IEEE IES humanitarian project in Honduras – Behind the scenes by the President of IEEE Smart Village
Last month you heard about the IES humanitarian initiative for a campus located in San Matias municipality of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A project aiming to improve the health and education by introducing off-grid solar powered lighting, charging station, and cooking fans.
Read the message from John P. Nelson, President of IEEE Smart Village…
Approximately one year ago, Morgan Kiani proposed that the Industrial Electronics Society (IES) team up with IEEE Smart Village to provide electricity to light up schools and homes in Honduras. She had a vision and mission to help empower women in the villages of Honduras. Morgan was insistent that the project be completed as soon as practical with the vision to powering schools with the IEEE Smart Village Sunblazer. She needed proof of concept to present to the IES Governing Board for future funding.
….and discover behind the scenes how our IEEE IES heroes finally achieved this project
To say the least, Morgan was persistent, but the Covid pandemic was an obstacle that challenged Morgan’s ability to get the project done. Her first and second proposed project sites failed to materialize primarily due to the pandemic. Not to be deterred Morgan contacted Mario Aleman who heads the recently formed IEEE Smart Village Latin America Working Group. Mario not only agreed to help, Mario solicited the help from the Honduras IEEE Section to take local ownership of the project, helped coordinate the project and was at the site with the contractor and volunteers from the Honduras Section to complete the project.
…despite numerous obstacles
The project was fast-tracking both for Morgan to provide proof of concept to the IES Governing Board and for Mario to beat the rainy season which could seriously delay the project. However, the road-blocks continued to be placed between Mario and Morgan for an early completion of the project. The question came up on who would take responsibility and ownership of the project. This is where a new precedent was set where IEEE Smart Village teamed up with the Honduras IEEE Section. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was developed between IEEE Smart Village and the Honduras Section, approved by IEEE legal and executed. However, the challenges were not yet complete. IEEE transitioned from an old accounting system to the Next Gen Accounting system. This precluded a timely transfer of money from IEEE Smart Village to the Honduras Section which posed to delay the project. This is where the Honduras Section again came to the rescue and loaned the project money for completion. Finally, after the project was completed in mid-May, funds were transferred to the Honduras Section to cover the loan and project costs. Special thanks go to the Honduras Chair Jorge Pogoaga and his section officers.
Many firsts took place during Morgan’s proof of concept project for which IEEE Smart Village owes a debt of gratitude to her, Mario and the Honduras Section including a joint venture with the Honduras Section. However, the greatest outcome and reward from the project was to see the smiles on the women and children who were empowered by this project. Thank you, Morgan, Mario, Jorge and many others who made this project successful. Please note that this “proof of concept” project is phase 1 and more improvements are planned for phase 2.
John P. Nelson, P.E.
President, IEEE Smart Village