EMPOWER: Volume 1 Issue 3 December 2020

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Posted On: 01.04.2021
  • SunBlazer #:7 ready to roll: Next Stop: Washington DC (Defense University), October

  • Albe Larsen on Booth Duty

  • Alan Rotz, PES President, Noel Schulz, President Elect, Saifur Rahman, VP New Initiatives

  • Ray Larsen, Robin Podmore, Mary Ward-Callan IEEE HTC, Wayne Gutschow

  • Robin Podmore, Wanda Reder, Past President PES, Wayne Gutschow, Albe & Ray Larsen

  • Wayne Gutschow on Booth Duty

  • CSI SunBlazer on Display at PES General Meeting, Detroit Marriott Renaissance

GALLERY: PES General Meeting 7/24-28, 2011 CSI SunBlazer on Display

Welcome to the December 2020 ISVx EmPower Newsletter
December is always a good time to reflect back on the year and prepare for the coming new year. This year will most likely go down as a society altering year which has changed the world in all aspects. The COVID-19 pandemic has been costly and changed the lives of practically everyone in the world.
IEEE Smart Village (ISVx) was heavily impacted by the pandemic which drastically limited the number of projects we could support this year. What is sad is that the Wall Street Journal recently stated that over 100 million people entered the poverty level earning less than $1.90 (USD) per day. With the support of the IEEE Foundation, IEEE Societies, donors and other funding sources, ISVx is poised to be stronger in 2021 allowing the funding of money to support more projects in 2021 than 2020…

It is imperative to mention that ISVx is not a charity rather, the organization funds projects that are to be self-sustaining. The projects are aimed to empower under privileged people around the world. We reach these underprivileged people through the entrepreneurs we fund: these entrepreneurs are central to our mission. In an effort to better support these entrepreneurs, ISVx has set up a “Hall of Honor Fund” in recognition of Ray Larsen and Robin Podmore to support educational opportunities among our

entrepreneurs. More will be said on this new fund early next year. In preparation for 2021, ISVx has been fortunate in receiving significant funding from the IEEE Foundation and the Nuclear Plasma and Sciences Society (NPSS) amounting to over $600,000. We have been fortunate to receive more significant funding going into 2021, but ISVx needs to be selfsustaining, just like the projects we fund.
Looking into 2022 and beyond shows a bleak future for ISVx and the beneficial projects that ISVx supports. As such, ISVx is developing funding opportunities which have not been considered in the past. ISVx has set up the SVSV (Silicon Valley Smart Village) Rotary E-Club to leverage funding efforts with the 1.2 million international Rotarians. ISVx is also teaming up with universities and corporations to leverage funding for joint ventures and proposals. These efforts are not being conducted in a vacuum but are leveraging the worldwide recognition of ISVx entrepreneurs who are working to meet the three ISVs pillars of energy, education and entrepreneurship. As a result of the 2020 pandemic, ISVx recognized the importance of tele-health services through the communications connectivity developed within ISVx projects. Please look forward and support ISVx in these funding opportunities.
As I end, I am aware of, at least fourteen religious holidays and events from the last part of November through January. As a Christian, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. For those of other beliefs, I wish them a similar message according to their religion.
Thank you,

John Nelson.

Short narrative of Mercy Chelangat K.
Mercy Chelengat was born and raised in an agriculturally rich locality in the highlands of Sotik, Kenya. She grew up assisting her parents with their subsistence farming that provided the family with food.
Growing up in an area with limited access to electricity, her studies were limited to daytime only while attending school. Being an avid reader, this made it difficult to study at night. Mercy always wondered how life would be if she was able to read every night, as opposed to being limited to daytime. This motivated her to seek interest along these lines, that were rarely spoken about. For her, electricity seemed like a basic need. Lack of it led her on a quest to find out why it was missing, and then seek to solutions to it…

Mercy had to work hard beyond all odds, to emerge at the top at her secondary school at Moi Tea Girls, landing her a rare opportunity, which was a true blessing. James Finlays Limited, offered her a scholarship which enabled her to pursue her undergraduate studies in her dream subject and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Throughout her undergraduate studies, Mercy actively involved herself with extracurricular activities that shaped her growth holistically. At a young age she engaged in the Technology Students Association projects which were aligned with her specific areas of interest. Her friend Kithinji Muriungi played a big role in convincing her to join the Institute of Electrical and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), which enabled her to showcase her final year project prototype titled “An Internet of Things Based Smart Electric Meter,” at the annual IEEE Kenya ESEK symposium. This was the beginning of her lifetime association with the organization.

Her undergraduate coursework at the Moi University School of Engineering was focused mostly on the electronics and the power system components design. However, she came to realize that a major contribution to sustainability is the strength of the social component through effective leadership. She quotes Dr. Stacey Maxwell: “Leadership is when we have the integrity coming from the mindset to be of service and add value to the highest levels of who they are by implementing their own innate unique gifts and talents and making them a part of something much bigger thanthemselves.”
On completion of her undergraduate studies, Mercy worked for the Industrial Promotion Arm of the Aga Khan Development Network, a rural electrification department in Kenya. Working as the Rural Projects Development Officer reinforced her interest in the renewable energy field. The organization’s focus was on financial analyses and assessments of prospective mini-grid projects in agribusiness areas with off-grid market conditions. This gave her the chance to further see the conditions of people living in areas with energy poverty and drove an even stronger desire to bring about change.

Mercy’s dedication boils down to changing people’s lives; empowering the bottom of the pyramid groups to adopt renewable energy technologies to drive society’s economic and social growth. The impact that can be realized through last mile electrification is incredibly huge, and she is glad to be a part of IEEE Smart Village, whose aim is to empower off-grid communities through energy, education, and enterprise development. As the resident electrical engineer at the Maa Trust over the past two years, her research has demonstrated the dire need for affordable and reliable electricity and connectivity in remote schools, hospitals, and households.

In partnership with Villanova University ECE Students, Mercy has been working on designing a community intranet for 6 schools in the Maasai Mara, to improve the quality of education and bridge the existing inequalities within the focus schools. Digital inclusion is key in this era because through information and communication technologies, people can be empowered with the necessary skillsets.

To Mercy, electricity on its own as a commodity is not productive, rather it enables communities to accomplish many things through what it can do, which will facilitate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Productive uses of electricity can be profitable for small, medium and large enterprises. Mercy sees that building this capacity will be better for the economy, leading to improved livelihood of people in communities around the world.

Giving Tuesday
This year, the IEEE Smart Village Giving Tuesday campaign ran from November 20th to December 1st . During this period, $8,500 were raised toward a goal of $10,000. RobinPodmore,co-founder of IEEE SmartVillage and Development Chair shared, “Although ‘Giving Tuesday’ has come and gone, we are still receiving donations to IEEE Smart Village via our previous outreach efforts. I hope we can count on your support and help in reaching
this goal.” …

Here’s the link to the ISV Giving


The IEEE Smart Village ‘Giving Tuesday’ effort was part of the IEEE Foundation’s overall effort, where $113,175 were raised from 344 donors in support of many priority initiatives of IEEE. This represents a 12% increase in amount and a 17% increase in the number of donors (compared to 2019 results).

To learn more about IEEE Smart Village please view the following videos:

https://vimeo.com/478920333 IEEE Smart Village 4-min Program Introduction

https://vimeo.com/485563278 IEEE Smart Village 90-sec Three- Pillar Introduction

If you would like to hold a private consultation regarding your gift to IEEE Smart Village, send an email to donate@ieee.org or contact Mr. Michael Deering, Sr. Development Officer, at +1 732.562.3915

PES CSI Meritorious Service Recognition Award to Wayne Gutschow for G-Team July 26, 2011
PresidentAlan C. Rotz presents a PES Meritorious Service Recognition Award to VP Engineering Wayne Gutschow and the Nextek G Team for outstanding contributions to the CSI SunBlazer Humanitarian Project


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