Impact investing is not just about choosing to invest in companies that have positive social or environmental impacts. It’s also about how you respond as an investor and partner in challenging circumstances. We were truly inspired by the actions of one Honduran renewable energy company looking after communities surrounding its projects during the COVID19 pandemic.
The current crisis is affecting all corners of the world including the Central American site where this renewable energy project is located. The Rio Betulia Hydroelectric Power Plant is located near the community of Betulia in the Department of Colon, Honduras. It is a five-year run-of-the-river project that uses the flow of water of the Betulia river for energy generation, providing renewable energy to the local communities and strengthening the local and regional electricity systems.
Colon is one of the departments in Honduras most affected by the pandemic, with the third highest number of infected people in the country. It is also one of the poorest areas in the country with the majority of families living on subsistence fishing or agriculture, and in some cases, very small scale commercialization of their left-over products. Due to the very stringent restrictions on movement imposed by the Honduran government and the level of the spread of the virus in the region, people are unable to work or travel to urban areas where they’d sell their limited products or purchase inputs required for their subsistence activities.
Our partner General Equipment Supply SA (GES), who operates the Betulia River Hydroelectric Power Plant, aware of how vulnerable the communities located in this region were – basically without access to sources of food, put together a plan to increase the reach of their ongoing support of the local communities during these trying times. They sourced, purchased and delivered a basic food basket to 170 families who live in this deeply affected area, benefiting more than 1,080 people.
During the month of April, despite the difficulties in sourcing and transporting food supplies due to both national restrictions and the penurious state of access roads to the communities, GES delivered these basic food baskets comprising items such as beans, rice, sugar, cornmeal, butter, pasta, salt, coffee, tomato sauce, soup, and laundry soap to the communities of Betulia, Samaria, La Fortuna, and Sapote, located in the Betulia river basin. Understandably, people in these communities were extremely happy and grateful since these donations allowed them to comply with the social isolation rules with the peace of mind of having enough food to feed their families, and not increasing their risk of contagion by having to go out and look for sustenance.
At Deetken Impact we couldn’t be prouder of our partners, who despite being faced with numerous challenges and constraints of their own caused by the current pandemic, realize the limitations of public assistance measures in developing countries, and are going out of their way to support and provide whatever they can to the communities where they operate. This is why we do the work we do every day. This is impact investing in action.