IEEE’s focus on local programs brings needed solutions to individuals and communities.
ABOVE: IEEE student members at Kyambogo University in Uganda work with local students to design and build a solar-powered phone charger for low-income and marginalized mass communities. Through this project, students will learn the importance of renewable and alternate forms of energy.
IEEE expanded activities aimed at helping underserved populations in 2011. These initiatives built partnerships that leveraged IEEE’s expertise and global reach and addressed IEEE’s commitment to advancing technology for humanity.
Students Work Together to Deliver Community Solutions
Engineering Projects in Community Service in IEEE (EPICS in IEEE), an on-the-ground program that connects IEEE student branches and local secondary school students with nonprofit organizations, grew substantially in 2011. Working through EPICS in IEEE, students are able to provide their communities with much-needed solutions and hope for a self-sustaining future.
EPICS in IEEE focuses on 4 key categories: access and abilities, the environment, education and outreach, and human services. 2011 saw 26 projects initiated in 11 countries, including Argentina, Belgium, India, South Africa, India, and the U.S.
Creating Opportunities for Global Collaborations
Engineering for Change (E4C) was launched early in 2011 as a collaboration among IEEE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and Engineers Without Borders USA. E4C’s active Web presence provides a forum for a growing community of engineers, technologists, social scientists, non-governmental organizations, local governments, and community advocates dedicated to improving quality of life to work together, meet challenges, solve problems, and share knowledge. At the end of its first year, E4C had nearly 10,000 active members in over 160 countries.
Bringing Electricity to Rural Haiti
In 2011, the IEEE/Sirona Haiti Rural Electric Project, launched by the IEEE Community Solutions Initiative (CSI), began deployment of six SunBlazer solar-based battery-charging stations that supplied electricity to six regions of Haiti. The initial objectives were to demonstrate the viability of the technology and build a project model that pays for itself. The success of this first phase brought much-needed power to many Haitian villages.
The IEEE CSI, a volunteer group of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, is committed to the open-source design and delivery of energy solutions to power-deprived populations. Its work in Haiti is supported by an IEEE Foundation grant funded by IEEE member donations.
IEEE Sections Working Together Across the World
The IEEE Uruguay Section’s successful 2010 opening of E-Scientia, an interactive exhibit for pre-university students at the Espacio Ciencia museum in Montevideo, spurred a collaborative effort to expand this project to other continents in 2011. The IEEE Uruguay Section helped the Hyderabad Section create a 5,000-square-foot interactive museum at the B.M. Birla Science Centre in Hyderabad, India. Made possible through a collaborative effort among IEEE section volunteers, science center staff, local industry, and pre-university teachers, the B.M. Birla Science Centre features a series of hands-on exhibits that demonstrate the fundamentals and applications of electrical and computer engineering. The impact of this effort was immediately visible: the museum is now visited by at least 1,000 students per week.
IEEE-USA Working Hand-in-Hand with U.S. Government Officials
IEEE-USA works to build the careers of engineers and shape public policy. In 2011, it formally opened conversations with U.S. government officials to develop new avenues for IEEE members to take advantage of programs that promote growing high-tech businesses.
IEEE-USA arranged a meeting between federal agencies responsible for promoting small business and entrepreneurship in the fast-changing tech sector, laying an important foundation for future collaborations between the agencies and small business owners.