The IEEE Smart Village (ISV) meeting took place on November 29, 2018 at Safari Park Hotel, Kumbayah Hall where 48 members were present. The guest speaker was Dr. Robin Podmore, the Co-Founder of ISV and President of IncSys. The ISV offers programs on renewable energy, community-based education, and entrepreneurial opportunities for off-grid communities.
The ISV funds selected community entrepreneurs carefully based upon credible business plans that individually aim to impact one million people with electricity, education and jobs.
The ISV entrepreneurs work in villages to build the confidence and support of local communities. They consistently demonstrate a deep respect for preserving the best of local cultures and heritages while gracefully introducing new technology and business practices.
Dr. Podmore spoke about Smart Village’s dream for the future of Kenya, including electricity, education and employment for all. In addition to these, preserving the environment for the animals and future generations. Ways of realizing this dream were discussed and we came to the following conclusion including:
- Reducing the migration to cities by finding and empowering Kenyan entrepreneurs in the local communities
- Attracting the best minds and hearts into working in the villages
- Building the capacity of indigenous Kenyan organizations
- Making our work visible to the general public and to highest levels of industry, academia, government and entertainment
- Being the Bridge between Top Down and Bottom Up approaches
- Building the bridges between engineers and pastoralists
There is now a convergence of technologies and skill sets required from village grids to continental grids. By participating in village electrification, education and empowerment, national power companies and suppliers can greatly enhance their relationships with key community stakeholders. In this presentation, Dr. Podmore covered how IEEE Smart Village is with the Maa Trust in the Maasai Mara to provide IT Hubs, IT Training, along with digital libraries and digital virtual instructors.
In attendance were system operators from the national utility Kenya Power and other local organizations aimed at promoting local involvement in technological innovations. Dr. Podmore encouraged the women in engineering to join the Women in Power team to Foster meaningful collaborations with their counterparts to see the dreams of a better future for Kenya, and Africa in general.
We leveraged on this to encourage more memberships so as to grow the IEEE and PES family in particular. Special thanks to Dr. Podmore for coming to Kenya. The members were very glad to see him and interact with him.
Sainab Taiwo Ninalowo
Chair, IEEE PES WiP