomass
It is not possible to do an adequate cost analysis for this alternative due to the fact
that a biomass stove would have multiple uses, and it may be manufactured locally with
local materials and it is very difficult to put a price on biomass collected onsite. However,
a good indicator of the initial cost is price of the EcoStove of US$65 discussed below
(PROLEÑA, 2001).
Improved Wood Stoves have been tried in a number of communities with varying
degrees of success (RWEDA, 1993). A study in a Guatemalan village showed that the
Plancha Mejorada reduced CO emissions by a factor of more than 10 in the standardized
water boiling test (WBT) and reduced PM2.5 by a factor of almost 8. However, the
cooking time increased by about 20% and the improved stove was only about 1% more
efficient (McCracken & Smith, 1998). Table 4.18 shows the results of a survey on
different factors of importance in wood stove programs. Increasing the welfare of the poor
is the most important objective in Latin America.
Table 4.18: Survey of importance of objectives in Wood Stove Programs
Objective Latin America West Africa Southeast Asia Total
n=16 n=18 n=12 n=120
Increase fuel efficiency 44% 72% 75% 70%
Reduce smoke emissions 56 67 83 67
Reduce deforestation 56 83 42 54
Save money 37 56 42 49
Improve status of women 56 11 17 33
Increase welfare of the poor 69 17 25 30
Save time 25 44 25 30
Safety 44 11 8 26
Increase environmental awareness 25 39 17 24
Generate income 6 0 33 22
Save fuel in community 31 11 25 19
Skill development 37 6 17 17
Create jobs 6 0 25 17
Community and institutional development 37 neg. 25 16
Prevent soil degradation 19 17 8 15
Others 19 6 8 8
Source: RWEDA, 1993.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 48

It appears that in Latin America, generating income and creating jobs are low
priorities for these programs but among the problems to be addressed by this project is to
provide jobs for the young.
An example of a successful wood stove program can be found in Nicaragua.
PROLEÑA is an NGO that began work on an improved wood stove for Nicaragua in 1999.
The EcoStove is a combination of the high efficiency Rocket Stove and the user friendly
and low emissions Plancha Mejorada (Lorena Stove) and has been produced and
disseminated throughout Nicaragua. The price of this stove is about US$65. This
EcoStove has had a wide cultural acceptance and has virtually no impact on the background
contaminant level of a household. Additionally, this stove has a 38% improvement in
efficiency compared to the traditional wood stove (PROLEÑA, 2001). The Justa stove is
50 to 60% more efficient than a traditional stove but cannot be bought on the market. It is
similar to the Ecostove but is not portable due to the use of bricks or concrete (Trees,
Water, People, 2003). However, the plans are available free of charge and could be built in
each house using local labor.

4.5.2 Propane
According to Manuel Tigasi (Tigasi, 2003), a few of the households in the parish of
Guangaje use propane for cooking and have propane stoves but LPG is considered an
emergency substitute for wood. Only 25% of households ever use propane with the other
75% using strictly wood. There seems to be a cultural preference for wood or a difficulty
in transportation since the tanks must be carried from Guangaje center about 1 km away.
Before proposing a propane system, the real reasons for low usage of available LPG must
be determined.
It is important to note that LPG is subsidized heavily by the Ecuadorian government
at US$0.11/kg (US$1.65 per 15 kg tank) compared to prices of US$0.34/kg in Colombia
and US$0.29/kg in Bolivia (MEM,2002). A number of administrations have investigated
removing or reducing the subsidy. Although they have met with a great deal of public
resistance, it is considered imprudent to make long term planning decisions based on the
subsidized price.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 49

A propane Kelvinator oven with four burners can be bought for US$114 from
Electrolandia in Quito while a simple single burner stove can be bought for US$10 to 20.
Considering that LPG stoves are 70% efficient compared to a 15% efficiency for traditional
wood stoves (Aristanti, 1997), about 4.7 times more of the LPG energy content is used
productively compared to solid biomass. Using 18.2 MJ/kg wet weight energy content for
fuel wood (McCracken & Smith, 1998) and 50 MJ/kg for propane (NaturalGas, 2003),
means that in terms of mass, 12.9 times more mass of wood is needed than propane for the
same cooking energy.
Assuming a per capita consumption of 400 kg of wood per year (Welty et al, 2003),
and translating that into propane yields only 31 kg of propane per capita per year. This
would mean a yearly expense of US $10.6/per capita based on Colombian prices.

4.5.3 Solar
Solar ovens are readily available on the market and can be purchased for US $250
(Real Goods, 2001) and their intrinsic simplicity makes it possible for them to be made
even cheaper with local labor. However, in order to use this technology, cooking styles
would have to change and possibly the kinds of food eaten in the community.
The results of the Standardized Cooking Test in the Guatemalan village in
McCracken & Smiths (1998) study showed that roughly 10.5 MJ of useful energy were
required per cooking event. Using a daily solar irradiation of 4.2 kWh/m^2, a daily solar
energy factor of 0.65, and a 1 square meter collector with a 50% efficiency, it would take
roughly 2 hours to capture that amount of energy from the sun. While this may be a
reasonable amount of time, especially considering that the oven could be left in the sun to
preheat it well before cooking started, it has the obvious limitation for the supper meal
since the sun sets at 6:30 pm on the equator and the morning meal since many indigenous
communities have the custom of rising with the sun.

4.5.4 Summary of cooking options

In light of the environmental and health problems created by the use of traditional
wood stoves, cooking is an issue that needs attention in the community. However, two of
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 50

the three alternatives analyzed, namely propane and solar options, could be unacceptable to
households based just on cultural grounds. Since this project has as part of its aim to
disseminate information about alternatives, all three options discussed will be presented to
the community especially since this is one service that community members can make
individual decisions about – independent of what their neighbors do.

4.6 Water Heating

While hot water is considered basic to most westerners for bathing and washing, it
was not listed as a development goal of the community in their development plan
(UNORIG, 1999). However, if it were available it would certainly be used and enjoyed.
This is one of the services that may be selected against and the traditional method of
heating water over a biomass fire, but with an improved stove, may continue due to the
expense of fitting every house with a water heating system. However, to be fair to the
community, and to get feedback, the options are outlined below and they were presented to
the community.

4.6.1 Passive Solar

Passive solar water heating has been used for decades throughout the world.
Recently more effective solar collectors have been designed and systems optimized to make
this a viable option in a greater diversity of climates. A company in Quito, Ingenieria
Solar, has a 140 liter/day solar water heating system available for US $190 and this is the
figure used in the analysis below.
Table 4.19: Cost per cubic meter of hot water using a passive solar system at each house.
Hot Water Demand 40 lts/day Solar Energy Required 5016000 J/day
Required Area 0.77 m^2
Temp Increase 30 C System Cost $190.00 USD
Discount Rate 10.00% Elec. Rate $0.00 $/kWh
Daily Solar Energy 4.5 kWh/m^2 Maintenance*** $1.90 $/year
D.S.E. Factor 0.8 Other Costs $0.00 USD/year
System Efficiency 50% Project Duration 20 years
Total Initial Cost $190.00 USD Yearly Electric Bill $0.00 USD/year
Annuity $22 UDS/year Total Yearly Cost $24.22 USD/year
Cost/Cubic Meter $1.66 USD/m3
***3% of Initial Cost of Pump every three years

In order make passive solar water heating an even more viable alternative for the
community, a new design could be made to be much less expensive, provide a more
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 51

adequate supply of hot water for the community and provide a local industry. There are a
number of guides and books that give step by step instructions about how to build or even
manufacture passive solar water heaters with just tubing, a tank, a black surface and a stand
(Alternative Technology Association, 2003). In addition, there are more comprehensive
books available such as How to Build a Solar Hot Water System (Canivan, 2001). Such a
simple system could be implemented at each house by local experts trained in the matter,
hence generating local employment and income. However, it is important to take into
account the quality control aspects since if such a system failed, it would discredit the
technology in general.
In his masters thesis work, Marroquín (2002) identifies and describes a number of
different solar water heating technologies that could be used in communities. They can be
divided into two groups, passive and active. Passive solar water heaters do not use a
pumping device to circulate fluid, instead they rely on gravity and natural convection.
Among the passive solar water heaters are the batch system and the thermosyphon system.
Marroquín (2002) suggests that the batch system is the least expensive and was chosen for
his project in Bahía de Caráquez Ecuador. However, Bahía is in a costal region and has a
very different climate than that in Guangaje so a more complete analysis of the different
alternatives is needed before selection.

4.6.2 Electric
Where hot water demand is small, a cost effective option is a tankless electric water
heater (FEMP,2000). These can deliver up to two gallons per minute which is about what
an average showerhead delivers. The DHC-E 8/10 Tankless Electric Water Heater is
claimed to consume 50% less energy than a tank storage system (Low Energy Systems,
2003). The cost is about $233 but demands 10 kW at maximum heating up to 30ºC
increase in temperature at 2 GPM. Assuming one quarter of the water used by a 4 person
household was heated, 40 L/day or 10.6 gallons would need to be heated per day per
household. 5 MJ are required for this and assuming an efficiency of 95% about 1467
Wh/day of electric energy would be required which would more than triple energy
consumption in a household.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 52

Table 4.20: Cost per cubic meter of hot water using a tankless electric heater in each house.
Hot Water Demand 40 lts/day System Cost $233.00 USD
Elec. Rate** $0.30 $/kWh
Temp Increase 30 C Maintenance*** $2.33 $/year
Consumption 1467 Wh/day Other Costs $0.00 USD/year
Energy Required 5016000 J/day Project Duration 20 Years
System Efficiency 95% Discount Rate 10.00%
Total Initial Cost $233.00 USD Yearly Electric Bill $160.60 USD/year
Annuity $27 UDS/year Total Yearly Cost $190.30 USD/year
Cost/Cubic Meter $13.03 USD/m3
**Electric Rate based on triple consumption ***3% of Initial Cost of Pump every three years

For both the passive solar system and the tankless electric heater, the unit of
consumption used was a cubic meter to be consistent.. However, it should be noted that at
that rate of consumption only about 15 cubic meters of hot water will be used per
household in a year.

4.6.3 Clean Biomass

The heat from biomass combustion is currently used to heat water in the
community. Since biomass combustion can supply cooking needs, water heating needs,
and space heating needs it is a very versatile option.
The discussion of cookstoves in the cooking section provides a good deal of
information on water heating with the same method, but in addition to that analysis, a rough
estimate can be made using commercially available biomass water heaters such as the
“Pronto Wood & Fuel Fired Water Heater”. The model that burns only solid fuel costs
$220 and uses a 15 gallon tank (Backwoods Solar Electric Systems, 1999). The
combustion chamber is completely enclosed and has a vented smoke stack. The efficiency
can be estimated to be higher than 30% whereas a traditional wood stove has an efficiency
of about 15% (Aristanti, 1997).
Table 4.21: Cost per cubic meter of hot water with biomass water heater not including fuel cost.
Hot Water Demand 40 lts/day System Cost $220.00 USD
Temp Increase 30 C Elec. Rate** $0.00 $/kWh
Consumption 4644 Wh/day Maintenance*** $2.20 $/year
Energy Required 5016000 J/day Other Costs $0.00 USD/year
System Efficiency 30% Project Duration 20 years
Mass Wood* 0.84 kg Discount Rate 10.00%
Total Initial Cost $220.00 USD Yearly Electric Bill $0.00 USD/year
Annuity $26 UDS/year Total Yearly Cost $28.04 USD/year
Cost/Cubic Meter $1.92 USD/m3
*Assuming 20,000 kJ/kg ***3% of Initial Cost of Pump every three years
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 53

4.6.4 Summary of Water Heating Options

The different water heating options discussed above were analyzed from an
economic standpoint. Table 4.22 below summarizes the findings in the previous analysis.
Table 4.22: Comparison of water heating options. Qualified according to operation not installation.
Technology Unit Cost of Reliability Tech. Environmental Labor Safety
Hot Water Complexity Impact Required
Passive Solar $1.66/m3 High Low Low Low High
Electric $13.03/m3 High Low Medium Low Medium
Clean Biomass $1.92/m3 Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
Traditional --- High Low High High Low

The reliability of all of the systems is considered to be high except the clean biomass
system since there may be corrosion. The technological complexity of all of the systems is
low except for the clean biomass since it requires frequent cleaning and maintenance. The
environmental impact of the traditional biomass system is considered to be highest due to
the high consumption of biomass. The electric and clean biomass systems are considered
to be medium on environmental impact while the passive solar system has a minimal
In terms of labor, the traditional biomass requires continual collection of wood while
the clean biomass system requires less wood collection. The electric and passive solar
systems require virtually no labor once they have been set up. In terms of safety, the
passive solar system introduces virtually no risks if designed and mounted properly while
the electric system presents risks of burn and electric shock. Both biomass systems
introduce risks of burn while the traditional system has additional risks of fire hazards and
exposure to contaminants.
It is important to note that of the technologies used in this analysis, electric water
heating is quite expensive and ranks only medium on most of the other categories.
Traditional biomass, while it is difficult to put a price on it, shows to be one of the least
desirable systems from labor, safety and environmental impact standpoints. The two best
possible systems from the analysis above seem to be passive solar or clean biomass. It is
important to note if the systems are built locally, proper attention must be given to quality.
Clean biomass does not take into account the cost of fuel wood since it is difficult to put a
price on this.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 54

4.7 Future Prospects

4.7.1 Fuel Cells for electricity generation

Direct methanol fuel cells could revolutionize rural electrification being very
competitive with grid electricity if the units are mass produced to replace batteries in
consumer electronics. There is only one model available today that produces 25 continuous
watts for 100 hours with 2.5 liters of Methanol (Smart Fuel Cell, 2003). They are not mass
produced yet but when they are, they are projected to have a price comparable to Li-Ion
Batteries (200 to 400 US dollars). Direct methanol fuel cells would solve the problems of
expensive hydrogen storage and transportation and could also generate regional economic
activity with methanol production from biomass. The barriers to using the currently
available model are price, low power, and it has a 3000 m altitude limitation (Smart Fuel
Cell, 2003).

4.7.2 Stirling Generators for electricity generation

Stirling generators operate using a temperature differential and are often times
referred to as external combustion engines. This gives them a unique advantage in terms
of versatility of energy source and fuel purity. The same thermodynamic cycle can be used
in refrigeration applications and those units have been used for space applications.
However, there has never been an affordable commercial unit of Stirling refrigerators or
Stirling generators for domestic applications. There are a number of companies working to
commercialize the technology, including Stirling Technology Company, Global Cooling,
Microgen, Sunpower, and External Power.
If the technology can be made available commercially, there exists an enormous
market potential since such a unit could be designed so that the burner is inside of a
chamber that is used for heating the hot side of the Stirling (producing electricity), cooking
and boiling water while the heat rejection heat exchanger can be used to heat water for
bathing or washing and exhaust heat from the exhaust gases could be passed through a heat
exchanger for space heating. During cooking hours, power from the Stirling could be
stored in batteries for use throughout the day. Due to its versatility, this unit could tolerate
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 55

a higher price since it meets all of the needs addressed in this project except water supply.
Additionally, it could provide local economic activity in processing biomass into wood
pellets or another form for more convenient use in the unit.

4.8 Productive Uses

According to the UNORIG report (1999), all of the families in the community of
Culatipo make their living in small agricultural plots growing potatoes, chochos,
beans(habas), lentils, barley, onions and others. Most families also have ovine animals,
chickens, guinea pigs or other animals from which they are able to earn some money or use
for personal subsistence. However, as discussed in the problems section, grazing and
agriculture are putting tremendous pressures on the land and forcing families to extend their
crop land into higher altitude lands farming previously unused páramo land. The only post
harvest activities are manual crushing of barley, the separation and grading of the different
products for sale, reuse (seeds), or personal consumption and transportation (manual) to the
local market in Guangaje (UNORIG, 1999).
The only non-farming activities mentioned in the UNORIG development plan are
craftworks, textiles or weaving, carving of masks, work with straw to make baskets and
other objects, and some painting. At one time weaving and crafts were common activities
and almost every family had a weaver but now there are only 1 or 2 weavers per
community (see section 7 for an explanation). At the market in Guangaje, most of the
products come from outside the parish with only a few products being of local origin
including prepared foods, and some agricultural products.
Rural development projects in the country have typically focused on diversification
and “technification” of the agricultural sector without considering policies of
industrialization and rural diversification (North, 2000). North (2000) argues that one thing
that the Scandinavian and 7 tiger countries in Asia have in common in contrast with Latin
America is the relative equal access to productive resources for the rural populations. With
increasing rural income, the migration to cities was moderated allowing a healthy
development of urban centers and at the same time generating demand for products both
from the cities and rural industries.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 56

In Ecuador, only 15.8% of the economically active dispersed rural population is

active in non-farming activities while 71% are active directly in agricultural activities and
the rest work in farming related activities (INEM as cited in Martínez, 2000).
A number of potential non-farming activities for the community related to the
services discussed in this thesis are discussed in the following sections.

4.8.1 Passive Solar Water Heaters

As discussed above, there are a number of types of solar water heaters. The batch
solar heater was identified as the best option in the case of Bahía de Caraquez on the coast
in Marroquin‟s work (2001). However, due to the colder climate, a thermosyphon
approach may be better suited to Culatipo since the tank can be enclosed for insulation
purposes and when there is no sun, the water stops flowing. To build such a device, all that
is necessary is some copper tubing, a copper or aluminum plate, black paint, a tank, a
transparent plate, soldering equipment and some kind of base. For the thermosyphon to
work, the solar collector must be lower than the tank so that the water can rise by buoyancy
due to the change in density with temperature.
In setting up production of these devices in the community, the issues of
administration and quality control should be emphasized. A failed attempt to set up such
an industry could do more harm to the reputation of the technology than good in terms of
experience in trying to do business. It may be wise to get some experience with the
technology from a well known manufacturer before trying to build them on their own.

4.8.2 Block Making

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations,
“economic growth is directly related to the level and efficiency of fixed capital formation”
(RWEDA, 1993, pg.3). They claim that in developing countries, the share of fixed capital
formation in construction is often 50% to 80%. To further make their case for micro-
enterprise brick construction they point out that 50 to 80% of the value of construction is in
the building materials. This gives good reason to investigate the fabrication of building
materials as part of the economic development of the region.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 57

Typically, the community has relied on adobe structures and a number of homes are
still made of this material. However, after the earthquake of 1996, a number of these
constructions were damaged severely and government aid agencies (FISE) and NGO‟s have
helped to build new homes with new materials using a great deal of cement stabilized
blocks. The number of families in Culatipo is 30 whereas the number of houses is 19.
Based on comments from community members, it is clear that if the younger families could
build their own homes, they would. This presents a significant market within the
community and is a good indicator that there is a significant market throughout the parish
and in surrounding areas. There are housing standards in the country and if these were
enforced in rural areas, it would generate a very large market for blocks produced in the
community but there would be an accompanying need for certification or inspections for
building material producers.
Gooding and Thomas (1995) reported on a study of cement-stabilized blocks in 9
countries throughout the developing world. They reported that in all cases, soil was
considered an inferior or temporary building material and most people aspiring to build
homes preferred to use cement blocks or bricks. They define a cement-stabilized block as a
block “formed from a loose mixture of soil and/or sand and/or aggregate, cement and water
(a damp mix), which is compacted to form a dense block before the cement hydrates”
(Gooding & Thomas, 1995, pg. 6).
The initial cost of capital for the pressing machine of the Cinva Ram type to
compact the mixture runs from 63 1995 English pounds in Ghana to 526 in Zimbabwe
(Gooding & Thomas, 1995). Approtec has a model for sale for US $375 (Approtec, 2003).
If using local sand or soil, the only production costs in a tax free cooperative would be
cement, labor, administration (quality control) and water. Another method to compact the
soil is using a mould and a lid which can be subjected to an impact.
If hollow cement stabilized bricks could be produced cheaply, the blocks could be
used for internal consumption for building passive solar homes as discussed above and
exporting to Pujilí or Latacunga. Quality control is of utmost importance since the process
and inputs are sensitive and could yield low quality bricks resulting in a failed business
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 58

Fired bricks could also be made but considering the lack of fuel wood in the area, it
is not considered a good alternative. In a comparison by the Regional Wood Energy
Development Program in Asia (1993), fired brick was given a relative energy intensity of 1
to compare to other methods and compressed block rated as 0.01 compared to fired bricks.

4.8.3 Improved Stove Construction

The EcoStove mentioned in the cooking section has a number of benefits to rural
users, but one of those benefits isn‟t local economic activity since a stove must be bought
for US $65 and the only business opportunity that arises is the preparation of foods for a
limited market since transportation to the populous areas is limited.
The Justa Stove does present some opportunities since its construction would
require brick layers and brick makers. This would also reduce the cost of the stove and
may even yield more efficient stoves due to the use of bricks with and an insulating layer
instead of sheet metal which allows heat to escape from the stove more easily (Trees,
Water, People, 2003).

4.8.4 Methanol Production for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

According to Wyman et al (1992), methanol can be made from cellulosic waste
including agricultural, forestry, and municipal wastes. However, their economic analysis
is based on commercial plants producing hundreds of tons of methanol per day. With
current technology, it appears that there is no way to produce methanol within the
community economically. However, it could be produced in Latacunga or Pujilí where the
methanol could be marketed to more than just rural communities for electricity.
The technological complexity of producing methanol is also quite high with five
steps necessary including: pretreatment of biomass, synthesis gas production through
gasification, synthesis gas conditioning to remove impurities other than CO and hydrogen,
methanol synthesis and methanol purification (Wyman et al, 1992).
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 59

4.8.5 Biomass Processing

With growing concerns of climate change, wood fuel is being considered as a
legitimate renewable alternative to fossil fuels. Wood fuel can be used as firewood, wood
pellets and wood chips. However, wood pellets can be made from more than just wood.
According to Cotton & Giffard (2001), “Wood pellets are compressed wood made usually
from sawdust and shavings. However, they can potentially be made from any biomass
material (e.g. straw, forestry residues, specially grown energy crops etc.) and hence have
the potential to be sourced from locally unused material, which can give considerable
benefit to the local economy.” The main disadvantage to producing wood pellets is the
initial cost of the mill which can be on the order of half a million dollars. In the case of
Ecuador, heavily subsidized propane prices are a definitive barrier to the use of wood
pellets. In countries like the UK, USA, Sweden and others, wood pellets are competitive
with fossil fuels and as expertise is obtained, the prices are dropping even further (Cotton &
Giffard, 2001). If wood pellets were to be used in Ecuador, fossil fuel subsidies would
have to be lifted and the mill would have to be set up in a central processing area where
inputs were readily available and the product could be easily distributed to a large number
of customers to harness economies of scale.
Some advantages of wood pellets include a high density energy material which
reduces its transportation costs, easier control of combustion, and equipment can be
designed to be much more efficient than equipment using firewood. Additionally, pellets
produce almost no smoke or creosote when burned due to the lower moisture content and
more controlled combustion conditions (Wacole Industries, 2003).
Wood chips have similar advantages but are less dense, hence more expensive to
transport. The capital equipment for wood chip production is much lower than for wood
pellets and could be done in the community itself. The craftsman 8.5 hp Chipper Shredder
has an international market price of US $630 (SEARS ,2003) and can take wood up to 3
inches in diameter. Wood chipping is the most feasible biomass processing alternative if
equipment were available for the uses discussed earlier such as a Stirling generator.
Another alternative for biomass processing is the use of a biomass gasifier to turn the
biomass into gas for direct use in gas burning technologies. Community Power has
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 60

developed a gasifier called the BioMax Gas Production Module (Community Power, 2003),
however, it is considered too expensive for domestic needs and should only be considered
if an industry were established in the area and could be economically viable in such an
Biomass can also be turned into charcoal as an economic activity. Charcoal burns
without smoke and requires only a simple stove (World Bank, 1996). It is relatively
inexpensive and can generate a good deal of employment. According to Aristanti (1997),
charcoal stoves are 30% efficient compared to a 15% efficiency for traditional stoves. But
the conversion from biomass to charcoal can be inefficient yielding an overall less efficient
biomass system. Despite the fact that charcoal burns without smoke, the emissions of all of
the indoor air contaminants discussed earlier are reported to be higher than from a well
functioning improved wood stove (Aristanti, 1997).

4.9 Education and Health

As mentioned earlier, in the World Development Report 2000/2001, lack of
education and health were accepted as indicators of poverty (World Bank Group, 2001).
This section gives a brief overview of the health and education situation within the
community and potential energy uses related to improving the situation.

4.9.1 Schools
According to the UNORIG (1999) report, of the 20 communities surveyed, 65% had
a schooling location. In those communities that do not have schools, the children must
walk several miles through mountainous terrain to reach the school which has the effect of
reducing motivation of the children to go to school (Boehme, 2003). Most of the schools
do not have electricity which limits the education to traditional learning and no practical
experience is obtained on computers. Additionally, educational videos are not possible.
This may or may not be a problem, depending on the goals of the Indigenous School
In order to provide an education that will give the students more opportunities in the
dominant society, distributed generation schemes could be applied to provide enough
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 61

electricity for computers, a TV and a video cassette player at the schools or community
houses. This is a strategy that the Cuban government has used with a great deal of success
in remote mountain villages (Global Exchange, 2003).

4.9.2 Hospitals
The health center situation is quite different than the school situation with only 15% of
the communities having some sort of clinic (UNORIG, 1999). It seems that since the
report, all of the communities that have a hospital, also have electricity. Therefore, no
further analysis is required in this respect. However, it is worth mentioning that the
traditional medicine of the area is wide spread and there is a midwife, shaman, or cleanser
in every community with some communities having several.
According to the statistics, it seems that the health care situation in the parish is
positive. However, in analyzing the demographic data provided by Manuel Tigasi for the
community of Culatipo. There seems to be some anomaly because of the low population of
teenagers and the very high population of children as indicated in the demographic figure
Figure 4.8: Demographic Profile of the Community of Culatipo

Number of Individuals in Age Brackets

35 and older
23-35 years
18-22 years

7-13 years
6 months - 6 years
0-6 months

0 5 10 15 20 25
Number of Individuals

In light of the information in the UNORIG report that there was very little permanent
migration, it seems that the only way that such a high population from 6 months to 6 years
drops so significantly for the age bracket between 23 and 35 years is with a high child
mortality rate. This requires further investigation.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 62

The community members also complained of problems such as eye problems, loss of
hearing, respiratory illnesses and gastrointestinal illnesses. These all require further
investigation to determine the source of such ailments.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 63

5 Legal & Regulatory Framework

Due to the fact that Ecuador operates under a civil law system, all of the relevant laws,
regulations and decrees have the final word in ordering civil society and the judicial
precedents have little to do with regulating the populace (Potes, 2003).
In Article 272 of the Ecuadorian constitution of 1998 it states that the constitution
prevails over any other legal norm. Any laws, decrees, statutes, ordinances, regulations,
resolutions or other acts of public power will not have value if they in any way contradict
the constitution. The legislative hierarchy goes in the following order: constitution,
international conventions, laws, regulations, and guidelines (Constitution of Ecuador,
1998). Following is a brief summary of the pertinent legislative documents that relate to the
work in this project.

5.1 Background on the Ecuadorian Constitution of 1998

Since 1830 when the first constitution of Ecuador was enacted, there have been 19
constitutions of Ecuador. The longest standing constitution lasted 19 years. It was the one
passed by public referendum in 1979 under military government. The current constitution
was passed in 1998 under Fabián Alarcón by the National Assembly. Fabián Alarcón was
the interim president who took office after Abdala Bucaram was removed from office by a
popular uprising (Saltos & Vázquez, 1999). According to Saltos & Vázques (1999), the
constitutional reforms favored the dominant sectors (the wealthy and political elites) and
legalized the neoliberal project initiated under the Hurtado and Febres Cordero
administrations. However, the popular sectors did gain some ground in terms of the
following: 1) citizenship upon birth, 2) civil rights, 3) environmental rights, 4) and
indigenous rights.
Article 23 guarantees the right to a quality of life that assures health, food and
nutrition, potable water, and waste collection systems. It also includes education, work,
recreation, housing, clothing and other necessary social services as rights.
Article 249 states clearly that it is the states responsibility to provide basic services
including potable water, irrigation, electric power, telecommunications, roadways, and
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 64

others of a similar nature. However, it makes clear that the services can be provided
directly by the state or by delegation to mixed companies or private companies by means of
concessions, association, capitalization, or any other contractual form permitted under the
law. The state guarantees that basic services provided under its control or regulation will
respond to principles of efficiency, responsibility, universality, accessibility, continuity and
In article 250, the Solidarity Fund is set up as an autonomous organism established to
combat poverty and eliminate indigence. Its capital will only be used in secure and
profitable investments. Only its utilities will be used to finance exclusively: educational
programs, health and sanitation systems, and to attend to social effects caused by natural

5.2 International Conventions

In article 4, item 4 of the constitution of 1998, it is stated that the Ecuadorian
government encourages the development of the international community and the
establishment and fortification of its organisms. Additionally, in article 18 it is made clear
that any rights or guarantees established in international instruments ratified by the
Ecuadorian government are immediately and directly applicable under any judge, tribunal
or authority. Some of the conventions ratified by Ecuador include the Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention of Biological Diversity,
Convention 169 of the International Labor Union, the Vienna Convention for the protection
of the ozone, the Basil Convention on transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, and
the United Nations Convention for the protection of the global, natural and cultural
patrimony (OLADE-SIEAL, 2003).
The conventions that would be most applicable to the community are the biological
diversity convention and the UNFCCC. The Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC provides
some funding mechanisms under the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) but the
protection of forests under this convention are still being debated and it looks as if there
will be little support for rangeland protection under this plan.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 65

5.3 Framework on Property Relevant to the Community

Article 30 of the constitution of 1998 states that property, in any of its forms will be
recognized and guaranteed by the state as long as it accomplishes its social function.
Article 269 refers specifically to agrarian property as well as the agricultural micro-
company and provides for special State protection according to the law.
In article 84 of the constitution it specifically states that the communal land cannot be
prescribed and is inalienable and that it is also exempt from land tax. It also maintains the
ancestral possession of communal lands and its legal appropriation for the community free
of charge. Additionally, the article allows for the participation of the community in the use,
administration, and conservation of renewable resources on the land. The law also allows
the communities to formulate priorities in development projects and plans and guarantees
an adequate financing from the state.

5.4 Institutional Framework Specific to Indigenous Communities

The constitution of 1998 allowed for a number of rights for indigenous peoples
inexistent in previous constitutions. Article 84 lists 15 specific rights for indigenous
communities including the development and fortification of linguistic, spiritual, cultural,
social, political and economic traditions. In terms of state administration and political
representation, Article 191 establishes provinces, cantons, and parishes. The latter can be
territorial circumscriptions specific to indigenous and afro-Ecuadorian communities.
The Ley Orgánica de Juntas Parroquiales (Parish Council Law) passed in the year
2000 establishes the norms and principles that regulate these parish councils as autonomous
sectional governments, which in the case of Culatipo is the Parish of Guangaje composed
entirely of indigenous communities. In the law it assigns as a responsibility of the Parish
Council the elaboration of an annual development plan with which they are responsible for
approaching state organisms for economic resources for such development. It is also their
responsibility to supervise public organisms and non-governmental entities working in
projects in their territory to make sure that the contracts are followed.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 66

5.5 Electric Sector Laws and Regulations

The Ley Régimen del Sector Electrico (LRSE “Electric Sector Law”) is the body of
law that elaborates on the constitutional provision of electricity as a strategic good and a
service of public interest. It establishes that the state is responsible for the provision,
directly or indirectly, of electricity (Articles 1,6 LRSE). The National Electricity Council
(CONELEC) is identified as the legal person in charge of planning, regulation, control,
tariff setting, and the emission of permits and licenses in the electric sector (Article 12,13).
Articles 19,20 and 41 of the executive decree 1761 set the screening requirements
for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in the electric sector and provide that
projects under 1 MW capacity are exempt from such a requirement. Article 25 of the same
decree establishes the requirement of an environmental management plan in the case that an
EIA is required.

5.6 Water Laws & Regulations

The Water Law of 1972 regulates the use of surface water, groundwater, atmospheric
water and marine water.

5.6.1 Water Rights

The constitution defines water as a national good for public use and water
development corresponds to the state or whoever obtains those rights (Article 247). In
article 42 the constitution provides the provision of water and sewage systems as a basic
The Ecuadorian Hydraulic Resource Institute (INERHI) has been assigned the
responsibility of assigning and limiting the use of water within the country under
concessions (Water Law, 1972). Under article 6 of the Water Law, the concessionaries of
such a water use have the right to construct the transportation easements and any aqueducts
or connections that may be necessary.
Water concessions for human consumption and sewage can be given to
Municipalities, Provincial Councils, or other public or private organisms (Article 37, WL).
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 67

5.6.2 Potable Water Standards

Water standards are defined by the Ecuadorian Institute of Standards and
Normalization or they take on the values of the standards in the United States of America
(Ministerial Accord 2144, 1989).

5.6.3 Grey Water

Since one of the services proposed is the provision of water, it is necessary to know
the legal framework with respect to wastewater. If all of the households have latrines, the
waste water could be termed grey water and it may be legal to discharge the water onto
agricultural fields as a type of wetland. If human wastes are dumped into the waste stream,
it will most likely be necessary to have a separate sewage and treatment system. Currently,
the practice in the area is to dump used water onto the fields close to the homes and in a
number of communities, human waste is also deposited close to the fields (Boehme, 2003).
The INERHI, and the Ministries of Health and Defense are responsible for the
prevention and control of water contamination (Law of Prevention and Control of
Contamination, 1976). Article 22 of the Water Law prohibits the illegal discharge of
wastewater that could cause damage to human health, wildlife or property. Any discharges
of wastewater need to be registered in the Ecuadorian Institute of Sanitary Works (IEOS)
(Ministerial Accord 2144, 1989). The same accord establishes that any user whose
discharge could present health risks must present a contingency plan. It also establishes
that any wastewater needs to be treated and that special requirements are made for
industrial uses and the use of the product of treatment.
Despite these regulations, it is unlikely that the government will install a wastewater
system for the communities in the area and there is little legal risk for dumping untreated
wastewater onto the communities own fields. If industries were established in the area,
more care should be taken in terms of wastewater treatment.

5.7 Brief Overview of Private Enterprise Laws

In article 245 of the Ecuadorian Constitution, it is established that the Ecuadorian

economy is organized and unfolds with the coexistence and cooperation of the private and
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 68

public sectors. Economic companies can be private, public, mixed, or community based.
The state will recognize, guarantee and regulate them.

5.7.1 General
The constitution guarantees the investments of foreign or national firms especially
when they are destined for production of goods to be consumed nationally and those to be
exported (Article 244). It also gives special guarantees to investments made in less
developed areas or areas of national interest.
The Law of Companies establishes the different kinds of companies that can be
formed and puts forth the requirement for foreign companies operating within the national
territory. There are a number of opportunities for private companies in Ecuador in terms of
the legislation and the continual opening of the economy based on the Law of
Modernization of the State and the TROLE I (Law of Economic Transformation) &
TROLE II (Law for the promotion of investment and public participation).

5.7.2 Specific to the Community

Article 246 of the constitution states that the government will promote community
companies such as cooperatives, craft workshops, councils to administer potable water
whose property and management belongs to the community or the people who work
permanently in them. The Law of Cooperatives governs how cooperatives are formed and
how they operate. The Ministry of Social Welfare is assigned the responsibility to study
and approve proposals for the formation of Cooperatives (Article 7, Law of Cooperatives).
Depending on the activity that the cooperative is going to carry out, it must belong to one
of the following categories: production, consumption, savings and loans or services. This
suggests that cooperatives can be formed not only to produce goods that would lead to the
provision of the services discussed in this project, but they could also be formed as service
providers directly along the lines of energy service companies or water service companies.
Article 102 of the Law of Cooperatives provides for the free development and
autonomy of cooperatives based on the fact that the state views these organizations as
positive for economic, social and moral development of the country. Based on that,
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 69

cooperatives are given the following benefits: (1) exemption from fiscal, municipal, or any
other tax on immovable estates purchased by the cooperative, (2) preference in bidding on
projects from state, municipal or other organisms, (3) liberalization from taxes on tools,
machinery or other inputs to the cooperative, (4) exemption from export taxes on goods
produced by artistic or craft based cooperatives, and (5) preference in expropriation of land
in favor of cooperatives formed by peasants.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 70

6 Options for Implementation

In this section, a number of different options for implementation are explored including
the case for the private sector, the case for government implementation, and the case for
non-governmental organizations. The case for the community based cooperative is
considered as an option within the private sector since it will be subject to similar

6.1 The Case for the Private Sector

“The challenges presented by emerging markets in Asia and Latin America demand
a new way of conceptualizing business opportunities.” Hart (1997)

6.1.1 The Market Potential & Characteristics

A number of alternative energy companies often cite the figure of “2 billion people
on the planet without access to electricity” to emphasize the validity of their product
designs or business plans. The dilemma facing these entrepreneurs is that the grand
majority of those people don‟t have the money to purchase the products or pay for the
services. A second problem with this mentality is that it doesn‟t necessarily consider the
issue of sustainable development and the global consequences of extending this growing
sector of humanity into the western patterns of consumption and affluence (Hart, 1995).
The final, and most important problem with this mentality of seeking markets for products
is that it could neglect the issue of quality of life which should be central to any
development effort (Jackson, 2003).
A new pattern of development is needed for the underserved population that takes
into account their cultural preferences and way of life (Burkey, 1993), seeking to meet their
needs with the same level of attention that the needs of customers in developed nations are
met. Prahalad & Hart (2002) make it clear; “New business models must not disrupt the
cultures and lifestyles of local people. An effective combination of local and global
knowledge is needed, not a replication of the Western system.” The difficulty with this is
that most of these needs are the domain of the government in an often times paternalistic
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 71

state. Some governments have done reasonably well in providing these services, for
example in the Latin American & Caribbean region, Cuba is a nation that has managed to
meet the basic needs of its population, despite its low GDP (Welty, 2002). Other
governments have not done so well in this respect, especially Ecuador, where 60% of the
households do not have potable water (Saltos and Vázquez, 1999) and 18.2% do not have
electricity with the rural electrification coverage being only between 55% and 59%
(CONELEC,2002). Another way these needs can be met in an efficient and customized
way is to make policies that encourage private involvement with the appropriate regulations
in place.

6.1.2 Government Policy Influences

Gastelumendi (2002) lists a number of different ways that private companies can get
involved in rural electrification. They include concessions, the administrators, the dealers,
the retailers, and cooperatives. In concessions, the government grants concessions over a
rural area that the private company has the rights to develop and sell electricity with the
help of government subsidies. The administrators model involves the private firm in the
administration of the service after it has been constructed by the state. The retailer model
involves a decentralized approach for service provision where the private company charges
a fee-for-service to recover the investment. In some cases the government gives subsidies
to the retailer. The dealer model is based on private firms that sell small scale energy
generation equipment and often have limited service areas and insufficient customer
support. In cooperatives, the rural consumers are served usually from grid electricity by a
rural cooperative with government subsidies.
As can be seen from the discussion on models for private involvement, the type of
private involvement is heavily dependent on government policy. In Chile, for example, a
policy of competition, private investment and decentralized decision-making has been used
which has met the national goals of 76% electricity coverage by 2000 from only 53% in
1992 (Gastelumendi, 2002). The Bolivian Model since 1995 is based on Rural
electrification as a state duty and involved communities and regional governments in an
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 72

attempt to decentralize, however, by 2000 the population had grown more than the number
of people newly served with electrification (Gastelumendi,2002).
The system in Ecuador is based on a central regulatory agency (CONELEC),
privately owned and government owned generators and concessions to companies for
distribution with the concessions usually corresponding to a province. There is a fund,
FERUM, for rural electrification but in order to have access to the funds, CONELEC must
approve projects submitted by the distributing companies in coordination with the
municipalities and the H. Provincial Councils (CONELEC,2002). There are also a number
of projects listed in CONELEC‟s annual report of projects carried out with funding from
Belgium and Japan. The government to government loans are carried out by the ex-Inecel
(government owned integrated electricity company that was broken up) under the
coordination of the Transelectric Transmission Company. Distribution companies are
responsible for expanding the electricity services using their own funds, national or
international grants or loans, municipalities, or provincial councils (CONELEC, 2002).
The rates that the distributors can charge is based on financial reports submitted to
CONELEC who then determines the added value of distribution and determines the tariff
that the company can charge to its clients. The distribution companies are currently being
sold but only 51% of the company can be owned by the private sector. The remaining 49%
must remain in the hands of the state Solidarity Fund. One of the main objectives stated in
the new Electricity Sector Law is the promotion of rural electrification.

6.1.3 Salient Stakeholders

Based on the three problems discussed above (1) lack of local funds, (2) sustainable
development, (3) quality of life and cultural sensitivity and the nature of the electricity
sector in Ecuador, a strategic plan for a private “rural development company” can be
established for Ecuador. The first element of a good strategic plan is to state the need that
will be served, which in this case is basic services in rural areas lacking in infrastructure.
The next step is to define the salient stakeholders that will affect or be affected by the
business (Mitchell, Bradley, & Wood, 1997).
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 73

Mitchell, Bradley, & Wood (1997) talk about three classes of salient stakeholders
depending on how many of the following attributes they have: power, legitimacy, urgency.
A low salience stakeholder has only one attribute, a medium salience stakeholder has two
attributes, and a high salience stakeholder has all three attributes. For the project in
question the most affected legitimate and potentially urgent stakeholders will be the
community of Culatipo. Other legitimate stakeholders include the surrounding
communities. Powerful and legitimate stakeholders include the government, NGO‟s, other
funding agencies and the municipality. For a more comprehensive analysis of stakeholders
see section 7.
Identifying stakeholders is important from the beginning of the project but it is just
as important to have a mechanism to scan the environment for issues that may emerge and
change the stakeholder dynamic. The same mechanism that scans the environment for
threats can also be used to scan for opportunities. Issues management is a good tool for
such a task and is defined as “a systematic process to help the organization identify, assess,
and deal with significant threats and opportunities in its external environment” (Bartha,
1999). Literature on Issue Management Theory can enlighten such activities and make
them useful tools.

6.1.4 Sustained Competitive Advantage

Assuming the social entrepreneur forms a for profit organization or a self-sustaining
non-profit organization, a competitive strategy will have to be designed. In order for a
company to have a sustained competitive advantage it must identify its core competencies
(Prahalad & Hamel, 1990) and valuable resources (Barney, 1991). According to Barney
(1991 pg 102) “… a firm is said to have a competitive advantage when it is implementing a
value creating strategy not simultaneously being implemented by a current or potential
competitors. A firm is said to have a sustained competitive advantage when it is
implementing a value creating strategy not simultaneously being implemented by any
current or potential competitors and when these other firms are unable to duplicate the
benefits of this strategy.”
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 74

The aim of this organization is not to manufacture or sell products but to provide
services. According to Lovins, Lovins & Hawken (1999) “The shift to a service business
model promises benefits not just to participating businesses but to the entire economy”.
Hart (1996) takes a similar approach saying that “Increasingly, companies will sell
solutions to the world‟s environmental problems”. The reason it is good for the economy is
that companies won‟t be in the mind set of manufacturing objects that get sold and forgot
about but will be concerned about the life cycle of the products. The reason a service
oriented business model is good for businesses and customers is that customers needs can
be met more fully which is the aim of any business – meeting needs. In the case of rural
electrification there are too many cases where renewable energy technologies have been
installed and forgotten and were no longer working in a year.
In order to offer a quality and appropriate service to a customer, the business must
understand the customer. Due to the nature of rural electrification projects, a specific area
where a company or non-profit could gain a core competency is in the bridging of cultures
where cross-cultural management becomes important (Westley & Vredenburg, 1996). It is
not likely that there are many business models that are built on cross cultural understanding
especially with indigenous and poor populations (although Prahalad & Hart (2002) mention
a few), which would offer a sustained competitive advantage if the economics could work.
Another core competency, however duplicable, is an understanding of the technologies
available and the economics. Collis & Montgomery (1995) propose five tests of a
competitively valuable resource: (1) The test of imitability: Is the resource hard to copy, (2)
The test of durability: How quickly does this resource depreciate?, (3) The test of
appropriability: Who captures the value that the resource creates? , (4) The test of
substitutability: Can a unique resource be trumped by a different resource?, and (5) The test
of competitive superiority: Whose resource is really better? The technical knowledge is
easily imitable but the cross-cultural understanding and the resultant relationships (if well
maintained) pass all of the above criteria for a valuable resource. A relationship with the
municipalities and the distribution companies is also a very valuable resource especially
considering the nepotism so prevalent in the country.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 75

6.1.5 Porters Five Forces

Porter has devised a model of competitive advantage in which he identifies five
forces that influence competition. They are (1) Threat of New Entrants, (2) Bargaining
Power of Firm‟s Suppliers, (3) Bargaining Power of Firms Customers, (4) Threat of
substitute products, and (5) Intensity of Rivalry among competing firms (Porter, 1979).
The first force has to do with the barriers to entry, which in the case of the rural
development industry are quite low. But if the approach discussed above of leveraging
relationships and cross-cultural skills is used, the barrier becomes more significant. The
second force has to do with the power of the suppliers depending on their numbers and
substitutability of products, which in this case is very low since there are a number of
suppliers of the different technologies and a number of options available. However, if grid
electrification is chosen, there is only one supplier with a great deal of power only
controlled by the regulating body. The third force has to do with the power of the
customers, which is also quite low since they cannot readily go elsewhere and get the same
service. The fourth force is quite high in this case since the community members can
continue to use the primary energy they have always used and can continue to carry water.
The fifth force is low in this case due mainly to the low profitability of the industry and
lack of know-how in the country.

6.1.6 Strategies
The figure below will help to visualize the problem confronting the social
entrepreneur in terms of rural electrification using the grid. It can be seen that a number of
salient stakeholders are not included in the scheme below, especially the community.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 76

Figure 6.1: The structure of the problem facing the social entrepreneur.

Provincial Councils CONELEC

Proposal FERUM Funding regu-

Distribution Company lated by CONELEC. Lit-
tle direct opportunity for
third party or community.


While the scheme above presents no niches for a social entrepreneur and little if any
involvement with the community with most of the process being heavily bureaucratic, there
are other alternatives as discussed in the next sections. Bridging
Figure 6.2: The opportunities opened using a bridging strategy.


Other Funding Agency

Community Members

Social Entrepreneur
Funding for development
according to communities
Distribution Company will including water, and
other energy sources.

This scheme casts the social entrepreneur as a bridge between the distribution
company and the community members being sure to get the consent of the municipality. A
bridging organization in any issue has to be highly sensitive to both of the “islands” that are
being bridged but that is particularly the case in rural development due to the very different
cultures and social organizations (Sharma, Vredenburg & Westley, 1994). Since the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 77

distribution company is a semi-private company with the responsibility under the law of
providing quality service and extending electric service to unserved areas (CONELEC,
2002), it may be willing to come to an agreement with the social entrepreneur to find
funding under a mutually beneficial arrangement. If the social entrepreneur has the support
of the community and the municipality (which would gain political points from the new
project) they are more likely to be able to find funding from development banks or other
investors. Additionally, the entrepreneur can tailor development to community needs by
including other services such as potable water and non-electric energy services meeting
more of the needs of the community. Redefine the customer

Another valid strategy is to redefine the customer as Bright Horizons did in the day
care industry (Brown, 2001). Instead of viewing the rural inhabitants as the customers,
multinational companies working in the area (usually mining or oil & gas) can be
approached to fulfill their needs of positive community and government relations by
improving the quality of life in the surrounding communities. Both Applied Energy
Systems (AES) and Transalta Utilities Corp. have engaged in relief programs for
reforestation in order to offset carbon emissions before the Kyoto meetings were ever held
(Rhéaume, 1993). This changes the dynamics of Porters five forces by making the
customer very powerful but it reduces the threat of new entrants if one is successful in
forging a good relationship with the firm. This option is not available in the area of
Culatipo for direct community relations since there is no multinational corporation
operating in the area but other possibilities could be explored for proactive companies
seeking sustainable development outlets. Increase the Purchasing Power of the Customer

A strategy that has oftentimes been overlooked since Henry Ford increased the
wages of his factory workers by 105% in 1914 (Gross, 1996) is the idea of generating
consumers by giving them the opportunity to have a higher purchasing power. If an
organization could encourage economic activity in the community (making wood stoves,
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 78

solar water heaters) and increase the real wage of the rural inhabitants then electricity
consumption would go up – dropping the cost per kWh of delivering the service under
economies of scale – and consumers could afford to pay the electric bills. Prahalad & Hart
(2002) recognize the importance of this in their article The Fortune at the Bottom of the
Pyramid “Indeed, empowering local entrepreneurs and enterprises is key to developing Tier
4 markets.” Tier 4 is their way of dividing the different economic sectors in a pyramid and
they argue that the greatest opportunity for growth is in the poor sector with over 4 billion
people (Tier 4). The development in this area could also be spread to surrounding areas
creating even more customers. In order to implement this strategy, a type of revolving fund
should be set up to fund new projects from mature projects that have paid for themselves.
Other ways to increase the purchasing power of the community is through fair trade
schemes such as those used by Craft Co., the Body Shop, and Patagonia (Westley and
Vredenburg, 1996). These companies sell products in developed nations using inputs from
communities in developing nations. They make an effort to keep the trade fair and
remunerate the community members properly for their work. If products that are attractive
to such companies could be crafted in the community in question, this would be a viable
solution to increasing purchasing power. Act as a Field Trial Agent for developers of products

Another potentially valid strategy is to act as a field trial agent for companies in
developed nations that are developing new technologies to deal with environmental
problems. An example of some of these technologies are fuel cells, stirling engines, solar
powered refrigerators, water pumping technology, biogas and biomass technology.
Prahalad & Hart (2002) make the assertion that “In fact, for many emerging disruptive
technologies (e.g., fuel cells, photovoltaics, satellite-based telecommunications,
biotechnology, thin-film microelectronics, WLED lighting and nanotechnology), the
bottom of the pyramid may prove to be the most attractive early market.” They mention
two companies, namely Plug Power (fuel cells) and Honeywell (microturbines), whose
attention has been drawn to these opportunities in light of SELF‟s (Solar Electric Light
Fund) success in villages in Africa and Asia in small scale distributed energy. However,
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 79

persuasive arguments depending on technology would have to be used to justify such an

expenditure for the company. Additionally, the contribution of technology and funds from
a company in a developed nation may not necessarily be a good fit for the community.
Such a scheme of field trials would have to offer the company more than just a place to try
the technology including detailed technical, ergonomic, market and social feedback for
their R&D process. Expanding the customer base

While the number of communities in need of infrastructure in Ecuador is plentiful, it
is most likely that a small percentage of them have the right conditions for the strategies
mentioned above. Expanding the market into Peruvian, Bolivian and Colombian markets
does not necessarily compromise the social entrepreneur since the communities and
cultures are very similar and the core competence of cross-cultural management remains
intact. Excelling in Service

In his masters thesis work, Gastelmundi (2002) points out that the dealer business
model often times suffers due to limited service and insufficient customer support. Often
times businesses sell energy products and have a hands off policy once the product is sold.
As mentioned earlier, a switch to a service economy is beneficial for the consumer, the
business and the environment (Lovins, Lovins & Hawken, 1999) and is a valid strategy for
entering into the rural energy market.
The Light Up the World-India business plan is based on a marketing strategy of
offering reliability not only in the product but also in service and maintenance. The
business aims to provide WLED lights to homes in India and plans to set itself apart from
the competitors by providing on-the-ground marketing officers and a 5 year warranty plan
(Light Up the World Foundation, 2003). Soluz Honduras also uses this strategy of offering
superior service and maintenance (Soluz Honduras, 2002).
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 80

6.1.7 Mechanisms
There are three different viable implementation mechanisms including fee-for-
service, debt financing, and equity financing. In order to make fee-for-service an option,
either an existing company or a newly formed company must be used to take on the initial
financial burden of the infrastructure and then charge fees that will pay off the investment
in a reasonable period of time. In the debt financing scheme, either the community or
individuals must get loans in order to pay for the initial investment and then pay them off in
monthly payments. In order for this to be an option there must be a micro-credit service
provider. Finally, the community or members could pay for the initial investment with
cash or assets up front. From the preliminary visits and discussions in the community the
latter seems to be very unlikely unless a charitable organization or the government donates
the cash in order to pay for the infrastructure. With the new liberal government and the
binding clauses in the constitution that establish it as a responsibility of the government to
provide basic services, there may be some political or legal way in which to obtain
financing. Equity financing from grants will be discussed in the non-governmental case
below. Debt Financing

One of the biggest problems for would-be entrepreneurs in poor communities is
access to capital since these potential bank customers are seen as high risk due to the lack
of assets or low incomes and traditionally, transaction costs have been too high to consider
microfinance. However, a number of banks are beginning to offer micro-credit for poor
entrepreneurs. One of the first commercial banks to embark on such business activities is
Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. Grameen Bank has had a good deal of success with a 95%
repayment rate and they are currently reducing transaction costs and increasing their
coverage with activities worldwide in developing nations and wealthy nations. They have
more than 25 million clients. (Prahalad & Hart, 2002).
Other banks are pursuing similar business such as ShoreBank of South Africa and
Citigroup, Inc. (Prahalad & Hart, 2002). Additionally, PlaNet Finance has been founded to
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 81

link thousands of microcredit groups worldwide into a network with a web page at
The Microcredit Summit Campaign is a campaign started in 1997 with a 9-year goal
of reaching 100 million of the worlds poor families with financial services (Hatch, Levine,
& Penn, 2002). As of 2002, over 4,500 institutions were members of the campaign and
over 2,800 formed part of the Campaign‟s Council of Practitioners with many of the new
entrants being existing banks restructuring themselves to provide such services. The
number of banks offering these services is generating a good deal of competition, which is
lowering prices for the consumers. Not only is competition increasing, but many
innovations are occurring and banks are entering into strategic alliances with NGO‟s or
companies. Even with this positive chain of events, 90% of households in developing
countries do not have access to institutional sources of finance (WBG,2003).
A study of credit union microfinance in Ecuador revealed that credit unions are the
principal line of credit for low to low-middle income sectors. The World Council of Credit
Unions (WOCCU) is active in Ecuador and has 17 member credit unions in the country. It
was found that more than 52% of the member households owned and operated a business
(Baker & Biety, 1999). These credit unions especially serve women and microenterprises.
These credit unions not only provide loans but also savings services. This is obviously a
necessity since increased income as a result of microenterprises creates the need for
somewhere to save that money and the credit unions use these funds to extend loans to their
members. Fee for Service

Soluz Inc. is an Energy Service Company (ESCO) that operates in Honduras and the
Domincan Republic and provides services under three financing mechanisms: cash, credit,
and fee for service. The fee for service method is the most popular (Soluz Honduras,
2002). One of the problems with the fee-for-service scheme is the large amount of initial
capital that must be raised by the company. It was estimated by Soluz that the
dissemination of their PV systems to rural households is as follows: 5% with cash, 20%
with credit, and 50% with fee-for-service (Hansen, 2000). In the fee-for-service
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 82

arrangement, the customer must purchase the battery but the PV system remains the
property of the ESCO. Nuon Renewable Energy is another company using the fee-for-
service mechanism in South Africa (Gnoth, 2002). EJSEDSA also uses this mechanism to
provide electricity to rural inhabitants in Argentina. SunLight Power Maroc S.A. operates
in a similar manner in Morrocco (RESuM, 2003).
The advantage to the customer in the fee-for-service scheme is that maintenance is
provided by the ESCO as part of the monthly fee. Also, the customer does not have to
obtain the initial capital to purchase the equipment, that responsibility lies on the ESCO.

6.1.8 Cooperatives
Cooperatives have been used successfully throughout the world to carry out
activities from commercializing farmers products to producing home domestic appliances.
A very successful cooperative structure is the Mondragon Group of Cooperatives in Spain.
Mondragon is the umbrella organization for a number of cooperatives engaged in activities
such as banking, steel production, and appliance manufacturing (Whyte, 1988).
As can be seen from the legal chapter of this work, cooperatives have a number of
advantages compared to private companies in terms of taxes and tariffs. Aside from those
benefits, however, a cooperative is subject to the same market forces that a private
company would be subject to and the strategies discussed above may also be relevant for
A very important consideration in the formation of cooperatives in the area of
Guangaje is the history of cooperatives designed by the state and imposed on the people.
According to Guerrero (1993), the people of the area rejected the state logic of cooperative
formation. It would be useful to study why the people of the area rejected these and how
they could be designed and operated to the satisfaction of the people. The cooperatives
could be used for both the production of products for sale as outlined in section 4.8 or for
the provision of services such as water or electricity.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 83

6.1.9 Summary of the Private Sector Case

In light of the problems with the social gap and the large number of people in the
lower economic bracket, a number of opportunities present themselves. To take advantage
of these opportunities, creative strategies are required and managers need to stop having old
ideas: as inventor Edwin Land once said “people who seem to have a new idea have often
simply stopped having an old idea.” Prahalad & Hart (2002) suggest “The real source of
market promise is not the wealthy few in the developing world, or even the emerging
middle-income consumers: It is the billions of aspiring poor who are joining the market
economy for the first time.”
However, the ability of private firms to take advantage of these opportunities is
largely dependent on government policies. Possibly the most favourable government
policy for private involvement in rural infrastructure is the retail model described here.
Chile has used such a model with remarkable success. Ecuador uses the concession model
for grid electrification which still present some opportunities for private firms.
Analyzing the regulatory environment is only one step in determining if an
opportunity can be profitable for a private enterprise. Other factors that must be analyzed
include the salient stakeholder environment, which in this paper was done for the
community of Culatipo in the province of Cotopaxi, Ecuador. A static salient stakeholder
analysis is not recommended. It would be wise to devise a method to manage the issues
and changing stakeholder environment.
A discussion of competitive forces and sustained competitive advantage will
significantly enlighten a private enterprise as to the viability of an opportunity in the
bottom of the pyramid. Such an analysis is essential for “crafting” strategies. It is
particularly important to take Mintzberg‟s (1987) concept of crafting strategy instead of
planning strategy in order to take advantage of emergent strategies. In uncharted waters, it
is best to be flexible and abandon the rigid, planning strategy of the planning and design
schools (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand & Lampel, 1998).
Once the environment has been characterized, strategies can be identified. Among
some of the strategies identified here are bridging, redefining the customer, increasing the
purchasing power, acting as a field trial agent and expanding the customer base by going
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 84

international. Other strategies that have been implicit in the discussion but that Prahalad &
Hart (2002) make explicit are tailoring local solutions and improving access.

6.2 The Case for Government Implementation

The case for government involvement has been discussed to some depth both in the
government policy section of the case for the private sector and the chapter on the legal
framework. It is the governments constitutional duty to provide basic services to the
citizens of Ecuador either directly or indirectly through non-governmental organizations or
the private sector. This section deals with direct government involvement either through
funding or direct implementation.
It is important to note that Ecuador has one of the lowest social expenditures in Latin
America with only US$142 per inhabitant while the Latin American average is almost 4
times that figure (Vos et. al, 2002). Additionally, over the last 20 years the social
expenditure has dropped with a slight change in that trend starting in the year 2000. More
importantly, much of that social expenditure does not reach the poorest citizens. For
example, the subsidy on gasoline and the subsidy on cooking gas actually benefit the
wealthier classes. Health and educational subsidies are also universal and 40% to 80% of
the government expenditure reach the upper classes. Only 13% of social expenditure is
focused directly on the poor in the Bono Solidario, school foods, and nutrition to vulnerable
groups (Vos et al, 2002).

6.2.1 Direct Implementation

Some of the government ministries that participate in executing development
projects that benefit the poor include: the Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano y Viviendas
(MIDUVI), Ministerio de Obras Públicas (MOP), Ministerio de Salud Pública, and
Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG). According to the UNORIG (1999) report,
MIDUVI has been active in Guangaje in the construction of houses, MOP has been active
in road building, and MAG has been active in supporting agriculture and livestock projects.
Other state institutions that have been active in the area include the Emergency Social
Investment Fund (FISE) and the Ecuadorian Forestry Institute for Natural Areas and
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 85

Wildlife (INEFAN). FISE was involved in helping rebuild homes and build latrines after
the earthquake of 1996 and INEFAN has been active in protecting the natural resources in
the area and introducing llamingos.
The local governments have also contributed to some of the development in the
area. The Municipality of Pujilí has helped build a communal house and the Provincial
Council of Cotopaxi has helped with road building and classroom construction. The
Council of Guangaje has also been helpful in promoting services for the communities.
Despite this activity, in recent years, very few social projects have been carried out
in the area with direct government implementation.

6.2.2 Government Funding

At least two government funding agencies have been or will be involved in the
development of the area, namely the Fund for Marginal Urban and Rural Electrification
(FERUM) and the Marginal Rural Development Fund (FODERUMA). The FERUM has
been discussed briefly in section 6.1.2. The FODERUMA is a fund through the central
bank and has been involved in the development of potable water in Guangaje. A recent
addition to government agencies that might fund projects in the area is the Council of
Development of the Communities and Nationalities of Ecuador (CODENPE).
Foreign governments have contributed funds to development in the area through a
government to government funding mechanism. Some communities were electrified in
Guangaje in 2000 with funds from the Japanese embassy (UNORIG,1999). Other foreign
governments that are active in Ecuador include Canada and the United States through their
development agencies CIDA and USAID, respectively.
The law of Parish Councils stipulates that the Parish Councils must promote
development within their parish and they will have equal access to the general state budget
for the development of social works. The Council of Guangaje has been active in the area
and may be a good source for tapping into government funds. However, Manuel Tigasi
(2003) expressed that in his years as an official of the Parish Council, no funds were made
available for development projects and he didn‟t feel that was going to change.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 86

6.3 The Case for Non-Governmental Organization Implementation

The organizations that aren‟t related to governments can be divided into four
different categories: National Non-Governmental Organizations, Popular Organizations,
International Non-Governmental Organizations, Church Organizations and Private
Company Organizations. The table below shows the number of these organizations
operating in Ecuador in 2000 and the number of projects being executed.
Table 6.1: Organizations and projects under execution, January 2000.
Type of Organization Organizations Projects under execution
Number Percentage Number Percentage
National NGO‟s 675 65.34 318 70.04
Popular Organizations 210 20.33 39 8.60
International NGO‟s 75 7.26 79 17.40
Church Organizations 48 4.65 12 2.64
Private Sector Org. 25 2.42 6 1.32
Total 1033 100.00 454 100.00
Source: SIOS, 2000.

The national NGO‟s present the largest percentage of Development Organizations

working in Ecuador and have the largest share of projects. While some of them are strictly
provincial in nature (4 for Cotopaxi), a number of them are national in their character and
present a broad set of possibilities for implementing this project. Contact has been made
with FEDETA (Fundación Ecuatoriana de Tecnología Apropiada) and options are being
explored for implementation.
International multilateral cooperation agencies also present possibilities for
implementation of this project. International agencies that could offer help are the United
Nations Development Program (UNDP) with funds from the Global Environment Fund
(GEF) and the World Bank with funds from their Development Marketplace Competition
2003 (DM2003). The theme of DM2003 is Making Services Work for Poor People and
could present funding opportunities for this project (WBG. 2003). It is important to note
that most of these organizations have certain requirements for eligibility including public
participation and environmental impact studies. The case for public participation
requirements will be discussed in section 7.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 87

6.4 Summary of Implementation Options

It is clear that there are a number of opportunities for delivering the services described
in this paper. There are business opportunities using a business model such as Soluz and
there are opportunities of finding grants from the government or NGO‟s. Considering the
number of people that need to be served throughout Ecuador and in neighbouring countries,
a larger impact could be made with a sustainable implementation plan that did not depend
on grants. However, this would obviously mean a higher cost for services and may yield
some of the strategies discussed unviable. For this reason, it is important to develop
economic activities in the area as well to increase the purchasing power of the community
members. But starting such a business could be risky, so it would be wise to begin the
process with some kind of subsidy or grant to a private institution to offset some of the risk
and get the process moving forward.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 88

7 Community Assessment & Participation

Many development agencies have specific policies for public consultation or
participation in projects that will effect communities (Schwartz & Deruyttere, 1996 and
World Bank, Operations Policy Department, 1994). If funds are to be acquired from these
agencies, their specific guidelines must be followed. The reason for this requirement is
expressed well by Schwartz & Deruyttere (1996 pg. 1) “Experience has shown that top
down capital and technology transfers to developing nations are in themselves rarely
sufficient to alleviate poverty. Indeed, they may actually exacerbate economic inequities
and sociopolitical injustice.”
From an anthropological perspective, the knowledge of indigenous peoples should
be understood from their own praxis and not from the dominant rationality (Guerrero,
1993). Guerra Bravo (1987 as quoted in Guerrero, 1993, pg. 15) states that these
communities should be taken as peoples with a profound creating force “that retake their
traditions, practices, values and knowledge not only to resist but also to open a space for
themselves in the structure that dominates them.”
Chambers (1983) discusses two main cultures in rural development, namely,
negative academics and positive practitioners. The negative academics contribute by
criticizing the failures of rural development efforts while the positive practitioners are the
development workers and managers that see opportunities and make things happen. One
problem common to both cultures is that they have a top-down outsiders perspective.
Pluralism is described by Chambers (1983, pg. 44) as “an ideology based on doubt,
puzzlement, and agnostic openness to evidence and argument. It seeks enlightenment in
both poles of contrary views, in practice seeing error less in what people say than in their
condemnation of what others say. It is multidisciplinary by commitment.” This is the spirit
of the present work. But not only will the two outsider poles be considered but equal
importance will be given to what Chambers refers to as the third culture. While
anthropological and sociological studies are taken from the academic perspective and
practical advice from practitioners, the third culture of the rural people in Culatipo is the
true center of attention and enlightenment in the present work. The first part of the sections
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 89

that follow is an analysis of the published data and academic work to build a foundation for
the later sections of community involvement.

7.1 Identity and Culture

According to Guerrero (1993), the social accumulation of existence of the indigenous
peoples has been constructed from their daily knowledge and activities. Daily life is also a
space for the production of political and ideological aspects. This daily knowledge is not
only a representation of indigenous thought but also an instrument for resistance against the
hegemonic national state. Since this way of knowing is visible in every aspect of life as a
useful and necessary instrument, it cannot be a static yoke that ties them to the past but a
dialectic instrument that helps them find reference points for the future in their past.
Guerrero argues that culture is a creative response to life and in the case of indigenous
peoples in Ecuador has become an invaluable instrument for their transformation and social
resistance. Development workers must take care not to fall into the trap of cultural
determinism seeing a certain cultural aspect as definitive and static. We must also keep in
mind that culture is not only in linguistics but also in social, economic, political, and
ideological aspects.
It is important to keep in mind that identity and self affirmation is formed through
confrontation and negotiation with “the other”. The indigenous peoples have formed their
culture and identity through 500 years of resistance and insurgence with the dominant
culture in an effort to maintain their differentiated society and build upon what they were,
trying to understand what they are and projecting what they want to be (Guerrero, 1993).

7.2 Indigenous Peoples Reality in Ecuador

Before focusing on the peoples of the parish of Guangaje and the community of
Culatipo in particular, it is instructive to evaluate the situation of indigenous peoples in
Ecuador since this is a group that has come to achieve a great deal of political power in
Ecuador with its national organization CONAIE (National Confederation of Ecuadorian
Indigenous Peoples) and its political party Pachacutik. This indigenous movement was
successful in removing Abdalá Bucarám from the presidency of the country (CONAIE,
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 90

1998) and played a part in removing Jamil Mahuad from the same position years later. The
CONAIE has formed a project of a constitution of the state and achieved a number of
successes in introducing their agenda into the new constitution of Ecuador (see section 5).
In the preamble to their proposed constitution they state the following: “with the firm
conviction that the Plurinational State is the historic alternative for the search of the
common good and material, spiritual and cultural development of the people and groups;
convinced that the organization of the economy has as its highest mission to guarantee
solidarity, equity, as a base for the harmonic relationship between people and communities
and nature;” (CONAIE, 1998). According to Guerrero (1993, pg 28) “It is a proposal not
only for their own liberation but seeks unity and articulates the fight of all of the social
sectors, through a recognition of ethnic, regional, gender and class diversity. It proposes
the integral transformation of society.”

7.3 Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK)

Indigenous Technical Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge are

concepts that have recently received a good deal of attention from academics and are well
dispersed throughout the literature. “Traditional knowledge is knowledge that derives from
or is rooted in the traditional way of life of aboriginal people. Traditional knowledge is the
accumulated knowledge and understanding of the human place in relation to the universe.
This encompasses spiritual relationships, relationships with the natural environment and the
use of natural resources, relationships between people and is reflected in language, social
organization, values, institutions, and laws”. (Brockman & Iegar, 1991).

Lertzman (1998) compares traditional western science with traditional ecological

knowledge using an Epistemology-Cosmology-Ontology (ECO) analysis. The table below
shows the difference between the two systems of knowing.

Table 7.1: Epistemology-Cosmology-Ontology comparison of ways of knowing.

Traditional Western Science Traditional Ecological Knowledge Systems
Epistemology: Causal-Reductionist-Empiricism Epistemology: Holistic/Participatory
Subject-object separation as a basis of knowing Connection/Participation of “knower” and
Objectivity in the “value-free” rigour of the “known”
scientific method: reductionism, measurement, Empirical observation and deduction, intuitive,
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 91

falsification, replication body-based and other spiritual modalities

Epistemology of the sacred
Cosmology: Mechanistic/Materialist Cosmology: Spiritual/Organic
The universe if formed of inert matter, governed A living universe created by a Supreme Being
by independent, mathematically verifiable whose ways are revealed through participation
principles with all forms of life.
Ontology: Truncated/Anthropocentric Ontology: Animistic/Wholeness
Mind and matter are separate All things are part of the Creator, all life is
Being is exhibited by cognitive functions of the imbued with Spirit
brain, the apex of which is human reason The earth is alive
Humans are one kind of being amongst others
in the Great Being.
Source: Lertzman, 1998.

A good example of the traditional knowledge in the Andean highland is the use of
locally named varieties or cultivars of potatoes. There are up to one hundred in any one
locality and several thousand in the central Andes alone and the Andean farmers select
potatoe varieties based on several criteria (Brush, 1980 as quoted in Chambers, 1983).
Additionally, local medicines have been used for ages amongst the people of Guangaje and
continue to be used. However, Chambers (1983) also points out that there are a number of
harmful beliefs such as the belief that reducing the intake of liquids for someone with
diarrhea will cure them because less going in means less going out.

It is important not to overemphasize the importance of one system of knowing over

another but rather see how the two systems can contribute to and enhance the other.
Lertzman (1998) speaks of bridging between these two ways of knowing. Considering the
case of water supply, it would be very difficult to design a pumping system, a tank and the
tubing system using TEK as described in the table above. Western science and engineering
must be used for this purpose. Where indigenous knowledge can contribute is in the social
and cultural aspects of water supply. For example, it may be the case that women gathering
around the water hole is a social event of importance for the community and providing a
water supply system to the home would have to consider replacing this social event.
Additionally, there may be sacred areas where the tank and tubes should not cross. It may
also be the case that taking all of the water from the spring will compromise wildlife further
down the ravine that depended on this water run off. Patricia Boheme, a development
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 92

worker with considerable time immersed in the culture, suggests that indigenous
technology can also be helpful in the ditch digging phase for the tubes (Boheme, 2003).

For the different services provided, there are a number of possible negative
outcomes if the social and cultural system of the people is neglected. These can only be
known with an in depth public participation in the design phase.

7.4 Rapid Rural Appraisal

Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) has been used extensively in development projects. It
avoids the extremes of development tourism and the long and drawn out studies that lack in
implementation. Techniques of RRA include using existing published information,
identifying and learning from key informants, direct observation, asking questions, guided
interviews, and group interviews or public hearings (Chambers, 1983). The following
sections are the results of some of these techniques used for this project.

7.4.1 Local History

While there is evidence that there where sedentary agricultural based communities
in Ecuador as far back as 8000 B.C. it doesn‟t appear that this type of life style existed in
the Andean region until 1000 B.C. (Ayala Mora, 1991). The complex systems of terraces
and irrigation systems seem to have been used no earlier than 800 A.C. From the
beginning of organized society in Ecuador until the arrival of the Incas, a great number of
political tribes with their distinctive structures had been formed throughout the coast,
Amazon and highlands of Ecuador. The groups made political alliances through reciprocity
and the exchange of goods.(Ayala Mora, 1991).
Topa Inca Yupanqui was the emperor of the growing Inca empire from 1471 to
1493 during which time the Incan expansion reached Ecuador. The relationship between
the empire and the local political groups during this period was mostly through interchange
of goods and reciprocity with some dominance from the Incas and gradually incorporating
their new “partner” into their state apparatus and eventually crushing them if they presented
any resistance. Under Topa Inca Yupanqui‟s successor, Huayna Cápac, who reigned from
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 93

1493 to 1527, the Spanish arrived to the empire under Francisco Pizarro and defeated the
Incas with the death of the two disputing successors of Huayna Cápac (Ayala Mora, 1991).
Despite the brief reign of the Inca empire in Ecuador their language has been widespread
throughout the region with most of the Andean indigenous people and many Amazonian
indigenous people speaking Quichua including the communities in Guangaje.
Due to the lack of written history in the area prior to the arrival of the Spaniards to
the area in 1527 there is little available history on the area of Guangaje prior to
colonization. Some historians have tried to rebuild the history of the area using written
logs of Spanish missionaries and soldiers. Despite the lack of chronicles related to the area
and the absence of archaeological studies there is some evidence that Latacunga was the
site of an important ethnic chief that was later annexed to the Incan empire. Latacunga
later became an important administrative center for the Incas equal in importance to those
in Quito and Tomebamba (Cieza de León, 1941 as cited in Ayala Mora, 1991). The local
customs and organizational systems were respected in order to reduce opposition. Chiefs
of the ethnic groups were given special privileges under the Inca empire and encouraged to
cooperate. However, the constant rivalries within the ethnic lineages appear in the judicial
documents of the Spanish colony.
During colonial times, Guangaje formed part of an hacienda given as an
encomienda to the Augustine order of priests. This was a period of brutal exploitation
which decreased the numbers of the indigenous people in the area but increased the number
of insurgent responses. After the expulsion of the Jesuit order in 1767 the other orders
began to enter into relationships with rich Spanish land owners, transferring some of their
land holdings. As a result, the hacienda of which Guangaje was a part was turned over to a
Spanish land owner, Juan Pío Montúfar. This regime was as repressive as the last but to
make things worse, the San Basilio school created by the Augustine‟s was done away with
(Guerrero, 1993).
Despite the concrete contribution of the indigenous peoples of the area and
throughout Ecuador to the fight for Independence and the creation of a sovereign state, the
situation of misery and oppression of these people did not change. The structure of the
hacienda remained the same as in the colonial period. The hacienda of Zumbahua and
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 94

Guangaje came under rule of the “Law of dead hands” becoming part of the properties of
the Social Assistance Council. The administration of the hacienda was given to renters and
were administered through caretakers and foreman that continued the exploitation of the
indigenous people (Guerrero, 1993). The people of Guangaje were subjected to a grueling
regime of work every day of the week and as a strategy of escape, many headed to the
páramos where they were later chased, captured and subsequently tortured.
Starting from 1940, the fight for land became the main focus of the insurgent
activity of the people continuing until the arrival of the Agrarian Reform. The Ecuadorian
Federation of Indians (FEI) achieved important advances in their fight with the passing of
the 1964 Agrarian Reform Law. The hacienda was broken up and distributed in
huasipungos, yanaperos and communal lands. These individual land holdings started a
process of local organizational development and ethnic identity. With the downfall of the
haciendas, a differentiated ethnic identity was made possible provoking the search for a
project of self-development which led to the formation of the Indigenous Schools Systems
to combat the high level of illiteracy (Guerrero, 1993). Other victories of the indigenous
people in Ecuador include the reforms in the Constitution of Ecuador of 1998 and the
Parish Council Law passed in 2000 (see section 5.4).

7.4.2 Current Situation

Some of the problems encountered in the community and their consequences are
discussed in section 3 in the problem analysis. This section seeks to outline some of the
general characteristics of the community that will help in structuring the services and their
management systems. This section will also help in achieving a more relevant and
inclusive participatory process. Economy & Commerce

In order to begin to understand some of the issues around economy and commerce
of the area, it is important to understand the guiding philosophy behind the indigenous
culture. Their culture is not one of individualism and accumulation of wealth as is evident
in the dominant society. The Andean mindset is one of developing a capacity to operate the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 95

accumulated wisdom and memory of the people for their interrelation with nature
(Guerrero, 1993). It is a culture of knowing how to optimize the resources provided by the
environment as a function of the vital needs of the community. It is based on community
welfare with a strategy of subsistence that is based on the family unit and the extended
family through marriages and the use of godfathers and godmothers to extend the
productive base. It is based on the ancient systems of reciprocity and redistribution used not
only during Inca times but also before that in the era of the ethnic chieftains.
Since the fall of the hacienda system and the disappearance of the colonial
economic system, the indigenous communities have been subject to a new logic of
domination from the dominant society in terms of predatory capitalism in activities such as
commercializing their products with usurious profits. The indigenous organizations sought
to confront this situation by creating their own commercialization network, breaking the
One mechanism used by the regional organization, the Jatun Ayllu (Big Family), in
charge of commercializing local products is the M.C.C.H (Maquita Cushunchig). The
M.C.C.H. (Lets do commerce as brothers) is a commercialization system that began in
1983 with the participation of the parish of Guangaje, Zumbahua, and Chugchilán.
Currently it includes most of the region and has also been extended throughout the nation.
It is a system of autonomous control of the agricultural production of the area destining the
products first to local consumption needs with the excess being commercialized outside the
region. The revenue from the products commercialized outside the region are put into a
“community fund” to contribute to the increasing of the communal stores. The M.C.C.H.
operates under a real democratic system with the representatives being elected at periodic
reunions. The funds have also contributed to the development of local projects, training,
and social welfare including aid to widows, orphans, elderly, the sick and others.
Another important aspect of the economy of the area is the fair. The fair has been
used since well before colonial times but with the introduction of capitalism, it suffered a
clear transformation. For a certain period, the fair became a way for white-mestizo
merchants to exploit the people of the region (Guerrero, 1993). The dominant society
would charge the indigenous people a tax to use a space in their own market. With the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 96

development of the Jatun Ayllu and the M.C.C.H. the people were able to fight for local
control over the fair and currently the communities are the ones that charge taxes for the
use of the space and administrate the services and activities related to the fair. The
different commissions of the cabildo are responsible for such things as water and control of
commercialization. The retaking of control of the fair must be seen as another victory for
the indigenous people in the history of their resistance and insurgence.
The economic activities of the indigenous people in the region are discussed in
chapter 4 but of special importance are the painters. It has been established that non-
agricultural or livestock activities in the area are minimal and the economies of the area
depend on the land. But one economic activity that has allowed people in the region to
make a living without having to migrate to the cities and without having to depend totally
on the land is painting. Guerrero(1993) writes “The development of painting has made
possible the reduction of the obligation of continual migration. Now their outings are
sporadic and of short times in order to sell their paintings directly.” This trend shows the
importance of developing local non-agricultural economic activities. Besides those
economic activities outlined in chapter 4, Manuel Tigasi (2003) has suggested that some
other industries that the community is interested in are: shoe making, hat making,
carpentry, and textiles. Indigenous School Systems

After the indigenous victory in terms of land ownership, the people embarked on a
new challenge of making the educational system relevant to them and ensuring that it could
maintain their culture as well as educate them to more effectively negotiate with the
dominant society. The indigenous schools were born of “putting heads together” within the
community and did not come from a government mandate. The school system became a
kind of response to life problems seeking solutions to water, health, commercial
exploitation, etc.
Every strategy for domination must seek to undermine the symbolic axis of the
people it seeks to dominate. One important symbol and aspect of identity for the
indigenous communities is their own language. Despite attempts by the government to
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 97

undermine indigenous languages, preserving them has been a priority for maintaining or
remaking the indigenous identity. This is an important aspect of the indigenous schooling
system that is bilingual and seeks to propagate the symbols and language of their culture.
In time, the bilingual character of the schools was transformed into an intercultural
character teaching both the ways and language of the dominant society as well as the way
of life and language of the indigenous culture. This indigenous schooling system currently
extends throughout the province of Cotopaxi and controls the educational process cycle
(Guerrero, 1993). Some of the studies and thesis of students in the bilingual schools are
aimed at recovering ancient technologies of subsistence and seeking to recover their history
and customs. The next challenge that the indigenous organizations are taking on is the
incorporation of some of these ideas into the institutions of higher learning. It is important
to note, however, that these groups are also trying to avoid falling into the trap of
ethnocentrism. In the words of Angel Ramírez (as quoted in Guerrero, 1993, pg. 74) “…
but we don‟t want to fall into what would be a cult to culture; it would be culturism,
indigenism; we would fall to the other side of the donkey …”.
Despite the strength and relevance of the indigenous schools, the state has imposed
its own schooling system in the area in order to “civilize” the indigenous people. In the
parish of Guangaje, 13 of the 22 communities have schools with 10 of them being
indigenous schools and 3 are Hispanic state run schools (UNORIG, 1999). Housing & Construction

The housing construction in the area varies considerably. Most of the houses were
made of compacted soil walls and thatched roofs before the earthquake of 1996. The
earthquake caused significant damage to many of these structures. NGO‟s and government
emergency agencies helped to reconstruct the area with cement block constructions and
more solid structures. However, a number of the older style buildings that survived the
earthquake remain in the area to this day. Figure 7.1 shows the extremes of the
constructions styles used in the area.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 98

Figure 7.1: Pictures showing the variety of construction used in the community.

Due to the autonomy given to the indigenous people in the constitution and the
apparent lack of interest in the area by the government, housing codes and standards have
little effect on how buildings are actually constructed. Improving housing codes or
enforcing existing codes would have a positive effect on quality of life in terms of safety
and comfort and possibly even in generating demand for locally made products as outlined
in section 4.8.2. However, it would have a negative effect in that the extended families
would have to remain crowded in small houses for longer periods of time until sufficient
funds could be raised to construct the home to standards. Gender Issues

According to the FODERUMA report, about 95% of the indigenous land owners in
the area own parcels of less than 5 ha (FODERUMA, 1992 as quoted in Guerrero, 1993).
This situation leads to a crisis in the area because the productive units (families) do not
have enough resources for their subsistence provoking a high incidence of temporary
migration to the urban centers as well as the incorporation of pasture lands into the farmed
Due to the high migration rate, mostly of males, the role of the woman in the family
has changed. The women take on responsibilities that were once the domain of men
including agricultural work on the parcel and communal tasks. They are also responsible
for the care taking of the children, the purchase and preparation of food, clothes washing,
and for obtaining water and firewood. The herding of livestock was traditionally a female
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 99

task which has been put into the hands of children and older people with the increasing
custom of the free pasturing of animals.
The role of women is not only important in the economy of the family, the focal
point of the community, but also in the process of socialization and the transmission of
cultural values and customs since she is the one that spends most of her time with the
children. Due to their exhausting work, the development of women within the community
suffers most. They have fewer opportunities for education (illiteracy is higher for women
than men) and usually women only speak Quichua. As a consequence of their lower
educational level and their higher level of responsibility within the community, they rarely
go to the cities and find themselves tied to their parcels. The indigenous school system has
tried to remedy this problem by offering training courses for women. However, the success
of these efforts have been limited due to the occasional presence of the women students due
to their lack of time (Guerrero, 1993). According to Guerrero (1993), the issue of gender
equality is important to the community and they are continually seeking solutions to the
problem since the unity and equilibrium of the genders cannot be outside of a future
political project. Indigenous Organizations and UNORIG

With the end of the hacienda system, the indigenous peoples demanded that the land
be divided into communes with the objective of maintaining their own forms of
organization (Guerrero, 1993). They have also demanded that their towns or villages be
administered and directed by indigenous people that are democratically elected for their
roles. But the government sought to maintain its power by installing their own officials in
the area. As a result their was a rupture in the configuration of power in the area with the
indigenous organizations on one hand and the established state political order on the other.
The indigenous people realized that without an education that allowed them to be able to
read and write in Spanish, they would not be able to effectively confront the menace of the
dominant society and so the Indigenous Schooling System took on a political character.
According to Guerrero (1993), the cooperative is another attempt of the state to
impose its logic of capitalism on the community and the community confronted it. He goes
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 100

as far as to say that the cooperative was a way for the state to try to break the indigenous
organizations in order to assimilate these groups into the state apparatus. The cooperative
failed because in an effort to preserve their identity, the indigenous people rejected it and
fortified their own institutions. Guerrero also argues that government led development
projects were another mechanism for trying to institute state power in the area.
Any development effort that does not take into account the capacity of the
indigenous organizations as new social actors to reprocess what comes from the outside and
mold it to their needs and develop development projects on their own would be to
undermine years of resistance and successes achieved by the groups. Not only that, it
would certainly fail due to a lack of buy-in as can be seen by the cooperative system
imposed by the state.
The political power in the indigenous communities is found in the cabildo and is the
authority of the distinct communities tied together through relationships of family lineages
with the matrilineal linkages being as important as patrilineal linkages. In this way, the
communities have structured a representative political form that reflects the matrices of
their ancient cultures. Those with more extensive families have a broader base of power.
However, power is also given to the elders as a way to preserve the collective memory.
The president of the cabildo is the maximum authority that administrates its commissions
in charge of specific areas such as: agriculture, grazing, control of commercialization,
water, cemetery, community work organization, education, health, among others. The
members of the commissions change weekly as a way to redistribute and share power
(Guerrero, 1993).
The Parish evolved as a political structure imposed by the government to try and
govern an increasingly powerful indigenous sector. It became the new focal point for the
functioning of social, economic, and political interrelations to modernize rural sectors. It
became and intermediary between the dominant society and the indigenous community
with all of the corresponding conflicts. The administrators and officials that formed part of
the Parish structure were white-mestizo and represented the interests of the dominant
society and contradicted the indigenous will. This political structure went into direct
conflict with the cabildo which represented the communities not only through
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 101

democratically elected officials but through consensus on decision making. This conflict
ended in another victory for the indigenous people in that they forced the state to have
indigenous leaders at the head of the Parish and that they would be chosen by the people of
the communities (Guerrero, 1993). With the change in leadership, these two political
forms, the cabildo and the Parish, began to work together to control speculative activities of
the outsider businessmen as well as to promote development in the region and control the
outcomes of the development efforts so that they truly benefit the whole community and
not a select few.
The Union de Organizaciones Indígenas Rumiñahui Guangaje (UNORIG) is an
OSG that began its life in 1989 with 10 base organizations (communities). At the time of
writing of the Development Plan Report, there were 20 organizations as part of the
UNORIG. The initial years for the organization (1989 to 1992) were characterized by
strong support from NGO‟s and a consequent growth in activities and strength as well as
interrelations with the Indigenous Movement of Cotopaxi (MIC) and neighboring OSGs.
The period from 1992 to 1996 marks a time when the support from the NGOs is less
pronounced and the base organizations began to act on their behalf with a consequent
weakening of the UNORIG. The earthquake in 1996 forced the leaders to coordinate
among the base organizations and negotiate for development and relief. The period from
1996 to 1999 marks increasing activity and strengthening of the UNORIG as it incorporates
itself into movements such as ECUARRUNARI and CONAIE (UNORIG, 1999). At the
time of writing of the Development Plan for the area, the UNORIG was still not considered
a legal organization. In order for their development plan to be recognized as a document
from a legal entity, they partnered with Heifer international. The Plan was developed with
the support of PRODEPINE with two technical assistants and 6 indigenous promoters. The
administration of the UNORIG is composed of one president, one vice-president, one
treasurer, one secretary and representatives from each community. They are elected at a 3
to 4 day congress held every four years. Appendix 7 shows a SWOT analysis of the
UNORIG as documented in the Local Development Plan of 1999.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 102

7.4.3 Stakeholders
The community of Culatipo is comprised of about 30 families in 19 households with
a total of about 110 people. This community and others are shown in the table below. The
numbers for the community of Culatipo in the table are different from what was seen
during the site visit and in discussions with Manuel Tigasi. There is no clear explanation as
to why the demographic information is different in the UNORIG (1999) report.
Table 7.2: Communities in the parish of Guangaje
Community # of # of # of Latrines Elect Water
houses families inhabitant
Cochumbo 38 38 145 Yes No Yes
Tingo 24 24 78 Yes NA No
Guayama Grande 30 30 147 No NA Yes
Anchi Quilotoa 210 80 417 No NA Yes
8 de Septiembre 48 45 223 Yes Yes Yes
Chilcanchi 27 17 88 Yes No Yes
Cashapata 90 54 329 Yes NA Yes
Colatipo 14 14 62 Yes No Yes
S.J. de Rumipamba 66 44 246 No NA Yes
Curingue 48 34 161 Yes NA Yes
Chugchilan pamba 15 17 76 Yes Soon Yes
Guayama Chuquirapamba 14 13 56 Yes NA Yes
Hospital 37 40 253 Yes Soon Yes
Huayrapungo 48 47 262 Yes Soon Yes
Candela faso 38 23 136 No NA No
Rompe ingapirca 69 27 143 No Soon Yes
25 de diciembre 144 142 830 Yes Soon Yes
S.J. de Cuadrapamba 18 18 107 No NA Yes
Centro Guangaje 111 89 417 Yes Yes Yes
Salamalag Chico 99 61 364 No NA No
Total 1188 857 4540 13 of 20 17 of 20
Source: UNORIG, 1999.

This information is given to show the other communities that might claim a stake in
the project and demand the services for themselves. The table gives some indication of the
services the communities have and which ones will be seeking the services. While most of
the communities are said to have water, the infrastructure is old and without maintenance.
So, while the table gives rough information, it does not give a full picture of the situation.
In terms of electrification, when the UNORIG report was done in 1999, none of the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 103

communities were electrified. Now some of them have received the service through
government to government funding from Japan and others are on the list of FERUM (Fund
for electrification of rural and marginalized urban communities) to get the services in 2003.
Aside from the communities within the parish of Guangaje, other surrounding
parishes could be salient stakeholders to a lesser extent.
Other potential stakeholders, but not necessarily salient, are numerous and with
differing interests. Table 2 below gives a list of some of the organizations and agencies
that have worked in the area and may have interests in the project.
Table 7.3: External stakeholders with previous activities in the area
Institution/Agency Activities
MIDUVI Construction of houses
PROFAFOR Forestation
CAAP Forestation
FUNADE Latrines
FISE Classrooms, Latrines
MATOGROSO Health center, potable water, housing,
latrines, child care
FEPP Church
Municipio Pujilí Communal house
Consejo Provincial Cotopaxi Road building, classrooms
GTZ Construction of classrooms
VISION MUNDIAL Communal house, purchasing of land,
potable water, latrines.
MOP Road building
FODERUMA Potable water
SWISSAID Forestation
INEFAN Introduction of llamingos, protection of
natural resources
Japanese-Ecuadorian Governments Electrification
MAG Organizational support
UNORIG Planning and development
Ministry of agriculture and livestock Support of agriculture and livestock
PRODEPINE Support of local initiatives for self-
Council of Guangaje Promotes provision of services to the
University of San Francisco of Quito Education, Planning, support for
Source: UNORIG,1999

Other stakeholders are mentioned in section 6.1.3.

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 104

7.4.4 Maps & Diagrams

Chambers (1991) speaks of using participatory mapping as a Rapid Rural Appraisal
technique. Segarra & Gearheard (2000) outline a methodology for participatory mapping
that is being used in an ecological management project through the Universidad de San
Francisco de Quito. The technicians go to the area and walk the territory with community
members explaining the use of each area. In the project in question the student technicians
took GPS points for each field, house and community limits as well as soil samples. The
idea was to make a land use map based on community input and a separate physiotopic
map based on ecological variables. The two maps are then crossed to provide the
ecological and land use information on one map. The variants of maps resulting from the
crossing of the two earlier maps are: Local perception map, Blind Matrix, Ecological
Stoplight Map. The local perception map is a map used by the community to determine if
its management objectives are being completed. The blind matrix map is used by the
technicians to determine the relationship between an ecological feature and the land use.
The Ecological Stoplight map is used to highlight areas of concern with red, areas of
potential concern with orange and the areas of no conflict with green.
The information from the early participatory mapping process was used for the
design of the grid and the design of the water systems in Appendices 3 and 6. The maps in
appendices 8, 9, and 10 were taken from the UNORIG report which used 6 indigenous
participants in the study.

7.4.5 Key Information Interviews

This project was initiated with some early informal interviews with the leaders of
Culatipo and others within the community. The information from the original interviews
was used for the feasibility studies and problem analysis. Throughout the study, another
key informant used was Patricia Boehme who is a development worker who has lived for
extended periods of time within the community. Between the initial public consultations
and the final community involvement that have been carried out for this project, a list of
key questions were sent with Patricia to Manuel Tigasi (the community leader) in order to
obtain some much needed guidance from the community. The letter with the questions in
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 105

shown in appendix 11. The answers to those questions have been used throughout this
According to Boehme (2001), some of the priorities for the community are in
education, training and leadership building. For this reason the results of the first phases of
this project were presented to some of the community members in the form of an
educational seminar after which the participants were asked to express their views about
priorities and management mechanisms for maintaining the services.

7.5 Educational Seminar & Final Meetings

An educational seminar was carried out near the end of the project discussing the
energy technologies reviewed here including energy efficiency and water conservation.
Some of the victories of the indigenous movement in the area were outlined both to get
feedback about how the community felt about the successes as well as to reinforce their
ability of self-organization. The outline of the seminar is shown in Appendix 12.
The seminar was held with the participation of many of the community members.
There were roughly 50 members of the community present at the meeting including 30 men
and 20 women. The investigator led the meeting with some translation done by Manuel
Tigasi. Manuel Tigasi is the president of Culatipo and has been involved as a leader in the
Parish Council and the UNORIG. He also acts as the head of a loose confederation of 7 of
the poorest communities in the parish of Guangaje. The investigators wife was also present
and presented a few of the technological options in an attempt to engage the women in the
discussion. The lack of participation of the women will be commented on in one of the
following sections.
In the list of questions that was sent to Manuel Tigasi with Patricia Boeheme several
months before the final meetings and seminar, he was asked as where he would like to have
the meeting held. The options were to have the meeting in Guangaje center where a laptop
and a projector could be used to present the information or we could have the meeting in
the community house in Culatipo during daylight hours and print outs could be provided to
everyone. The community opted for the latter of the two so 50 people crammed into a
small dark adobe edifice at a central point of the community.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 106

The period in which the seminar was given corresponded to a time when many of the
community members had migrated to the cities to work. In the future these aspects should
be given more attention but due to the deadlines imposed for this thesis, there were no
viable alternatives. In terms of the duration of the combined meeting and seminar, it was
projected to last 3 hours starting at 1:00 pm but due to lengthy discussions, the meeting
lasted for 6 hours after which time the women left to prepare a meal and the people in
attendance from adjacent communities left to begin their hour long hike home. But the
discussions continued as the women cooked and even while eating the potatoes and pasta
These later discussions had some relevance to the topics discussed during the day but
were largely entertaining and of a more general character. Manuel Tigasi told a number of
stories of his days on the Parish Council and as a community leader in general. It was
striking to realize the effort put forth by this man in his attempt to improve the lot for his
children and his community. He spoke of times when he had to walk half a day to get into
the administrative centers of the country to do paper work and seek development aid.
Then, once in the cities, he was greeted with indifference and often time corrupt officials.
He would rent lodging with more similarity to a barn than an inn and would go several days
without eating. He commented that things haven‟t really changed much since those days.
Although, the indigenous movement is much larger and the different indigenous
nationalities help each other more.

7.5.1 Participation of Women

While many women were present for the seminar and the subsequent discussions,
they rarely if ever voluntarily offered their opinions. Part of this could be due to the fact
that many of them know very little Spanish. In an effort to get their participation, their
opinions were specifically solicited on a number of issues and the questions were translated
to Quichua.
All of the women agreed that their workload was overwhelming when the men were
in the cities working. They were asked why they no longer engage in the economic activity
of textile work and the consensus was that there were two basic reasons: 1) most of the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 107

community dressed with western dress and the traditional garments were “out of style”, and
2) they didn‟t have enough time due to the increased work load with the absence of the
There were times when the community members spoke Quichua amongst themselves
to discuss one of the issues presented in the seminar. Even during these times, it was very
rare that women spoke up. It was also interesting to see that all the men sat on one side of
the room on the benches and the women sat mostly on the floor on the other side of the

7.5.2 Community Perception of Causes of Poverty

As part of the seminar, a list of the causes of poverty outlined in section 3.4 of this
report were given to the community members and they were encouraged to identify and
discuss the relevance of each of the causes to their particular situation. It is interesting to
note that for the physical causes of poverty they suggested that all of them applied to them
except overgrazing and disease vectors. The lower disease vectors is probably accurate
since they live in a colder, high altitude climate where there are less mosquitoes and other
disease carrying insects. Overgrazing may not be such a large problem since few families
have sheep and llamas but the potential for this problem exists.
In terms of social causes of poverty, they agreed that lack of cooperation, dependent
attitudes, superstitions, legacies of colonialism, and large families did not apply to them
while corruption, lack of education, lack of social services and gender division of labor
were all important contributors to their poverty. From observation of the community, it
seems that lack of cooperation and dependent attitudes are truly not a problem since they
are well organized and bring the community together to build social works. However, it
seems that large families is a large problem with one member having 11 children. It is
important to educate the communities as to the problem of exponential population growth.
In the realm of political causes, the community identified all of the problems listed
in table 2.1 as problems with the exception of lack of law and order, lack of participation
and poor administration. They explained that the indigenous people of the area are
permitted by law to execute their own system of justice and order. They explained a case
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 108

of a robbery after which the accused was flogged and humiliated. There have been two
such cases in the region and the community is convinced that this system works well and
they have few problems in this respect. They also felt that everyone in the community
participated in political decisions. This aspect of community life was witnessed by the
investigator at a community assembly in the adjacent community the morning before the
educational seminar. In the assembly they spoke of development issues in the community
and anyone could speak up. At the community level, they felt their administration system
was quite effective but the upper levels of administration in the ranks of government
officials were corrupt and in some cases, inept.
In the economic aspects of the causes of poverty listed in table 2.1, they agreed that
all of the causes applied to them. Although a few people argued that the community had
reasonable management skills and with the proper funding and other requirements, they
were quite capable of handling projects on their own. This can be evidenced in the
community mingas where the whole community comes together to work on a project – to
have the success that they have been able to achieve, there must be some people in the
community with reasonable management skills. One case in point is the community
bathroom that was constructed rather quickly from donated cement and other materials;
even the design was done by a community member that has experience in construction.
There was a consensus on the fact that dollarization had worsened their economic situation
and things had gotten much harder since that economic measure was taken by the central

7.5.3 Community Ranking of Services and Technologies

One of the objectives of the final meetings with the community was to determine the
priorities they had for the different services studied in this paper and get feedback on
which technologies they thought would be most suitable for the different services. They
ranked the services in the following order:
1. Electrification
2. Improved Water System
3. Water Heating
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 109

4. Cooking Alternatives
5. Home Heating
Electrification was unanimously ranked as the number one service that the community
wanted. While they were informed of the different alternatives analyzed here, they had
begun a process of soliciting the service through the central government and funding would
most likely be available using grid electrification. Additionally they expressed interest in
starting industries in the area and would need a system that they could easily consume more
energy without having to upgrade the equipment.
The improved water system was important for everyone and all of the alternatives
were presented to them. They are beginning to understand the concept of high electric bills
due to the electrification of some of the surrounding communities. For this reason they
understood comments about a more expensive initial cost system that would cost very little
to operate. Most of those in attendance expressed interest in the mechanical-wind pump
and they were given the contact information for the supplier. They also seemed to prefer
the idea of a ferro-cement water tank rather than a polyethylene tank.
It was rather interesting that they placed water heating as the number three priority
since no mention was made of it before. Most of the people in attendance expressed the
discomfort of bathing with cold water in their climate and there were several light-hearted
comments about the frequency of bathing. They were most fascinated by the solar water
heating systems and want to put one on their community bathroom as a trial to get familiar
with the technology.
The low ranking of improved wood stoves may be due to the low awareness of
health problems from wood smoke and the advantages that could be obtained from a more
efficient stove. One community member in particular was very interested in the Justa Stove
described in section 4. He wanted all of the design plans so that he could construct his
own. He explained that they used to use a different method and then a new way using three
stones was presented to the community and disseminated throughout the region. He
suggested this improved stove could be the next generation and was very thankful for
having been introduced to it.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 110

Home heating was the last on the list probably because they currently use the
traditional wood stove to heat their homes. According to Stuart Conway (2003) the Justa
Stove does not release much heat into the homes so if this stove was adopted into the
community, measures should be taken to try to use the exhaust gas from the chimney to
heat the home. For future buildings, the building should be designed to take advantage of
solar insolation.
After the different technologies had been presented, a number of the members asked
questions to get a better understanding of the particular technology. For a number of the
technologies that were mentioned in passing as potential future opportunities such as fuel
cells and Stirling generators, the comments were more along the lines of “I don‟t
understand this at all”. The explanation was given in such a way as to explain the function
and the usefulness of the technology without going in to too much in depth into technical
aspects. It was made clear to them that it was not important that they understand how it
works, just that it could be a future option to provide a particular service.
The rain water harvesting system also sparked a good deal of interest and
discussion. They asked several questions and so they were taken through the calculations
on the chalk board of how to size the tank. With the information they gave of having three
to four months with no significant rainfall, the tank design for each individual home would
have been the same size as the tank design for the entire community using the spring

7.6 Local Management of Services

Once the services have been provided, the operation, maintenance and administration
are crucial to a continuing quality service. The management system for each of the
technologies deemed most desirable from the social, economic and technical perspectives is
discussed below.
For the electric service using the grid, there is very little local management that will
need to be done. The electric company of Latacunga is responsible for maintaining a
quality service and any maintenance requires technical expertise. Having local technicians
try to fix high voltage wires presents an unnecessary risk. However, the community can be
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 111

active in helping each other maintain low electricity bills and select appropriate appliances.
In the educational seminar, emphasis was made on the importance of efficient equipment to
keep costs down. If a few community members could be trained with respect to energy
efficiency, they could disseminate the information throughout the community helping
everyone keep their utility bills down.
The water service could be completely managed within the community. This would
include technical maintenance, billing, paying salaries and possibly servicing debts. While
some community members have experience in bring the community together to work on
social works, it is not likely they have a good grasp of managing billing, calculating tariffs
and managing payrolls. If this service was to be provided and a tariff were to be charged, a
crucial element of a sustainable service is education and training. Too often, only technical
training is thought of in this type of situation but it is clear that managerial education is
extremely important as well. However, the complexity of the situation should not be
underestimated. The culture is one that has functioned by contributing time and energy in
community work teams not one that has typically paid a fee for service. They may have
their own ideas about how they can manage the project that will work just as well as any
external method and the development worker should not only be sensitive to this but
encourage it as well. Any system that comes from within will likely work better than a
system imposed on them due largely to buy-in from the community.
The water heating system is not a service that needs a complex management or
maintenance structure. They are individual units that can be bought in Quito and
transported to the area, installed and left to operate indefinitely. Occasional maintenance
may be necessary so some training may be necessary for a few of the community members.
Each household could buy their own when they have saved enough money and if they feel
it is necessary. The manufacturer should offer some sort of guarantee so that if anything
happens, the manufacturer will repair damage.
The improved wood stove will require training of a few handy people in the
community so that they can begin constructing the stoves for those who can afford the
materials and the labor. Additionally, the people who construct the stoves should instruct
the users as to how to maintain the stoves to keep the stoves operating at optimal efficiency.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 112

For the case of local industries, the management aspects become much more complex
and critical. Any products coming from a local industry need to be of high quality in order
for the business to survive. Maintaining high product quality is not a trivial matter and
requires at least a moderately complex quality assurance program. This would require
extensive training and possibly even an outside quality consultant on location for a period
of time. It is unclear whether a cooperative structure would work or not since according to
Guerrero (1993) the communities of the area rejected such a system imposed by the state.
If a cooperative structure is attempted, it is of utmost importance to let the community
members decide how it will be structured and who will lead it.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 113

8 Conclusions and Recommendations

Poverty alleviation has been identified as an important goal in the struggle for
sustainable development (Ryan, 2001). But poverty alleviation is more than just providing
services or increasing incomes. The World Development Report indicates that
powerlessness, voicelessness, and vulnerability are also elements of poverty (WBG, 2000).
In order to contribute to the increasing of the well-being of poor people, it is important to
determine their priorities and their goals as a community. Cultural barriers limit us from
seeing what some of the real issues are in the communities. For these reasons, it is
extremely important to involve the community in the planning, design, implementation, and
operation phases of any projects that are intended to help them.
While the overall methodology for this work has been guided by previous work by
Burkey, Chambers, Whyte, and others, there has been a significant deviation from the
accepted norm in this work. The deviation has to do with the educational aspects of the
project. While the literature emphasizes community participation, it tends to lead to a focus
on specifying the technologies and including the public in the design and implementation.
This project has involved the public in the conceptualization and planning stages as well
and includes an educational aspect where the community is educated as to the alternatives
available to them and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The generalized model used in this project is an identification of the problems
followed by a technical and economic analysis of the alternatives. Then the legal
framework is studied and the options for implementation identified including strategies and
funding options. Although the public participation and community appraisal was done
throughout the project starting in the problem identification, the bulk of the public
participation was done when the information from all of the previous activities was
available. The reason for this was to have a dialogue with the community at the end of the
project with the investigator providing the previously discovered information and the
community providing feedback as to how the technologies and implementation options
would work for them and how they prioritize the services.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 114

While no funds were extended for the implementation of this project, the
community was educated as to their options, who to contact for more information and the
agencies or institutions that could be approached for funds. It is important to note that one
government development agency, CODENPE, requires that the community itself apply for
the funds in order to lead to autonomous development and move away from paternalistic
patterns of development.
The methodology used in this project is considered to be general enough to be used
in other communities within the region and also in other regions. The services discussed
are universal and they are needs held in common by all of humanity with the exception of
home heating, which would not be necessary in warmer climates. The technologies include
proven technologies and emerging technologies and the costing methods are generic
enough to be used in any community. The legal framework is applicable for any
community in Ecuador but would need to be redone for communities in other nations. The
implementation options are general and the strategies could be used in a wide range of rural
energy service applications, although the government implementation options would have
to be re-evaluated in different nations. The main areas of focus for a similar project in
another community should be related to the problem identification and community
appraisal but the methodology has proven to be solid for this project and is likely to be
successful in a wide range of other communities.
There are a number of technologies available for the energy services discussed in
this project (heating, electricity, pumping, and cooking) and they all have strengths and
weaknesses. In any community development program, it is important to analyze the
legitimate alternatives and clearly outline the advantages and disadvantages so that the
community members can make the choices about what is acceptable and what is not. It is
also important to scan the market for any new technology that may be available for these
applications. While it is generally preferable to use proven technology, doing trials on new
technologies may present some business opportunities and some arrangement could be
Before investing too much time in thinking about different business strategies, it is
prudent to scan the legal and regulatory environment of a country to determine where the
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 115

opportunities are. This has been done for Ecuador in this project and while it was
determined that it is not the most favourable environment for rural development in Latin
America, some opportunities do present themselves.
A number of different options for implementation present themselves in this case.
The three sectors that could be active in implementation were identified as the private
sector, government, and non-governmental organizations. While grants may be available
from the government for different development projects, this mode of development
depends highly upon the economic situation of the nation and may not be sustainable. On
the other hand, using the private sector to develop rural areas could prove to be sustainable
and quite efficient if the economics of the business could be worked out. Loans could also
be obtained from NGO‟s directly to the community and this could work well if the
community members could organize themselves to collect the tariffs to service the debt.
The technology and funding are only part of the equation in a rural development
project. The community is (or should be) the center of attention and the focal point to
make the development work. Understanding who the people are, why they think the way
the think, and what is important to them is essential to knowing how their well-being can be
improved. Knowing how they are organized will facilitate designing an adequate
management strategy. Oftentimes community appraisal has been long and drawn out or has
been too short and akin to development tourism. Chambers (1983) proposes a more
effective way of analyzing a community which is called Rapid Rural Appraisal. This
technique has been used for this project.
The broad nature of this project opens an array of different areas that could be
elaborated on in the future. The health and demographic situation is somewhat puzzling as
discussed in section 4 and a closer scrutiny could reveal important information for future
development. The Justa Stove is an improved wood stove that was developed in Central
America and it may need some modification to the cultural styles of South America and
specifically to Guangaje. It would be equally as important to try to understand why there is
such a low usage of LPG in the area despite its availability and low cost.
An entire masters degree project could be dedicated to the economic activities
discussed in section 4 and how they could work in the indigenous culture without
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 116

compromising their values. The issues around community management of the water
system could be elaborated upon and a management system designed. Additionally, new
technologies such as fuel cells and stirling engines could be designed and developed for use
in these applications.
Probably the most challenging area of study that could follow up on this thesis is how
to incorporate a socially based culture with a tradition of reciprocity and redistribution into
a national economy that is based on traditional capitalism with its roots in individualism
and the accumulation of wealth. It is possible that an important key to the larger picture of
sustainable development could be found therein.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 117

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Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 125

Appendix 1: Quote for Wind-Mechanical Pump

Note: This quote was obtained based on 100 m height before the GPS points were
available from the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito Students. The actual pumping
height is 200m and a new quote should be obtained if this option is selected.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 126

Appendix 2: Quote for Grid Electrification



Acometida de alta tensión y montaje de transformador


1 postes de 11.5m 500 kg 7 120.00 840.00

2 postes de 9.0 m 500 kg 8 105.00 840.00
3 Estructuras tipo retenida 15 kv 6 75.00 450.00
3 Estructura tipo Pin 4 28.00 112.00
4 Tensor tipo tierra de AT 2 47.00 94.00
5 Tensor tipo tierra de BT 7 38.00 266.00
6 Tensor tipo tierra de Aty BT 4 65.00 260.00
7 Protecciones y herrajes torre monofásica 1 110.00 110.00
8 puestas a tierra 4 42.00 168.00
9 Transformador 5 kva, scp, AUTOPROTEGIDO 1 600.00 600.00
10 Rack de 1 vía 37 14.00 518.00
11 Conductor de aluminio No 2 4500 0.60 2,700.00
12 Conductor de aluminio No 4 1500 0.38 570.00
13 Material misceláneo 1 40.00 40.00
I1 Elaboración de planos 1 300.00 0.00
I2 Dirección técnica y trámites para energización 1 500.00 0.00


No consta acometida de baja tensión y medidor IMPUESTOS MATS 908.16


Derechos de líneas de la Empresa eléctrica TOTAL

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 127

Appendix 3: Map for Water Tubing System

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 128

Appendix 4: Calculation for Tubing Length Required

Tubing Lengths (Coordinates based on Community House as Origin)
Location X Coord Y Coord Elevation Horizon Distance Total Distance
Spring Tank 244 -302 3578
Storage Tank 655 0 3760 510.02 0.94 541.52 0.34
Casa Sacatoro-Ughsa (19) 371 536 3743 606.59 0.49 606.83 0.03
House - estimated (18) 137 495 3620 237.56 1.40 267.52 0.48

Storage Tank 655 0 3760

House (1) 314 -210 3596 400.48 1.02 432.76 0.39
House (2) 196 -162 3557 127.39 1.18 133.23 0.30
House (4) 169 -100 3562 67.62 0.41 67.81 0.07
House (7) Tigasi 70 -76 3550 101.87 1.33 102.57 0.12
House (10) Community 0 0 3546 103.32 0.74 103.40 0.04
House (13) Tipan-Tipan -304 30 3469 305.48 1.47 315.03 0.25
House (14) Anatuna -286 310 3456 280.58 0.06 280.88 0.05
House (15) Otto-Sacatoro -255 340 3455.5 43.14 0.80 43.14 0.01
House (16) Otto-Sacatoro -254 352 3455 12.04 0.08 12.05 0.04

House (2) 196 -162 3557

House (3) 161 -168 3556 35.51 1.40 35.52 0.03

House (4) 169 -100 3562

House (5) 229 -82 3576 62.64 1.28 64.19 0.22

House (7) Tigasi 70 -76 3550

House (6) 71 -40 3555 36.01 0.03 36.36 0.14

House (7) Tigasi 70 -76 3550

House (8) 44 -90 3539 29.53 1.08 31.51 0.36
House (9) 23 -64 3543 33.42 0.68 33.66 0.12

House (13) Tipan-Tipan -304 30 3469

House (12) -309 8 3471 22.56 0.22 22.65 0.09
House (11) Ugshi -327 -28 3461 40.25 0.46 41.47 0.24

House (10) Community 0 0 3546

House (17) -104 230 3480 252.42 0.42 260.91 0.26

Total Tubing Required 3433.01 m

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 129

Appendix 5: Pump Energy Calculations

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 130

Appendix 6: Map for Grid

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 131

Appendix 7: SWOT Analysis of the UNORIG

Strengths  Social and territorial control over the resources through Base
 Management experience with development institutions of the
Base Organizations.
 The communities are a space of discussion and execution of
development actions.
 The communities are a valid space for the reproduction of the
indigenous society.
Weaknesses  The lack of a headquarters or space for the UNORIG use and
 The lack of a legal statute that allows them to be a legal entity.
 The scarce experience of the UNORIG in management and
administration of development projects.
 The scarce education of the leaders of the UNORIG.
 The low educational level of the people, especially of women.
 The possibility of autonomy and separation of the base
 Deficits in basic services and productive infrastructure.
Opportunities  The agreement with HEIFER and PRODEPINE to promote the
Local Development Plan.
 The good relationships with the Municipality of Pujilí, the
Japanese embassy, etc.
 Participation in the MIC and support from MIC to start actions
of self-development and control of services such as education
and health, etc.
Threats  Absence of the public sector in the zone
 The lack of natural resources: land, water – to meet the needs of
an ever growing population.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 132

Appendix 8: Political Map of the UNORIG

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 133

Appendix 9: Geographic Map of the UNORIG

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 134

Appendix 10: Map of Culatipo

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 135

Appendix 11: Initial Questions sent to Leaders

1)Of the services I am looking at (Electricity, Improved Water System,
Home Heating, Water Heating, Cooking) can they put them in order of
2) How many households still use wood for cooking and how many use
propane. How many of them use the wood stove in the same building they
live int (I know Don Manuel seems to have a separate cooking house).
3) What do they do with waste water from their water system? Are there
any contaminants (chemicals, human waste) that they introduce to the
water that would prevent them from putting the water on a garden close to
their homes?
4) If they were to have grid electricity, do they have a problem with
the visual impact or would they be willing to bury the lines (about 3km
or trenches).
5) In the UNORIG reports, it states that there are 62 inhabitants of
Culatipo, I understand it is more like 100. What is the actual number
and why is it different from the UNORIG report?
6) Repiratory diseases, Intestinal diseases and eye problems were all
mentioned in the UNORIG report or by members of the community on my
visit. Do they know what the source of these problems are?
7) How did the latrine program work out and which organization did it?
I haven't looked at waste problems since I assumed the latrines were
working out fine.
8) How effective in UNORIG in getting things done within the community?
What other community organizations exist (Parish Councils, Cooperatives,
etc.) and what is their role?

I have translated them to Spanish below with a message to Don Manuel:

Estimado compañero Don Manuel:

Aunque no he estado en contacto con usted, no quiere decir que le he

olvidado. He estado muy ocupado con mis estudios de maestría y mis
estudios de Culatipo. He finalizado algunos estudios de factibilidad en
cuanto a servicios básicos basado en mis conversaciones con usted y otros
miembros de la comunidad durante mi estadía hace varios meses. También
he usado como referencia el estudio técnico de la UNORIG de 1999. La
idea es plantear algunas alternativas para ustedes dentro de los 5
servicios listados abajo en pregunta 1. Luego, quiero que ustedes lo
piensen y me digan que es realmente importante para ustedes como
comunidad. Yo pienso venir a fines de Abril para presentar los
resultados de mis estudios y contestar preguntas y también preguntarles
algunas cosas relacionados a estos servicios.

Hasta mientras, le agradecería si usted se comunica con sus compañeros

acerca de desarrollo y que es lo que quieren. Cual es su meta y como
pueden llevar a cabo un mejoramiento en su calidad de vida sin perder sus
costumbres y lo que valoran? La electrificación de Guangaje se llevó a
cabo hace poco. Cuales son las ventajas y desventajas de ese sistema?
Como podrían llegar a tener electrificación y evitar las desventajas al
mismo tiempo? He listado algunos problemas relacionados al programa de
desarrollo que estoy proponiendo. Por favor considerelas y hable con sus
compañeros acerca de estos.
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 136

Quiero enfatizar que yo soy simplemente facilitador en este proceso. El

desarrollo es suyo y de su comunidad. Mi rol es de proporcionar
información y proveer el apoyo técnico. Ustedes hacen las decisiones no-

1) De los servicios que estoy estudiando (electricidad, sistema de agua

mejorada, calenatmiento de la casa, calenamiento de agua, cocción) cuales
son los más importantes y pueden hacer una lista de prioridades?
2) Cuantas casas en Culatipo o Chilcanchic usan madera para cocinar y
cuantos usan gas? Cuantos usan un edificio aparte para cocinar y duermen
en otra? De donde proviene la madera? Se está haciendo escasa?
3) Que hacen con el agua usada que viene del sistema de agua? Hay
contaminantes (químicos, desechos humanos) que introducen al agua que
limitaría su uso para riego en un jardín cerca de la casa?
4) Si es que reciben electricidad de la red, tendrían algún problema con
el impacto visual de los cables o estarían dispuestos a enterrar los
cables (3 km para enterrar todo) o considerar otro esquema de
electrificación tal vez más costo?
5) En el informe de UNORIG de 1999, dice que hay 62 habitantes de
Culatipo pero yo entiendo que tienen más. Si tienen más, cual es el
número de habitantes y porque es diferente de lo que dice el informe?
6) Enfermedades respiratorias, intestinales, y molestias en los ojos han
sido identificados como problemas en la communidad. Saben cuales son las
fuentes de estos males?
7) Como están funcionando las letrinas y cual organización construyo
estos? No he estudiado problemas de desechos porque supuse que estos
estaban funcionando bien.
8) Que tan efectivo es la UNORIG y cual es su rol? Existen otras
organizaciones dentro de la communidad (Juntas Parroquiales,
Cooperativas, Juntas de Aguas, etc.) y cual es su rol?
9) Cuales son las actividades económicas no-agrícolas que ustedes
podrían emprender? Por ejemplo: manufactura de bloques, fabricación de
artefactos, tejidos etc.
10) Cuanto dinero están dispuestos a gastar en los servicios de pregunta
1 por mes?

Cuando vengo a finales de abril, me gustaría prestentar la información

que tengo en forma de una reunion comunitaria. Usted está de acuerdo con
eso? Si es aceptable, me gustaría tener un lugar con luz eléctrica para
proyectar las imagenes en una pared. Podríamos ir todos a Guangaje o
prefieren que haga copias de los materiales y lo presente en Culatipo?


Stephen Welty
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 137

Appendix 12: Outline for Community Seminar

Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 138
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 139
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 140
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 141
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 142
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 143
Participatory Rural Development in an Ecuadorian Indigenous Community 144