CASA-1000 Inter - Governmental Council Announces Award of $330 million High VoltageTransmission Facility Contracts
9/21/2018

The CASA-1000 Power Transmission Project countries, through the project’s Inter-Governmental Council (IGC), are pleased to announce the placement of an order of around US$330 million to ABB of Sweden and Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios of Spain to build two high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations in Tajikistan and Pakistan. These converter stations will enable the efficient transmission of renewable hydropower from generation sites in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to consumption centers in Pakistan via Afghanistan through the CASA-1000 electric power transmission system. These contracts are the largest component of the $1.2 billion CASA system. Line routing activities began on three of the eight transmission line corridors that comprise the CASA-1000 system earlier this year.

The CASA-1000 Project will have initial capacity to transmit 1,300 megawatts of electricity through its 800 km - long HVDC transmission line in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and 500 km of interconnecting High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) transmission lines in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. The overhead lines in CASA-1000 have been designed with capacity to almost double the power transmitted.

The CASA-1000 Project supports a Pakistan government strategy to manage an increasing demand for electricity, and will also allow the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to better utilize their hydropower generation, with Tajikistan ranking eighth in the world for hydropower potential. The two countries have excess supply during the warm summer months, which cannot be utilized locally, while Pakistan has an increasing demand for electricity to support its growing economy. CASA-1000 further demonstrates Afghanistan’s role as an important energy transit country. This new, mutually beneficial transmission infrastructure will help create an economic and political bond between these neighboring countries and represents one of the first substantial economic ties between Central Asia and South Asia.

Signing of the contracts took place under the authority of the CASA IGC in the presence of Energy Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other representatives of the National Transmission Companies of the four CASA countries, as well as representatives of the International Financial Institutions providing the project’s financing.

Financing is being provided by a consortium of international organizations, including the World Bank Group, Islamic Development Bank, USAID, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank and UK Department for International Development. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has advised the CASA countries and supported the IGC in structuring and competitively tendering the HVDC converter station tender package. The CASA Secretariat is provided by ECODIT through the USAID Central Asia Energy Links project.

For this project, ECODIT is working to help increase intra- and inter-regional energy trade, improve legal and regulatory frameworks and investment climate, improve corporate governance, operations, and commercialization of energy companies, and increase energy efficiency across countries in Central Asia, in order to move countries in the region toward an integrated, competitive regional energy market. One of the project’s key components is providing a fully-staffed, high-performing CASA-1000 Secretariat, facilitating the drafting and execution of necessary documents for the planning, construction, and implementation of a new CASA-1000 electricity transmission system.

CASA-1000 aims to facilitate electricity trade between the countries of Central Asia and South Asia by putting in place the commercial and institutional arrangements and the transmission infrastructure required for this trade. The four countries participating in the project are Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Water CKM Holds Webinar on Rural Water Infrastructure
8/28/2018

On August 23, 2018, the USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) Project hosted a webinar on “Preventative Maintenance Models for Sustainable Rural Water Service.” The webinar was led by the USAID Sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Systems Learning Partnership (SWS), which seeks to improve the sustainability of WASH services in rural areas and underserved communities through a systems-based approach that involves employing research and increasing understanding of local systems to overcome challenges to existing WASH infrastructure and services.

Nearly 90 international development practitioners, water experts, and researchers participated in the webinar. Ella Lazarte, Senior Water and Sanitation Advisor at USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment’s (E3) Water Office, moderated the webinar, which featured presentations by Duncan McNicholl, General Manager of Whave Solutions Ltd., and Rob Hope, Associate Professor at the School of Geography and the Environment and Director of the Water Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

Recent studies, including USAID post-evaluations conducted by the Water CKM Project, have shown that investments in WASH programming often have not led to long-term sustained improvements. The webinar shed light on the importance of using preventative maintenance approaches to improve the sustainability of USAID WASH interventions. The webinar also highlighted recent learnings from preventative maintenance models used in Uganda and Kenya, which can inform future USAID WASH planning and investments. For example, Whave Solutions, a Ugandan non-profit social enterprise, provides local maintenance services in partnership with the Government of Uganda and local communities. Whave Solutions works to provide a financially sustainable water service system in rural communities and also leverages local partnerships to improve the reliability of rural water access in Uganda.

The USAID Water CKM Project organized the webinar to boost information sharing on water sector programs. The project is implemented by ECODIT and supports the USAID/E3 Water Office and its partners to increase water sector program knowledge sharing and data collection, both internally and externally. The Water CKM Project regularly conducts research, analysis, and collaborative learning events to improve the sustainability of WASH programming.

ECODIT is a trusted USAID partner with 25 years of experience working with governments, businesses, and local communities to advance environmentally- and socially-responsible development around the world. More information is available at www.ecodit.com. (Photo credit: Whave Solutions Ltd.)

USAID Awards ECODIT STARR II IDIQ
7/20/2018

USAID has awarded a prime contract to ECODIT for the Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights II (STARR II) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract. The STARR II IDIQ allows for the provision of technical assistance to USAID’s Office of Land and Urban (LU) in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3). These services will support LU to improve land and resource governance and strengthen property rights for all members of society, especially women.

The STARR II IDIQ has a five-year ordering period and an aggregate maximum value of $650 million, shared among a total of four large business and three small business awardees, one of which is ECODIT. Projects under the contract will take place worldwide and focus on the following four technical areas: (1) Securing Resource Rights and Improving Resource Governance; (2) Evidence and Learning; (3) Training; and (4) Knowledge Management and Communications.

“Strong and secure land and resource governance is a necessary precondition of inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” said ECODIT President Joseph Karam. “These issues are at the heart of our work and we are excited to be collaborating with the LU Office to achieve development objectives worldwide.”

ECODIT is a trusted USAID partner with 25 years of experience working with governments, businesses, and local communities to advance environmentally- and socially-responsible development around the world. With this new award, ECODIT now holds seven prime IDIQ contracts with USAID in the energy, water, environment and governance sectors.

Water CKM Project Hosts Webinar on the Sustainability of Water Projects in Indonesia
6/27/2018

On June 27, 2018, the USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) Project, implemented by ECODIT, and USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment’s (E3) Water Office hosted a webinar entitled “Sustaining Urban Water Utility Services: A Look Back at USAID’s Indonesia Environmental Services Program (ESP) Activity.”

The webinar featured a presentation by Leslie Green Hodel, Senior Technical Specialist at Social Impact and Senior Advisor for the Water CKM Project, on findings from an ex-post evaluation of ESP, implemented from 2004 to 2010. ESP partnered with the Government of Indonesia, NGOs, the private sector, and other stakeholders to increase access to clean water and strengthen the responsible management of water resources in Indonesia. The ESP evaluation is the second in a series of six independent evaluations of closed USAID-funded water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities, conducted by the Water CKM Project. The series of evaluations will help inform future development programming, sustainable project design, and implementation.

The webinar discussed the evaluation’s findings regarding the sustainability of the water utility capacity building, microcredit, and financial stability initiatives supported by ESP in eight former intervention areas. The evaluation used a mixed-methods design, integrating qualitative interviews and quantitative data collection and analysis to assess which interventions were maintained since 2010. Seven years after the close of ESP, findings show water utility access progressed in most areas, however, financial and microcredit outcomes were generally mixed. The findings also reveal that financing local water utilities remains a challenge.

Webinar attendees, who consisted of USAID staff and other water and development practitioners, found the evaluation and associated webinar helpful for informing and boosting the sustainability of future programming. "The completed webinar marked an end to a very good process of ex-post ESP evaluation,” said USAID/Indonesia Senior WASH Program Specialist Trigeany Linggoatmodjo. “USAID/Indonesia is learning from ESP to design and implement follow-on WASH projects in urban areas in Indonesia. We are hopeful that the results from this evaluation will be useful for colleagues at USAID and other development partners to design and implement more sustainable WASH activities.”

ECODIT has implemented the USAID Water CKM Project since 2015. The five-year project supports USAID’s E3 Water Office to enhance data collection and information sharing on water-related programs. The project works to increase awareness of USAID water programs and strengthen research and analysis to improve development interventions and outcomes. (Photo Credit: USAID ESP Project)

ECODIT Sponsors Annual Society for International Development-Washington Conference
5/31/2018

On May 31, 2018, nine ECODIT team members attended the annual Society for International Development-Washington (SID-W) conference in Washington, D.C. ECODIT was a Silver Sponsor of the conference, which brought together top development practitioners from the government, nonprofit, and private sectors to network, learn from each other, and exchange ideas.

The theme of the conference was “The Future of Development in a Rapidly Changing World.” ECODIT staff attended all panel sessions, which focused on such topics as private sector models of development, harnessing technological innovation to foster development, and requirements of the future international development workforce. Speakers included senior government officials, academics, and private sector leaders. In addition to attending the panel sessions, ECODIT was present at the Exhibition Hall where staff engaged with conference attendees about the firm’s work to improve management and use of water, energy, and environmental resources worldwide.

“ECODIT is committed to continuous learning,” said ECODIT Vice President of Quality, Learning, and Communications Roula Attar. “We are proud to sponsor the SID-W conference, and greatly value this opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices with colleagues throughout the development sector.”

ECODIT is a leading firm in the sector with 25 years of experience working with governments, businesses, and local communities to advance environmentally- and socially-responsible development around the world. The firm is an institutional member of SID-W.

ECODIT to Serve as Core Partner for the USAID CEL Project
5/23/2018

On May 23, 2018, USAID awarded the five-year Communications, Evidence, and Learning (CEL) Project to a consortium led by Training Resources Group, Inc. (TRG). ECODIT is a core member of this consortium, which also includes the Urban Institute, Landesa, Forum One, and NORC at the University of Chicago.

The new CEL Project supports the USAID Office of Land and Urban (LU) to create, expand, and disseminate evidence-based knowledge in land tenure, property rights, and resource governance, as well as in urban development, urban-based programming, and sustainable cities. It will do so through such activities as impact and project evaluations, scientific research, assessments, pilots of new technologies, and communications, outreach, and knowledge management. Project outputs will inform USAID program design and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, policy discussions and decisions, and help to optimize resources to advance USAID's core development objectives.

“ECODIT is proud to be a part of the outstanding TRG-led CEL Project consortium,” said ECODIT Director of Governance Steve Anlian. “We are looking forward to contributing our expertise in urban issues, land governance, evaluations and assessments, and communications and knowledge management to help USAID foster sustainable development in rural and urban areas.”

ECODIT is a trusted USAID partner with 25 years of experience working with governments, businesses, and local communities to advance environmentally- and socially-responsible development around the world. ECODIT is currently implementing the USAID Support of the Urban Policy (SOUP) Project, which provides training, research and analysis, and communications and knowledge management support on urban issues to USAID. The CEL Project will expand on work conducted under the SOUP Project to date.

ECODIT Wins USAID Power Africa IDIQ Award
2/16/2018

USAID has awarded a prime contract to ECODIT for the Power Africa IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract). The Power Africa IDIQ allows for the provision of technical assistance and engineering consulting services to implement USAID’s activities in support of Power Africa, the U.S. Government initiative focused on increasing access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The IDIQ will facilitate the achievement of Power Africa’s targets of increasing installed power capacity by 30,000 megawatts and creating 60 million new electricity connections, to double electricity access in the region.

The Power Africa IDIQ has a five-year ordering period and an aggregate maximum value of $900 million, shared among a total of four large business awardees and five small businesses (including ECODIT). Projects under the contract will take place throughout sub-Saharan Africa and focus on the following 14 service areas: 1. Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Transactions; 2. Finance; 3. Legal; 4. Engineering; 5. Planning; 6. Electric Utility Reform and Restructuring; 7. Electricity Access; 8. International Power Exchange and Power Trading; 9. Demand-Side Management and Energy Efficiency; 10. Cleaner Energy Technologies; 11. Gas; 12. Governance; 13. Legal and Regulatory Framework; and 14. Coordination and Cooperation.

“We could not be more thrilled to have the opportunity to support the U.S. Government in its crucial work to electrify Africa,” said ECODIT President Joseph Karam. “ECODIT is proud to be a trusted USAID partner, and excited to deepen this partnership through capacity building, innovation, and effective technical support to help Power Africa reach its targets and accelerate growth and development.”

ECODIT has a proven record supporting USAID’s energy programs worldwide. The firm currently implements USAID energy projects worth more than $40 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Caribbean and Central America. ECODIT’s Consortium for the Power Africa IDIQ includes seven U.S. and regional partners that bring robust and complementary capabilities and experience in the IDIQ’s service areas.

ECODIT Appoints Dick Edwards as Vice President for Business Development
12/21/2017

ECODIT is pleased to welcome Dick Edwards as its new Vice President for Business Development. Mr. Edwards has more than 30 years of experience in business development and in managing, designing, and implementing major energy and environment programs in more than 25 countries. In his new role, Mr. Edwards will lead ECODIT’s business development efforts and provide strategic input and guidance to inform ECODIT’s growth and enhance organizational development and management.

Mr. Edwards previously served as a USAID Foreign Service Officer. In this capacity, he held a number of positions in which he managed complex programs, cultivated relationships with local partners, and oversaw multicultural teams. He has served as Director of the Office of Energy at USAID/India, Director of the Offices of Environment and Education at USAID/Egypt, and the Director of the Office of Economic Growth and Tsunami Reconstruction at USAID/Sri Lanka. From 2015-2017, he served as Director of USAID’s Regional Pacific Islands Office.

Mr. Edwards first encountered ECODIT in 1996, when he was the Environment Officer at USAID/Morocco, where ECODIT was implementing the USAID Water Resources Sustainability Activity. “I was impressed at how ECODIT embraced innovation and worked with Moroccans to develop cutting-edge, locally appropriate water and sanitation solutions,” he said.

In addition to his work at USAID, Mr. Edwards previously served as Vice President responsible for business development, strategy, and clean energy at Nexant, Inc. He has also worked with the World Wildlife Fund, the Peace Corps, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Over the years, ECODIT has cemented its reputation as one of the most forward-thinking purveyors of development solutions in the world, and I could not be happier to join the team,” said Mr. Edwards. “I look forward to helping ECODIT build on its success, expand its reach, and create an even greater global impact,” he said.

Vietnam Opens Country’s First Elephant Reserve
9/7/2017

Vietnam has a new nature reserve, created to protect the few remaining Asian elephants in Vietnam. These “gentle giants” face the threat of extinction, and have become so rare that few Vietnamese have ever seen them. Fortunately, seven elephants were recently found in Quang Nam Province, and in September the province’s Forest Protection Department opened Vietnam’s first elephant reserve to protect them, with support from the USAID Green Annamites Project, which is implemented by ECODIT.

The USAID Green Annamites Project helped organize a celebration on opening day. More than 100 local people from Phuoc Ninh and Que Lam communes in Nong Son district, where the reserve is located, attended the event. Dignitaries in attendance included the Vice Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee (PPC), Mr. Le Tri Thanh, and the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, His Excellency Mr. Ted Osius.

“Improving the lives of local communities, conserving biodiversity, and supporting provinces to implement sustainable economic growth programs is an important part of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam. We are proud to partner with the Quang Nam provincial leadership to provide a critical habitat for the endangered Asian elephant, while finding ways to improve the incomes of local farmers,” said Ambassador Osius at the launch.

During the day-long launch event, the PPC and leaders from USAID/Vietnam and the USAID Green Annamites project led activities to introduce local people to their new elephant neighbors. A mobile tent included a Terrestrial Giant exhibit to educate people about the elephant’s life history. School children joined a painting contest, a “magical hat” event, and other games to learn about elephant conservation.

The elephant reserve advances the larger goals of the USAID Green Annamites project. The project works with local governments, the private sector, and communities in Vietnam’s Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam Provinces to reduce deforestation, increase conservation, and to increase the incomes of vulnerable people, including ethnic minorities, through improved farming practices. The project will work with communities surrounding the nature reserve to engage them in conservation efforts and help them find sustainable ways to boost their incomes. In addition, the project will work with reserve staff to protect the elephants and to educate visitors from throughout the country about the importance of elephant conservation.

Read more about the USAID Green Annamites Project here.

USAID Water Launches new website
7/26/2017

ECODIT is proud to announce the launch of GlobalWaters.org, USAID’s new knowledge-sharing and collaboration website. The site was created through the USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) activity, which is implemented by ECODIT.

Globalwaters.org is a global knowledge resource for USAID staff, implementing partners, and the broader community working in the water sector. Supported by the USAID Water Office, this site is about sharing knowledge and ideas to solve global water and sanitation challenges.

The site offers water and development practitioners a wide array of learning materials, technical resources, project evaluations, and multimedia content covering the depth and breadth of USAID water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs and related topics—water resources management, water for food, cooperation over shared waters, drought, and resilience. The objective is for Globalwaters.org to become a place for development practitioners to help identify and refine better practices, and to inform USAID’s technical direction in areas of information gaps.

USAID Awards First Grant for Clean Energy in the Caribbean and Central America
2/4/2017

USAID awarded the first grant as part of the Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America (CEFF-CCA) project to Rekamniar Capital Limited! The grant will support start-up costs to build Eight Rivers Energy Company, a 37-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Jamaica. When it is up and running, the solar farm will connect to the national grid to provide clean energy at a lower cost to Jamaicans all over the island. Learn more about the Clean Energy Finance Facility implemented by ECODIT and how to apply for grants at www.ceff-cca.org.

USAID Releases Water Report
1/28/2017

ECODIT is proud to announce the release of Safeguarding the World's Water for Fiscal Year 2015, USAID’s annual report about its water-related activities and accomplishments. ECODIT produced the report for the Agency through the USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project.

Safeguarding the World's Water for FY 2015 describes a wide range of programs consistent with USAID's Water and Development Strategy’s focus on maintaining human health and growing food through water. It is organized by region and shares Fiscal Year 2015 achievements and investments as well as illustrative examples of country-specific programs related to these key issues and other Agency priorities.

The Agency invested more than $499,995,179 towards water-related programming in 54 countries in FY 2015. These programming investments were driven by two strategic objectives defined by USAID’s Water and Development Strategy (2013-2018). Those objectives are first, to improve health outcomes through the provision of sustainable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and second, to manage water for agriculture sustainably and more productively to enhance food security.

USAID's E3/Urban Team Speaker Series
1/28/2017

On February 1, 2017, USAID’s E3/Land and Urban Office kicked off a new UrbanLinks event series examining urban development assistance with a panel event on Financing Urban Infrastructure. The panel brought together experts who addressed how cities can bridge the gap between insufficient funding resources and developing and maintaining resilient urban infrastructure.

Moderator USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Carrie Thompson outlined challenges facing rapidly growing cities in developing countries. The panelists included David Painter, a senior advisor to the World Bank and the Cities Alliance. Mr. Painter is an expert on improving city creditworthiness and facilitating long-term urban infrastructure financing. Panelist Kirti Devi is a Municipal Finance Specialist for the World Bank at the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) with experience in sub-national planning and finance. The third panelist was Christopher Kaczmarski, an expert on assisting governments and institutions through planning and implementation of programs on climate change adaptation (CCA) and sustainable development financing. The experts weighed in on topics ranging from Public-Private Partnerships, development banks, credit enhancement or guarantees, on-lending, and the role of private capital and donors such as USAID.

Mr. Painter brought to the audience’s attention to the new approach that the World Bank is currently rolling out. The approach seeks to improve the World Bank’s traditional role as a primarily lending bank. Instead, World Bank will bring commercial financing in on critical resources to help leverage money at the local level. The panelists agreed that the new approach, along with changing philosophies at donors such as USAID, presents a positive change for traditional financing organizations beginning to act as catalysts to urban financing instead of direct providers. In particular, Ms. Devi thought that USAID can still play a critical role as “one of few entities with sufficient expertise to support sub national financing, and bring experts in to address long-term technical assistance.” Ms. Devi further pointed out that USAID has the in-country presence that can greatly improve technical assistance on a country by country basis. She noted that “everything we do is very context specific. Urbanization in Asia looks very different from urbanization in Africa.”

All three panelists agreed that integrating climate change resilience into municipal projects cannot be ignored, despite the increased cost. Mr. Kaczmarski argued that even “unbankable” projects should not be ignored, particularly if co-financing can allow cities to decide what they need instead of relying solely on investors’ perspective. Overall, the panelists agreed the local funding sources should be brought in sooner. In particular, Mr. Kaczmarski noted that “recent trends toward leveraging local resources is positive.”

Learn more about the recent panel and future events rest of the speaker series by visiting the UrbanLinks website. Urban Links is implemented by ECODIT along with ICMA through the Supporting Office of Urban Planning (SOUP) Project under the Making Cities Work IDIQ.

USAID Energy Links builds standards for the energy sector in the Kyrgyz Republic
11/1/2016

On November 1, 2016 Energy Links team participated in the meeting of the Science and Technical Commission of Intergovernmental Council on Metrology, Standardization and Certification and presented the Energy Links achievements in introduction of the IEC standards in the Kyrgyz Republic. To increase energy security for the region, ECODIT currently implements the USAID/Central Asia Energy Links Project, which addresses key challenges facing the energy sector. The Kyrgyz participants recommended adoption of international data exchange standards in energy sector by other countries in Central Asia region to simplify the data exchange between the energy systems and to support regional cooperation.

In total, 40 representatives from respective agencies from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, Belorussia, Moldova, and Russia, participated at this regional meeting. Energy Links (EL) team facilitated the session’s discussion on adoption of international data exchange standards by countries-members of the CIS Intergovernmental Council on Metrology, Standardization and Certification. EL representative described the process of acceptance of international data exchange standards in Kyrgyz Republic energy sector and outlined achieved results. Kyrgyzstandart and JSC Severelectro made presentations on their roles in this process. JSC NEHC and JSC Severelectro representatives described the importance and practical benefits of adoption of data exchange standards. The introduction was followed by more than an hour-long discussion with active participation of all delegations which demonstrated the strong interest from the parties for the subject. As the result of discussion, the meeting attendees committed to conduct consultations in their countries and reflected their intentions in the meeting minutes. National standardization agencies agreed to do the following:

• Inform Ministries and companies of all stakeholders in their respective countries about success in implementation of international data exchange standards adopted in Kyrgyz Republic

• Conduct a survey in their countries on the interest to implementation of international data exchange standards adopted in Kyrgyz Republic

• Notify Kyrgyzstandard by February 2017 on the activities related to the standardization of data exchange processes in their countries and the interest to the adoption of the standards implemented in KR as intergovernmental standards.

Preliminary feedback from the national standardization agencies inspires on positive acceptance of the IEC standards in their respective countries and lays hope for adoption of these standards as CIS interstate standards.