Elad Orian '08 (Israel)

Comet-ME proudly announces it is one of 12 finalists in the BBC World Challenge 2009. This global competition focuses on grassroots projects and small businesses worldwide that are taking effective, innovative action in environmental and socio-economic issues. In November, the winning project will receive an award of $20,000! Comet-ME would use this prize to expand our project and to provide sustainable energy to another community. The winning project will be determined by online voting between 28 September 2009 and 13 November 2009.

Comet-ME, a group of Israelis, Palestinians, and international volunteers, works with very poor communities in the south of Palestine. Under Israeli military occupation for 42 years, these people have no access to the electricity grid. Our common goal is to help these people build sustainable energy systems using solar and wind power. Illumination, communication, and refrigeration increase their potential for generating revenue and reducing chronic poverty. We work with mutual interest and mutual respect, in the conviction that what we build together can begin to heal what has been destroyed. Each community owns its own project, and its local committee makes all relevant decisions; we provide materials and knowledge for building the energy systems. We foster initiative by teaching and encouraging them to maintain their energy systems. All of us believe that working together on such projects weakens the barriers of suspicion and hostility, ultimately facilitating the end of racism and segregation in the Middle East. Building energy systems in the occupied territories, we face daily danger to our work, both from Israeli settlers and from the Israeli army. It's critical, therefore, that we become internationally recognized. International public opinion has significant impact in Israel. For all these these reasons, we ask you to cast your vote for Comet-ME in the BBC World Challenge 2009. Please visit the voting website during the voting period of 28 September through 13 November 2009, and vote for Comet-ME. And then, please visit our website to learn more about the work we are doing with communities in the South Hebron Hills of Palestine. You can also follow us on our Facebook or twitter pages for day to day updates on the work we do. We hope you will forward this e-mail to all your friends, encouraging them to join you in casting a vote for Comet-ME.