United for Hope Recognized by World Summit on the Information Society

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Posted On: 03.12.2019
  • Instructor led training for after-school computer literacy education is available thanks to funding from IEEE Smart Village. Photo courtesy of United for Hope.

  • United for Hope enabled computer lab at their solar powered community center. Training for computer literacy, English, and entrepreneurship is a key component. Photo Courtesy of United for Hope.


United For Hope has been recognized as a finalist by the World Summit on the Information Society, a UN UNESCO, ITU sponsored competition. They will be honored at the 10th annual international conference in Geneva, Switzerland on April 8 – 12. United for Hope was selected for their use of Internet enabled kiosks for education of women, young adults, and after-school students.

United for Hope is the non-profit part of a unique non-profit/for profit community development model headquartered in Uttar Pradesh, India. Shakti Empowerment Solutions (SES), funded in part by IEEE Smart Village, is the for profit side of the model. Other organizations supporting United for Hope and SES include Engineers without Borders, Impact Hub – Munich, and Munich RE. SES provides power, water, transportation, and other paid services to the community. The profit from sales then helps offset some of the costs of the community services United for Hope provides such as health education, adult skills development, Internet training, and life skills consultancy.

IEEE Smart Village helped SES establish their power solution in 2017 with start-up funding for a 20 kW solar power plant for their first community center, which hosts the kiosk equipped with computers, Internet servers, and Wi-Fi access. A subsequent investment, funded by IEEE Power and Energy Society, provided teachers and targeted educational programs. These community centers become hubs where residents gather to watch video streaming, gain digital ID production, print travel documents, and access government information. The residents can also attend classes in how to use computers, which are provided by a trained team.

Tara McCartney, United for Hope and SES Director, leads a multi-national team with key leadership positions held by Federico Pardo, Payal Chaudhary, and Gyanvhardan Govina Rao. Ms. McCartney is an Irish national who has established residency in this remote area of India. Her background as a”Go-to-Market” expert with multinational companies has given her the skills to empower positive change in the community.

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