IEEE Smart Village integrates sustainable electricity, education, and entrepreneurial solutions to empower off-grid communities.
A world where all people enjoy equal access to electricity and education to grow opportunities and leverage change for themselves and others.
IEEE Smart Village stimulates development of new renewable electricity systems, start-up training and ongoing support to help poor, energy-deprived communities globally build toward sustainable prosperity.
The inspiration for IEEE Smart Village stems from the IEEE -UN Foundation sponsored Humanitarian Challenge program of 2009-10 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate the worst of global poverty by 2030.
Electricity is proven to be a major driver to eliminate the worst of poverty and build toward sustainable community prosperity. An estimated 1.4 billion people around the world today live without any access to electricity, and at least an equal number suffer from very poor quality and unreliable electricity. Lighting in these areas depends on kerosene lamps and candles which are expensive and emit harmful fumes. Cooking depends on burning wood and charcoal, also harmful and detrimental to environment. With even a moderate access to basic electricity, however, people in off-grid regions take a leap forward toward securing other critical services lacking in their communities: clean water, sanitation, health services, access to education, access to markets for their produce and participation in the global economy. IEEE Smart Village—an IEEE Foundation Signature Program—addresses these profound needs with strategic partnerships in a brand-new and sweeping way.
Micro-utility electrical equipment is seed-funded to in-country, non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to create self-sustaining, community-owned and operated businesses where people are typically living on less than $1-2 per day. Drawing IEEE talents from a pool of of more than 400,000 members and combining with sustainable development partners in technology, education and business, IEEE Smart Village strives to deliver immediate, life-changing impact.
Thus IEEE Smart Village holistically supports local entrepreneurs in off-grid communities to grow electricity businesses of the scope and character that best serve the specific needs of customers in those communities. The communities are the most important partners because without their loyalty, the business cannot succeed. Ideally, the community feels a sense of ownership of the franchise and maximum benefits accrue directly to that community, not outside ownership.
IEEE Smart Village provides the following standard products under seed funding agreements:
- Solar panel array charging stations, along with portable battery kits to homeowners
- Wireless systems and classroom projectors and computers for schools to interconnect like the IEEE Global Classroom Learning Communities
- Microgrids for home and businesses with larger loads such as shops, electric tools, water pumps, fans, refrigeration and TV
- Agricultural irrigation pumping systems and electric vehicle charging
- Standalone home solar systems
To date, IEEE Smart Village has achieved considerable success with pilots in Cameroon, Haiti, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria and South Sudan. New NGO partners are starting up in India, Uganda and Papua New Guinea. Others in planning for 2017 are in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and India. On the horizon for 2018 are Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Bangladesh. , with a goal of ten new startups per year for the next decade.
A major fundraising initiative is underway to help enable IEEE Smart Village to:
- Scale up the promising pilot efforts in targeted countries around the world
- Promote the pilot efforts widely across the global IEEE network of members, students and universities
- Convene government leaders and other stakeholders to accelerate adoption of the IEEE Smart Village system and other proven approaches
- Empower entrepreneurs around the globe to permanently improve the environment, the economy and the lives of millions.
Please support IEEE Smart Village today!