The Foundation for Innovative and Sustainable Technologies (FIST) was created to support the Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Technologies (CSIT) in some of their activities. The Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Technologies is a social business with the goal of increasing the number of innovative technologies widely used in Tajikistan. The FIST supports this goal by assisting in fundraising and awareness raising activities as well as networking. The primary donors of the two sister organizations to date has been the Mountain Societies Development Support Program (MSDSP) of Tajikistan, the Aga Khan Foundation of Afghanistan, and the Children’s Hope Foundation of Dubai. Small amounts of funding have also been obtained from consulting works and through the sale of literature to the community.
The primary activities of the two sister organizations is the piloting and testing of new, innovative technologies that meet the needs of the community, and disseminating the successful technologies through a variety of means including classes using working scale models, technology sales, production and sale of booklets and construction manuals, and consulting services. The sister organizations also offer educational experiences for school children, university students and the public including public lectures.
Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Technologies (CSIT), a project started in 2009 with a grant provided by the Christensen fund to the Mountain Societies Development Support Program (MSDSP) in Tajikistan. The CSIT is structured to be a social business in order to comply with the laws of Tajikistan and remain in a position to sell its services including technologies, learning materials, and consulting services. This structure means that any profits generated through its activities are rolled back into the organization to further its goal of improving the number of technologies disseminated in the region. Recently, the CSIT has setup the Foundation for Innovative and Sustainable Technologies (FIST) to enable it to expand its activities at a faster pace than would be possible as a social business. The two sister organization FIST and CSIT has worked on developing new technologies in cooperation with its main partners – Khorog State University, MSDSP, the Aga Khan Foundation, International Initiatives Association (Stowarzyszenie Inicjatyw Miedzynarodowych), Poznan, Poland and GIZ, University of Central Asia – throughout GBAO. As a legally registered and independent organization, it is now in a position to bring the most successful of those technologies together to demonstrate the combined impact for a community. The goals of these two organization FIST and CSIT is to bring together a basket of technologies that have been developed or adapted by the CSIT and its partners in a single location to demonstrate their effectiveness and ability to improve the lives of people in the Badakhshan. The purpose of such a demonstration is to improve their visibility and popular uptake, leading to independent replication by community members of these low-to-no-cost improvements to their homes and land.
The technologies that FIST and CSIT has worked to develop and test and that will be deployed in a demonstration include: locally made (wool) home insulation, solar porches, solar greenhouses, improved cooking and heating stoves, solar air heaters, solar water heaters, energy efficient home orientation and design, appropriate food storages, and others. These technologies are generally focused on reducing energy requirements of buildings, leading to improved indoor air temperatures and reduced energy consumption, as well as improved nutrition and local food production. In the some remote places of Badakhshan where electricity is not available and organic matter is the only available fuel source, improving the efficiency of the local use of energy and finding new energy sources is vitally important to the long-term survival of the region’s people and culture. These two sister organization FIST and CSIT has already been involved in several ongoing projects in the eastern Pamir including: the installation of a solar greenhouse that produced some of the first vegetables grown in Burunkul, lifting water from new wells with solar and wind-powered pumps, thermal insulation, and an inter-seasonal thermal storage system that will store the sun’s heat from the summer to provide indoor heating needs in the winter.
It was mentioned before that these two sister organizations FIST and CSIT pursues their goals to improve the number of sustainable technologies in the region using many means. The first of these has been to pilot technologies that met the requirements of needs assessments and requests from community members. By piloting technologies (though not revenue generating) FIST and CSIT ensures that the technologies it will introduce more widely through subsequent steps will be high quality and will work as intended.
Piloted technologies are then demonstrated while being further tested. They are typically installed in high profile and easily accessible locations with private individuals who commit to maintain them, provide access to the general public, and inform and work with FIST and CSIT on further refinements and improvements. Technologies that are proven through a pilot and demonstration phase are then further developed for wider dissemination. In most cases this first involves the production of literature to enable them to be better understood by the public; in other cases certain technologies or specialized parts are purchased by the CSIT for resale directly to the public.