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IEEE PES Funds IEEE Smart Village Education Initiative

Education a vital element of Smart Village’s systematic approach to development

Recognizing and building upon the success of earlier investments in energy infrastructure, and consistent with its comprehensive, systematic approach to development, the IEEE Power and Engineering Society (PES) has directed a US$ 500,000 donation to the IEEE Smart Village to support education initiatives. This funding expands investment in villages with existing IEEE Smart Village energy projects. This donation is consistent with the IEEE Smart Village approach to development that seeks to build upon a foundation of advanced technology for energy, communications, and water and sanitation to advance entrepreneurship and education to foster sustainable, local economic development.

“When the IEEE Smart Village team addresses a locale, our systematic approach seeks to ‘bring the world to the village’–and education is essential to this vision”, said Dr. Robin Podmore, vice-chair of IEEE Smart Village.  Dr. Podmore was the liaison between IEEE Smart Village and IEEE PES and was instrumental in convincing the society of the needs that had been identified.

The IEEE Smart Village Education Committee, led by Ms. Olga Anderson, had surveyed the communities to determine their specific educational needs. The funds are targeted to address those needs and are prioritized across all the opportunities presented. Funding will be applied to the following seven projects in five countries: Cameroon, India, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Uganda.

  • Renewable Energy Innovators Cameroon (REIc): In the northwest region of Cameroon, classrooms in villages around Sabongari need modernization. REIc is purchasing computers for digital classrooms and providing Internet access.  These upgrades will support English as a Second Language studies, mathematics, and IT vocational training.

Solar power installation in Sabongari, Cameroon

  • Torch Bearers Foundation (Cameroon): The educational development will involve new training centers focused on the local agricultural needs. After developing a machine shop to teach about and fabricate farm implements, students will gain the skills to operate modern milling and fabrication equipment. Additionally, a learning farm will be established to provide hands-on experience under the instruction of knowledgeable tutors.  Ranchers will be trained on best practices and modern techniques for raising livestock and poultry.  New media equipment will document best practices and make it available via the Internet connection for future learning opportunities.
  • Seva-Bharati (India): For the Kapgari and Jhargram communities of the West Bengal district, a teaching facility will be equipped as a multi-purpose training room with a large computer monitor, whiteboards, and computers. Hands-on vocational training will start with solar power, teaching young adults the basics of electricity, battery maintenance, solar powered irrigation, maintenance, and refrigeration in service of their communities.
  • United for Hope (India): A training center in the United for Hope multi-purpose building will be equipped to help teach business and entrepreneurial skills to young adults and to develop a women’s health and hygiene traveling workshop. The plan is to present this workshop in up to 100 schools providing young men and women accurate information on menstruation. United for Hope plans to make this training available for other IEEE Smart Village projects.
  • The Maa Trust (TMT) (Kenya): TMT is a non-profit organization that supports sustainable community development and environmental conservation in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. Current efforts are directed toward the Narok District, including the Pardamat and Talek regions. A previous grant from IEEE Smart Village funded the deployment of a solar-powered IT hub/vocational training center. The new educational initiatives will provide training for: IT digital literacy skills, entrepreneurship, the expansion of vocational training in beadwork and beekeeping, and career guidance
  • Shaybis Nigeria, LTD: Tunde Y. Salihu, head of the Shaybis micro-grid utility, will establish vocational training centers in the Kwara state. To foster the local expansion of solar power systems,training will address the installation of code compliant electrical wiring, and the safe deployment and maintenance of solar power panels and battery plants. To encourage women to participate in this training, women will receive a discount on their enrollment fees.
  • Community Transformation Center (CTC) (Papua New Guinea): The funding for the Mandan CTC will be applied to purchase custom-designed portable electronic classroom training kits that will include foldable solar power panels, computers, projectors, and Wi-Fi access nodes. Once trained on the equipment’s use, teachers will be able to transport the kit to more than 30 local schools. Additional training will focus the use of the solar powered portable equipment, business operations of solar power plants, financial planning and management, and business opportunities in support of Rotary International’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs.
  • Africa Development Promise (ADP) (Uganda): With its focus on women’s empowerment in the Uganda’s Wakiso District, ADP will apply funding toelectric sewing machines and seamstress training. This will enable women to either start their own tailoring business or form clothes making cooperatives. Funds also will be directed to develop computer literacy. Training classes will be established with newly-purchased computers for the women to learn basic computer skills, standard software packages like word processing and accounting, and web-based learning. Computer literacy coaches from the Makerere University will work with the women.  Additional educational training will be focused on the youth in the community with afterschool computer literacy training.

A priority initiative of the IEEE Foundation, IEEE Smart Village has helped more than 70 villages with solar power equipment, entrepreneurial training and education.  As a 501 C(3) organization, it benefits from your tax deductible contribution.

For more information, visit the following web site: www.ieee-smart-village.org

Dan Estes
IEEE Smart Village Marketing Chairman