IEEE Smart Village and Global Himalayan Expedition Help Himalayan Students Imagine Life with Electricity

Highlights of IEEE Smart Village Projects Being Presented During 2015 IEEE-IEMA Intelect Conference, 22-24 January in Mumbai, India

IEEE Smart Village today announced that an “education base” it has helped equip at a Himalayan boarding school is enabling children from remote, off-grid communities of Ladakh to develop an interest in renewable technologies and explore how various clean-energy solutions can bring lasting change to their home villages. IEEE Smart Village, formerly known as “CSI” (Community Solutions Initiative), contributed renewable-energy technologies and professional support to the Global Himalayan Expedition‘s upgrade of the Third Pole Education Base—or “E-Base”—at the Mahabodhi Residential School in the city of Leh, India.

The Mahabodhi Residential School serves students from class nursery to 10th standard, including many from surrounding villages of the mountainous Ladakh region with no access to electricity. Because of its very severe terrain, 11,000 feet above sea level, the Mahabodhi Residential School had limited connectivity to the outside world before the E-Base.

“Kids would come to Leh, stay at the boarding school, learn basic science and math and then return to their homes,” said Pranav Mehrotra, an IEEE Smart Village ambassador who participated in the Global Himalayan Expedition project in Ladakh. “Now the students are working on sustainability projects including waste management, bio-diversity and clean-energy access, while sharing these innovative ideas with the local community.”

The renewable-energy technologies that power the E-Base are leveraged in student curriculum at the Mahabodhi Residential School. For example, students learn to build and use pedal-power “light cycles,” which generate 2.5 to 10 volts of electricity, from wood, batteries and bicycle parts that are all sourced locally.

“The students of the Mahabodhi Residential School are learning that they can bring renewable-energy solutions back to their home villages and participate in improving their families’ and friends’ lives,” said Mike Wilson, senior program manager, IEEE Smart Village. “Imagine the potential, long-term impact of empowering 200 future entrepreneurs from off-grid villages with the know-how to bring renewable energy-based solutions to their communities.

Upgrading the E-Base, which was deployed in 2013 (http://www.ghe.co.in/impact.html#impactEbase), was one element of the Global Himalayan Expedition’s work in Ladakh in 2014. IEEE Smart Village ambassador Pranav Mehrotra also participated with the team in deploying a DC solar micro-grid in Sumda Chenmo, to bring reliable electricity for the first time to the village (http://www.ghe.co.in/2014.html).

“These DC solar micro-grids are a first-of-their-kind installation in the Himalayas with easy to setup process and requiring low maintenance. This could be the ideal solution toward remote Himalayan village electrification,” said Paras Loomba, founder of Global Himalayan Expedition. “As these grids would eventually be owned and run by a Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE), the solution can be easily replicated in adjoining regions. The energy access acts as a great tool to enhance the income generation of the local population, by helping in the increase of home stays by trekkers and tourists alike. Partnering with IEEE Smart Village would help Global Himalayan Expedition reach out to more such remote villages and equip them with better and efficiently designed energy setup.”

For more information on participating in Global Himalayan Expedition projects, please visit http://www.ghe.co.in/join.html.

IEEE Smart Village—an IEEE Foundation Signature Program organized in 2010 as “CSI”—empowers local entrepreneurs through a sustainable business model to establish and operate micro-utility social enterprises in energy-deprived communities. IEEE Smart Village provides the initial technology solutions with a self-sustaining business model to in-country NGO partners, empowering them with renewable-energy solutions for targeted communities. IEEE Smart Village assists the program partner in establishing a sustainable business plan and transfers necessary technical skills and ongoing mentorship to local entrepreneurs for installing, operating and maintaining the renewable solutions.

IEEE Smart Village solutions are currently serving over 15,000 people through local partners in Cameroon, Haiti, India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan, with a projected 75,000 people in 2015. IEEE Smart Village, which is a donor-supported program, aims to plant up to 10 new startups per year, each with the goal of reaching 1 million people in five years of operation. For more information on IEEE Smart Village, including how to get involved and to donate, please visit https://ieeefoundation.org/SmartVillage_donation.

IEEE volunteers and partners actively involved in IEEE Smart Village will highlight projects and pilots underway during panel sessions at the IEEE-IEEMA 2015 Intelect Conference and Exposition in Mumbai, India 22-24 January 2015. For more information, please visit http://www.ii-intelect.org.

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Contacts
For IEEE Smart Village
Vivian Kelly
(c) +1 703-509-5412
viviankelly@interprosepr.com
or
IEEE
Francine Tardo
+1 732-465-5865
f.tardo@ieee.org