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Tsunami Birdhouses? A Lesson In Innovative Social Enterprise

| Wednesday April 30th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Tsunami%20Birdhouse.pngThey say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well in the case of P2P Rescue, they’ve done just that, making Tsunami Birdhouses. Come again? Yes, first begun when multiple countries suffered from the effects of the December 2004 tsunami, they are selling birdhouses made from materials scavenged from the wreckage of that tsunami in Sri Lanka. Though the tsunami is long gone, people’s troubles are not, as ethnic conflicts with the Tamil population continue to cause unnecessary loss of life.
What’s in a name? As they put it so well,

“P2P” is a well-known acronym in technology circles standing for “peer-to-peer” networking, or digital communication between two or more roughly equal computers or networks. P2P (People-to-People) Rescue was created to provide support to people in need with an emphasis on a similar notion of equality coupled with innovation.


Much like Sustainable Harvest International, P2P seeks to empower the population of Sri Lanka, rather then make temporary charitable gestures. From the unique birdhouses to the website itself, the Sri Lankans themselves play an active role here in creating greater economic prosperity, education, and stability.
Beyond birdhouses, they step in to help elephants. Apparently there is frequent conflict between elephants and humans over land use, resulting in injury to both. P2P works with a local company that creates PooPaper. Yes, they convert dung to paper, to beautiful results. Who knew? This supports them in working to preserve elephant migration paths and educating the population about these magnificent creatures.
Life of the non legged variety, the coral reefs, were also heavily damaged in the tsunami, and serve a crucial role in the welfare of the local marine life. P2P supports the Paavima Aqua Project restoring them. In the process of doing this, they train local population to be professional divers.
Returning to the very human impact the tsunamis have is their Shows 4 Shelters program that enlists the well respected Mangofriends puppet troop (an art form with a long history in the region) to give shows to people who continue to live in transitional housing. Sometimes it’s the simple, human gestures that can have the most profound impact on a person’s well being.
P2P doesn’t limit its scope to Sri Lanka. One of their goals is to, “Build a repeatable, not-for-profit model that can be applied with increasing speed under a variety of post-disaster conditions, including environmental, political, and more.” If you’d like to know more about P2P or become involved, visit www.p2prescue.org
Readers: What other organizations like this should we all know about?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. His overarching talent is “bottom lining” complex ideas, in a way that is understandable and accessible to a variety of audiences, internal and external to a company.


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