EMPOWER: Vol 2. Issue 6 – July 2021

Home / News / EMPOWER: Vol 2. Issue 6 – July 2021
Posted On: 07.25.2021

President’s Short Message
PAC 2021 is set to take off in August

The IEEE Power Africa Conference 2021 (PAC21) will again be hosted by the IEEE Kenya Section during the week of August 23 – 27, 2021. Due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, the conference will be held virtually. Attendees of PAC21 will have the opportunity to listen to keynote speakers, attend paper presentations from fellow students and engineers, and attend tutorials presented by industry experts. This will also be a great opportunity to network with friends and associates from within Africa and the wider world.

Left to right: Robin Podmore, Crystal Mogensen, Monica Brown, Ciza Ndegey and Ren Wilson during PAC2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.


IEEE Smart Village (ISV) will be hosting its members, entrepreneurs and supporters who will have an opportunity to listen to presentations on ISV Projects. It will further host a student paper contest, run a competition titled “Meet the Entrepreneur” and conduct a “New Talent Program.”

While 2020 was very challenging to ISV and the world, 2021 appears to be heading in a much better direction. I am proud of what the ISV team has accomplished during the last year. As a result, I will have the opportunity to make a presentation, which I have decided to be reflective on the accomplishments of last year. My presentation will be “IEEE Smart Village – A Year in Retrospect.”
Plan to be part of an amazing conference!

John Nelson,
ISV President.

Honorable Mention R8 WIE Inspiring Member of the Year Award
The IEEE Smart Village (ISV) community recognizes the honorable mention of Mercy Chelangat from IEEE Region 8, Africa, and Kenya as the Women in Engineering (WIE) Inspiring Member of the Year 2021 Award. This award was dedicated towards Mercy’s efforts in empowering rural communities through electrification to achieve socioeconomic sustainability.
(photo: Mercy Chelangat)

The IEEE Smart Village (ISV) community recognizes the honorable mention of Mercy Chelangat from IEEE Region 8, Africa, and Kenya as the Women in Engineering (WIE) Inspiring Member of the year 2021 Award. This award was dedicated towards Mercy’s efforts in empowering rural communities through electrification to achieve socioeconomic sustainability. This could not have been possible without the support and guidance of ISV, which aims to empower off-grid communities with clean energy, education, and microenterprise development.

Mercy has contributed toward the achievement of WIE goals by joining hands with volunteers in the local affinity groups to provide resources such as mentorship programs to ongoing student through the IEEE Moi University Student Branch, of which she was an alumnus.

She has also taken part in the OMICRON Energizing Women (OEW) Summit, held in partnership with IEEE Region 8, IEEE Africa and Omicron Middle East alongside the first Power Systems Protection Summit aimed at inspiring women electrical engineers while helping them forge their way to helping society. With 31 female electrical engineers participating, Mercy emerged as the final panelist among the four.

The young recipient of the WIE award has supported several WIE activities through marketing, strategic partnerships with other organizational Units. Her notable memory is that of the IEEE Student-Teacher and Research Engineer/Scientist (STAR) Program, one of Kenya’s slums to educate the girls on the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in their careers.

Mercy has also participated in other events such as the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Summits (WIE ILS) hosted by the Uganda Section, Empowering Women Summit with Turkey Section, webinars with various student branch chapters from India, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia. She has further participated in the IEEE Turkey WIE E-Tea Talks to discuss entrepreneurship, and in the IEEE APPEEC Asia Pacific Power Engineering Conference Women in Power session.

“Receiving the award made me realize that my contribution to the engineering sector is making a difference, which is inspiring. With this award I hope to see more young girls aspiring to be in this industry which has for years been dominated by men. I hope it also encourages them that despite the challenges they face in this field, they have the ability to be well renowned professionals and succeed in their space. It is also to encourage them to work hard and pursue their dreams bravely,” Mercy explained.

The IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) awards recognizes WIE members and WIE Affinity Groups who have made an outstanding contribution to IEEE WIE, their community, and the engineering profession by dedicating themselves in projects aimed at the achievement of IEEE WIE objectives.

The following are the objectives of WIE:

  • Aid with the formation of new IEEE WIE Affinity Groups and support ongoing activities.
  • Organize workshops at major technical conferences to enhance networking and to promote membership in IEEE WIE.
  • Advocate women in leadership roles in IEEE governance and career advancement for women in the profession.
  • Facilitate the development of programs and activities that promote the entry into, and retention of, women in engineering programs.
  • Administer the IEEE Student-Teacher and Research Engineer/Scientist (STAR) Program to mentor young women in junior high and high schools.

Congratulations to other recipients of the Women in Engineering Awards. More information can be found on: https://wie.ieee.org/ieee-wie-awards-program/.

Donations are still welcome ahead PAC 2021
Each year, IEEE Smart Village co-locates a series of workshops, presentations and roundtable discussions at IEEE’s annual Power Africa Conference (PAC 2021). This year’s virtual event will be held August 23rd to 27th, 2021.

Help PAC 2021 by becoming a sponsor! Help global energy entrepreneurs to attend PAC 2021 and to participate in a variety of interactive workshops, networking opportunities, and competitions. Participation in PAC 2021 plays a central role in the continued success and development of a growing network of global IEEE Smart Village energy entrepreneurs. We are witnessing an increase in the number of qualified entrepreneurs desiring to attend the Virtual PAC 2021, however costly data plans make it difficult for many. Your contributions, as a stipend will put PAC 2021 within reach to these ‘budding’ energy entrepreneurs from remote corners around the globe. As a PAC 2021 Sponsor, you are helping them help their local villagers.

    • $50,000 sponsorship will enable every delegate to attend the special tutorials tailored to IEEE Smart Village participants.
    • $10,000 sponsorship will make it possible to award 5 existing or new entrepreneurs with a Covid-19 Response Project competition.
    • $2,500 sponsorship will make it possible for 50 energy entrepreneurs to purchase a Data Plan needed to attend the Virtual PAC 2021 sessions.

Sponsorship funds will implement unique solutions that integrate energy and education towards fighting the effects of the pandemic and creating more sustainable activities during the post Covid-19 pandemic. Please share this special appeal with your business colleagues, and friends as well!

Please contact Mr. Michael Deering for sponsorship details: m.deering@ieee.org
Main +1.732.562-3915
Mobile: +1.609-731-1769.

IEEE Smart Village delegates include leaders from the supported programs alongside potential future energy entrepreneurs who are in the process of requesting funding. In order to ensure the widest possible involvement, IEEE Smart Village provides modest participation support to entrepreneurs on merit basis. With key grant support, many more energy entrepreneurs can attend and benefit from the training. The passion and care of people like you keep us going, and we hope we make you proud of how these funds benefit our entrepreneurs during these challenging times.

As part of the grant funding, the sponsor will be welcome to present to both the Smart Village delegates, as well as PAC 2021 registrants at large, on a variety of development issues related to their functional expertise. Appropriate recognition will be provided to the sponsor according to donation level, via a variety of print and electronic IEEE and IEEE Foundation media, as well as signage during the Power Africa 2020 Virtual Conference. THANK YOU!

ISVX North American Working Group – Est. December 2020
Since the creation of the North America Working Group (NAWG) in December 2020, it has been working hard to identify and attracted viable projects to help develop and explore how they can be implemented with the help of ISVx.

To kick off the group’s vision, it has been suggested to schedule speakers, especially those with possible low cost and/or low tech solutions to present during the monthly meetings. It has been suggested to have the first presentation from a sophomore at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) pursuing Environmental Studies. Visala Tallavarjula will speak about her award-winning water irrigation project. Visala will be joined by Ayushi Sharma from SunMoksha, who will be conducting tests, including sensors and Internet of Things. Their research is being done at the agriculture center at UCSB.

The group is also looking forward to invite, IEEE Smart Village (ISV) Project Development Committee Chair, David Kankam, to give an overview of the criteria and answer questions from the project representatives as well as the committee members.

NAWG is also identifying possible projects, and so far three distinct ones are being reviewed:

  • University of Calgary: to explore and develop templates of engaging university students to identify challenges in a community, and work together on possible solutions. The template will be available to other universities throughout North America;
  • Dine College: The College have a number of project, but the Entrepreneurs Hub maybe a starting point for the Committee; and
  • Sedona Greenhouse: Community based education program for greenhouses and ecotourism, Indigenous Medicines and other vegetables to encourage a community to learn, grow and sell produce.

The NAWG is on target to achieve its goals, and will continue to increase its membership, discover projects and make an impact on the lives of many entrepreneurs.

NAWG Committee Members are:

  • Joan Kerr and Ashok Das as Co-Chairs,
  • Ayushi Sharma, as Secretary,
  • Ray Larsen, Rajan Kapur,
  • Wei-Jen Lee,
  • Peter Dauenhauer, and
  • Sai Tallavarjula.

Online IEEE Entrepreneurship Africa Workshop
An online workshop with multiple sessions spread over a four- to six-week period, organized by IEEE Entrepreneurship, IEEE Smart Village Power Africa, and the IEEE Kenya Section is scheduled during September-October 2021. Participants will be introduced to the basics of entrepreneurship-seeking opportunities for innovative technical solutions to the needs of the society and taking these ideas to the market by developing a viable business model, a sound business plan, and a commercialization strategy.

For more information, visit https://entrepreneurship.ieee.org/2021-announcing-online-africa-workshop/.

Facilitators and participants of the IEEE Entrepreneurship Workshop in 2019

“Meet the Entrepreneur” Competition opens
Winners of “Meet the Entrepreneur” 2020
“Meet the Entrepreneur” competition is an opportunity to pitch your ideas to the IEEE Smart Village community. This video pitch competition, in view of the “decade of action” aimed at driving change between 2020 and 2030, invites individuals with original and innovative approaches to current world problems.

Winners of “Meet the Entrepreneur” 2020


These projects should have great potential to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aligned with IEEE Smart Village’s three core pillars i.e. energy, education and enterprise development. This goes hand in hand with the IEEE mission of Advancing Technology for Humanity.

Just send a short video (videos longer than 7-minutes will be automatically rejected) showcasing your exciting fast-growing startup with local or global market ambitions. Show your field experience and provide an insight into how you execute your business strategy. It is particularly encouraged that proposals for competitions from emerging areas or new technologies for ISV interdisciplinary topics are targeted to attract a significant cross-section of the group.

ISV recognizes that everyone is a gold medal winner in their own way; as such, the competition identifies and highlights the different unique skill sets exhibited in the various submissions. The criteria used to judge the videos will be based on whether there is a story narration, the clarity in flow of thoughts, the audience’s reaction, visual appeal, overall impression of the narrative, how compelling the idea is, and finally, attention to detail.

There will be a total of 5 awards, $500 award each in the categories of:

  • “Best Planned Project” – aka “Best Production Design” – This recognition will be awarded to the candidate who has the most financially thought out, most sustainable project or program proposal. Their project will have the real potential to be scaled and reach hundreds of thousands of people in the near future. A project or program that can be replicated by others and expanded, this would serve as a replicable model for other energy entrepreneurs.
  • “Best Technical Advancement”– aka “Scientific & Technical Award” – This could be an actual hardware and/or software project or program, or a conceptual/pilot or even a wild idea. In fact it could be a great microgrid installation or a new concept for a technical solution that needs to be developed.
  • “Best overall production” – aka “Academy Awards or Best Picture,” for the highest quality video, audio, lighting, informative and entertaining content. A great overall production would merit this award. – The ideal candidate will have a chance to produce, direct or create other videos for Smart Village. This criterion is not quite focused on the idea but the effort put into making the video presentable.
  • “Most likely to succeed” – aka – “Best Screenplay” – Regardless of the quality of the video produced, the ideal project appears to be a project or a program with best chances of success if it were to be funded and supported. The ideal candidate would be in a good position for future ISV funding consideration. This could be a potential candidate to evaluate for other ISV support applications. The winner could also be a scriptwriter for other projects or programs to be videotaped.
  • “Most Charismatic Delivery” – aka “Best Actor or Actress” – This recognition will be awarded to the best storyteller or narrator or one who looks best “on camera.” This person will have the chance to be the future “voice” of Smart Village, or maybe be an on-camera spokesperson or provide voiceover narration on other ISV videos.

For more information click the link:

Solar Mini Grid excites Nigeria’s Kwara Community
Nigeria’s Famole Surulere community of Kwara State has been in existence since time immemorial but has never enjoyed the benefit of being connected to the national grid for their electricity supply. This is something of the past, thanks to Shaybis Nigeria Limited that have electrified the community with a mini solar grid.

Shaybis Nigeria Limited staff at Famole Mini grid project


For many of the residents, it has been difficult to rationalize the fact that despite being located at the heart of council area, the issue of their electricity has remained a mirage after several attempts failed to yield any fruitful results.
Shaybis Nigeria Limited, saw the agent need for the area to be connected to an electricity supply as such it has installed a solar mini grid at a cost 30 million Nigeria Naira with the help of IEEE Smart Village (ISV). The project that started in April has a life span of about 30 years.
Managing Director of the company, Engineer Tunde Yusuf Saliu, said the choice of Famole Surulere project was arrived at following the agreement reached with the residents and after careful consideration of the economic potentials of the community, which is seriously being hampered by their lack of the electricity.

“We are giving them what they can’t get even in town at a relative cost of N3,000 per household monthly. We are further hoping to serve about 30 domestic customers and seven commercial customers comprising of 43 households,” Tunde explained. “Because of our cost recovery strategy, our cost may be higher as we are not subsidized in any form by anybody. The price will further be reduced as we get more people into the project.”

The decision to turn to generators for alternative power supply for the people has however turned out to be a very expensive venture considering the expenses on fuel and maintenance of the generators.

Tunde further thanked ISV’s support through funding and technical enlightenment despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the issue, the Village Head of Famole Surulere, Sule Aweda, disclosed that the ancient community has been in existence for almost 100 years and there was never a time the community was connected to the National Grid within the period under review.
According to him, the community often plays host to a large number of people from different parts of the country, who participate in its weekly assemblage of market – both men and women.

Although the largely agrarian community has attracted people from across the country including the Fulani from north and the Igbos from the east among others, its power problem has negatively affected the local economy limiting its potentials to be an economic hub in the local government. However, with Shaybis Nigeria Limited coming to the community, most of the challenges will soon be a thing of the past.

Important links you don’t want to miss!



Would you like to receive the monthly EmPower newsletter and other Smart Village communications? Rest assured, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Media Contacts

445 Hose Lane
Plscataway, NJ 08854, U.S.A

+1 732 562 3915