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Al-qasim
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Khurram Owais Shah



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Last Visit: 09 Oct 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:57 am    Post subject: Al-Qasim Reply with quote

Project Team: Sadia Ahmed, Nida Alavi, Ahmad Iqbal Chaudhry
EC: Natasha Qureshi, Farooq Waraich, Saad Hasan
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Nida Alavi



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Karachi, Pakistan
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey khurram , let's hope this works. still dont see your post though.
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Nida Alavi



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Karachi, Pakistan
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 4:41 am    Post subject: Quetions for Al-Qasim Reply with quote

Hello All, Hope all's well.
Looking forward to working with all of you on this proposal. On first glance, some questions that came to my mind:
1. Will all the materials for construction be acquired locally?
3. Costing breakdown does not include costs for transport (if needed, especially if some of the materials are not locally procured) as well as what it'll cost to hire the technical expert they are talking about (unless the person is working pro bono).
4. Have provisions been made for acquiring the required number of cattle? Related to this, are provisions in place to supply needed animal waste and if that is not sufficient then other inputs like crop residue?
5. Have stakeholders like farmers etc. been provided with the necessary information, awareness and education to help establish these plants?
6. What exactly will the technical expert do? Will he/she be involved in just advising on construction or furthering the sustainability of the project by training others in repair and maintenance areas for the plants? This would be of tremendous value -- a lack of knowhow among the local farmers etc. and whoever else will be benefiting from the project could significantly hamper how beneficial the project is and its longevity.
7. What kind of work are Al-Qasim's 50 volunteers engaged in currently? Will more volunteers be needed for these 15 biogas plants and if so what will their role be?
8. Relevant questions posed in the screening but not answered yet
- energy production per plant?
- who will collect cowdung and who will be paid for this?
- have local people signed on to the project? Contributing time / finances/ in other ways?
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Farooq Waraich



Joined: 15 Feb 2009
Last Visit: 17 May 2009
Posts: 3
Location: Lahore
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really echo Nida's comments here and would like to add some initial thoughts in terms of the project team and beneficiaries:

Project team:


Who will be responsible for building these plants? Who will be maintaining the biogas plants? Al-Qasim's own volunteers; externally hired labour? Will these be skilled or experienced builders?

How will this team be managed?

Who built biogas plants for AlQasim previously?


Beneficiaries:

How many people/households would each plant serve? How will the plants be allocated within Soon Valley? Will the distribution be need-based or according to the contributions made by the beneficiaries? How far do the beneficiaries live from alternative sources of fuel (e.g. fuel wood)?

Who would own these plants?

What contributions (financial or non-financial) are the beneficiaries making towards the building and installation of these plants? If they are not tied into the project in some way we should question how they would value and maintain such a large investment in their villages.

The proposal mentions an aim of achieving "partial independence" in energy requirements. To what extent would the household energy needs of the beneficiaries be addressed by the biogas plants?

We would first need to understand what the locals' energy needs are in the first place, and why installing biogas plants would make such a crucial difference, as claimed by the project proposal.

Also, do each of them have access to enough cattle to generate the 80 kgs of cow dung needed everyday to operate the plant at full capacity?

Are there likely to be any political challenges or disputes to the installation of such plants in the valley? Where will hte plants be constructed (e.g. next to peopl's houses on their own land, on shared land...) ? Also, as Nida has inquired, do we have the locals buy-in into the project?

Who will benefit from the fertiliser generated by the biogas plants? Will it be sold to generate income for the owners of the plants, or used locally?

Once these plants are installed, what plans to Al Qasim have to capitalise on the success of the project?

Why are they deciding to build 15 plants? What is the level of demand for these plants on the ground? Was the number of plants (15) dictated by ADP's funding limit, implying there was greater demand? Or, given that they initially mentioned plans to build 12-13 of these when I was soliciting the proposal, do they feel our funds can allow them to expand beyond what they really require?


Other considerations:

How successful were the previous experiences of building biogas plants (both in terms of overcoming logistical issues and in addressing the recepients' energy needs)? Do they have any performance data or reports?

Also, even though a 15-year life per plant is claimed, how resilient would such biogas plants be against the effects of local weathering and erosion?


Farooq
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Saad Hasan



Joined: 12 May 2009
Last Visit: 04 Sep 2010
Posts: 7
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys, I think Nida & Farooq nailed the right questions here. At the risk of repetition, let me just list the key questions I had:

1) 'Operating costs':
a. General question around whether they have the materials needed to run the bio-gas plants annually – manure/cattle, water and land come to mind as critical – to run these plants
b. Who are the owners of the materials listed in (a), and under what arrangement are they providing this material (free, percentage of energy output, ownership etc)
c. Technical expert: Is this a setup or on-going cost, who is the person who will be the TE, has he/she done bio-gas plants before and where will the cost come from? Will TE provide training to community on how to use plants (how to use control valves etc)?

2) NGO History:
a. Who built Al-Qasim’s bio-gas plants in the past, what was the process involved in those (funding, community usage, ownership/output usage)? Were they successful?
b. What do NGOs other 45 volunteers do, and who is going to be the point person on these 15 plants?

3) Demand and Supply quantification
a. Supply:
i. How many KW does each bio-gas plant produce? Is it producing electricity or is it hooked up to kitchen stoves like Gober gas? Is so, how many control valves will each plant have?
b. Demand:
i. What are the areas energy needs (quantified) and how much is provided by a) past bio gas plants b) alternative energy sources c) by the 15 proposed plants
ii. What is demand for run-off manure, and will it be sold or apportioned?
iii. Does the community have anything at stake in these plants such that they are invested in their success?

Look forward to talking to you all on Saturday

Best,
Saad
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Natasha Qureshi



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Last Visit: 30 Jan 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Ithaca, NY
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I apologize for my delayed response. Thank you for listing all the questions and concerns. You guys have covered all the ones I had (and more) Smile

I was wondering if these have been forwarded to the NGO so we can get answers from them before the call?

Thanks and looking fwd to speaking to you guys.

Natasha
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Ahmad Iqbal Chaudhary



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 18 May 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:08 am    Post subject: Site Visit Reply with quote

All,

Please find attached the site visit form (without pictures)

Regards,
Ahmad
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Nida Alavi



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Karachi, Pakistan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:34 pm    Post subject: 2nd Project Call Update Reply with quote

Participants:

Ahmad, Waleed, Amir & Nida

Synopsis:

Ahmad offered an overview of the site visit he conducted and observations he made about the credibility, quality and impact of Al-Qasim's work. Generally, the overall impression is positive and based on his feedback, the EC was satisfied.
Since the majority of the concerns expressed in the initial call have been satisfied both via electronic communication with Al-Qasim and the site visit, in principle, the team is on board to approve funding. However, there are a couple of areas that need to be addressed before an approval is put forward:

1) While the cost of the materials checks out with market rates, there is a concern about the quantities of materials which have been requested per plant. Therefore, in the interest of making sure that the plants are both cost effective and therefore feasible when related to output, the PT is going to be looking into assessing whether the requested quantities are reasonable. A response on that will be delivered within the next few days.

2) While one of the two references volunteered by Al-Qasim was reached, the second is yet to respond. So a second reference check needs to be completed. This will also be looked into and reported on asap.

As it stands right now, the EC has no further concerns. Everything else seems to have checked out and the call was concluded on a satisfied note with an approval contingent on the aforementioned areas being addressed adequately.

A brief discussion was also held on possible tranches of funding, if the approval for funding on principle makes it to practice. There was general agreement on the fact that an initial plant should perhaps be funded and ADP metrics be followed through on to see if there are any concerns arising from actual manufacture and use of the plant which need to be troubleshooted before subsequent plants are funded.
The timing of funding has also been flagged since an issue that Ahmad reported from the site visit is that monsoon season is approaching, during which construction cannot take place. So, ideally, if funding is to be approved, making one plant's funds available to Al-Qasim for use in July is advisable so that the one month required for completion doesnt get disrupted by rains.

I believe those, in a nutshell, were the salient points from our call. PT, EC reps who were there -- please feel free to add any burning issues that I havent included above Smile

Cheers all, Nida.
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Ahmad Iqbal Chaudhary



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 18 May 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:02 pm    Post subject: Update on Project Costing Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I checked the prices with a couple of building material dealers, attached please find a spreadsheet that gives a comparison of our analysis vs the NGO numbers. Please note that construction materials prices have been going down in the past few months and cost of sand, gravel etc might vary from area to area.

Also, met a construction contractor to vet the quantities - the quantities are resonably quoted by Al-Qasim.

Had a chat with Naeed - he says that the total cost of the plant should be 65k and that ~15k worth labour work will be contributed by the NGO and the farmers.

I have written to Mubarak for details on the other plant. Waiting for her reply on that.

Regards,
Ahmad
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Ahmad Iqbal Chaudhary



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 18 May 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:03 pm    Post subject: Update on Project Costing Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I checked the prices with a couple of building material dealers, attached please find a spreadsheet that gives a comparison of our analysis vs the NGO numbers. Please note that construction materials prices have been going down in the past few months and cost of sand, gravel etc might vary from area to area.

Also, met a construction contractor to vet the quantities - the quantities are resonably quoted by Al-Qasim.

Had a chat with Naeed - he says that the total cost of the plant should be 65k and that ~15k worth labour work will be contributed by the NGO and the farmers.

I have written to Mubarak for details on the other plant. Waiting for her reply on that.

Regards,
Ahmad
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Saad Hasan



Joined: 12 May 2009
Last Visit: 04 Sep 2010
Posts: 7
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ahmad. I had a couple of questions for about the costing:

1) Looks like the quantities being requested are in line with market, but the prices for some items are higher - is this as a result of being in Soon valley, or have prices gone down there as well, and the 50k estimate from then is now a little stale? If that is the case maybe we should go with the most current estimate for cost?

2) if al qasim is contributing 15k of labor, isnt the 12k of labor included in their estimate doublecounting, or is labor = 27k?

3) Did we hear back from mubarik on other bio gas plant cost breakdowns?

Also, just wanted to touch on the other remaining outstanding questions (EC/PT pls chime in if i missed anything here)

1) Second reference check
2) Costing questions above
3) Confirmation of gas meters on plants (i think there was question around whether this was happening on our call?)

Lastly wanted to add what I thought I heard about process moving forward on or last call:

1) ADP would fund one plant to see how it/al-qasim performs
2) The second tranche of ~5 plants would take after successful completion of this first plant, and a third tranche with the remainder of the plants would follow
3) the PT would simulatenously commence the fund-raising process, and would have a more compelling story to tell if armed with results from the first plant. Nida/PT, usmanh@gmail.com is the right person to help you to start getting prepped on that

if the PT can get back to us with questions above, the EC can let us know if there are any other O/S questions, we should be ready to go. do we need another short call for final approval or are people comfortable doing this over e-mail? If approved we can then move quickly into finalizing the contract and legal review.

thanks
saad
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Natasha Qureshi



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Last Visit: 30 Jan 2012
Posts: 11
Location: Ithaca, NY
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PT,
thanks for the great work you have done on the project! If the three outstanding questions that Saad has posted check out then I think the project will be pretty much ready to be funded the project.

Since the project approval is now in its final stages we also need to come up with a contract for Al-Qasim which will include the specifics of not only our funding amount but also the reports we expect from them etc. It would be great if you can discuss and draft the following:
1. Metrics you want the NGO to report back, based on which the next phases will be funded. (Metrics for success)
2. The frequency of these reports
3. The time required for each phase - which includes the time required to build the plant and to make it operational (delay in production of gas)
4. Schedule of meetings between PT and Al-qasim to discuss the progress.

The contract will primarily consist of the above items. Let us know if you want to discuss these on a call or on email with the EC. Also, let us know if you have questions or need help with this. I am posting a contract for another project that was recently approved, which covers all the items listed above and it may help you in the process.

Thank you and speak to you all soon.

Best,

Natasha
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Ahmad Iqbal Chaudhary



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 18 May 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:36 am    Post subject: Outstanding Queries Reply with quote

1) Looks like the quantities being requested are in line with market, but the prices for some items are higher - is this as a result of being in Soon valley, or have prices gone down there as well, and the 50k estimate from then is now a little stale? If that is the case maybe we should go with the most current estimate for cost?

We should go with the current estimate as prices of cement etc have changed after govt withdrew FED, I have asked Naeem sb to update his estimate (with latest Soon Valley prices) which will be available by day end today. The PT is also designing a monitoring plan that includes an audit mechanism to ensure tranparency, will share that with the EC next week.

2) if al qasim is contributing 15k of labor, isnt the 12k of labor included in their estimate doublecounting, or is labor = 27k?

Total cost of labor is around 27k, 15k worth labour will be contributed by the NGO and the beneficiaries (thorugh participation in excavation and civil work). Naeem sb will also send a detailed breakdown of labour cost today.

3) Did we hear back from mubarik on other bio gas plant cost breakdowns?

Havent heard from Mubarik yet on the other bio-gas plant breakdown, i dropped her a line yesterday...will upload any info she sends.

3) Confirmation of gas meters on plants (i think there was question around whether this was happening on our call?)

Yes, this is being done on our request (for monitoring purposes), the price of a meter is around PKR 500 - 800 depending on quality.

Regards,
Ahmad
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Ahmad Iqbal Chaudhary



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 18 May 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: Bio gas estimates by Mubarik Reply with quote

Hi guys, attached please find the spreadsheet sent by Mubarik with a cost estimate of the biogas plant she mentioned.

The plant uses a different technology and is hence on the higher side. We visited one such plant in Soon Valley but locals felt that fixed dome yields better results.

Regards,
Ahmad
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Ahmad Iqbal Chaudhary



Joined: 01 May 2009
Last Visit: 18 May 2010
Posts: 6
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Updated cost estimate Reply with quote

This is an updated version of the cost comparison sheet. I have incorporated Naeem sb's latest cost estimate based on Soon Valley's current prices.
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