Some of you may remember us promoting a huge, international fundraiser called "Feed The Revolution" which sought to raise €180,000 (the goal was not met unfortunately, though nearly €100,00 was raised) in order to build an ecology-focused, organic fertilizer plant in Rojava. Well, we recently got our first updates on the project since the fundraising ended. Here is what the organizers of the project had to say in their update:
Dear friends and supporters,
the Feed The Revolution campaign ended three months ago and you’re probably wondering how the project is going. So, here is the short version: It is going well!
And now for the long version: The work in Tirbespiyê is continuing. In May the municipality gave us an area south of the city for the fertilizer facility. The area had been designated as a waste dump by the Syrian regime before the revolution, and there was already a fence, a high three-sided concrete wall and a half-finished maintenance building there. When the campaign ended in mid-June it was well short of our ambitious goal of 200 000 USD. We knew that we would not be able to do the project without further help because we needed workers and building machines to get the facility ready. We therefore talked with the municipality again, and with the ministry of social affairs of Cizîre canton, who were aware of the great importance of this project and quickly agreed to take over a large part of the construction of the site. Construction then stalled again, because of the war: the needed machines were all at the frontlines in Minbic and Şedade. In August the construction finally began with Zagros company, a local enterprise contracted by the municipality. Since then work has been advancing fast and well. So far the well has been dug, the outer wall has been repaired, the huge mount of gravel and earth in the middle of the place has been dug away, the whole ground has been leveled – the area for the primary mounds with a slope of 3% - and been covered with a gravel layer in preparation for the asphalt. The house has been completed, but still needs plastering, painting and water and electricity connection, which is happening this week, after Cejna Qurbanî, the Muslim sacrifice festival. It has three rooms: One changing room with showers, one common room and an office including an archive. Secondly there are three machines needed for the facility: A shredder to cut the straw, a large grinder to mix the biological waste and grind up larger pieces, and a a drum sieve for the final process, to separate the ready fertilizer from parts that still need more composting. We first wanted to build a high-end grinder that would last a long time and not be affected by rust or damaged by solid pieces in the waste. For that we needed chrome, the required quantity of which we couldn’t get in Rojava. So we tried to import it from Iraqi Kurdistan, but that didn’t work out because of the embargo. Finally we decided on building the machine a little differently with locally available steel, and on an optimized pre-sorting process to prevent stones or other unwanted objects from entering the grinder. Thirdly a mixed Kurdish and Arab education team of five people is ready to give lessons on the process and the importance of waste separation in the communes and schools of Tirbespiyê, and 3 000 explanatory brochures in both Kurmancî and Arabic have been printed so far. The education will not start until the facility is ready, so the people can start the waste separation right away and there will be a place for the waste to go to. Also we have been collecting empty petrol barrels and sent them to a workshop in Qamişlo where they are being remodelled to be used as waste bins.
Here is a link to some pictures of the Tirbespiyê facility taken last week:
During the two months of near-stagnation during the summer we have been looking everywhere for a solution to the ever more urgent need for fertilizer. In Til Temir, a town in the west of Cizîre canton, we found a huge industrial cow farm that had been out of service since the region was invaded by Cebhet en-Nusra (Jabhat en-Nusra/JN) four years ago. Around the site there were several huge reservoirs holding thousands of tons of cow droppings accumulated over the years. Even better, the farm also held several hangars full to the brim with straw. With so much readily available high-quality raw material we decided to start right away with a second facility in Til Temir. We managed to find an old grain storage just 3 km away from the cow farm with three empty hangars and a large asphalted area in front of them and got permission from the agriculture committee to use it for the project. As the local municipality didn’t have any vehicles available we rented two trucks and a wheel loader from a local entrepreneur at a very low price and started bringing the cow droppings and straw to the new place. The Til Temir facility needs only a small budget as the place was almost ready to be used. The only further construction we did there was the digging of two wells. As opposed to the more mechanized Tirbespiyê facility the work will mostly be manual, apart from the three mentioned machines that are also being built for Til Temir.
If you want to see pictures of the work in Til Temir, follow this link:
So right now we are working on two facilities, one in Tirbespiyê and one in Til Temir. The money will be enough to get both facilities going until the project becomes self-financing. So far all of the money has been designated, except for 8 000 USD that we keep as an emergency fund in case of further obstacles (machine breakdown etc.). If everything goes to plan though we will use it to buy a skid loader for the Til Temir facility. Once both facilities are producing fertilizer we will establish a fund for the financial surplus extra to what is needed to keep the facilities running, which will pay for upgrading and repairing the existing equipment as well as establishing further composting facilities all over Cizîre canton.