Beyond Chacay Foundation: Galapagos

Home / Projects / Beyond Chacay Foundation: Galapagos

IEEE Smart Village Provides Funding for Solar Powered Intranet in Galapagos Islands

DATE: March 10, 2019
CONTACT: Dan Estes – IEEE Smart Village
David Lansdale – Beyond Chacay Foundation

Piscataway, New Jersey –
IEEE Smart Village, a priority initiative of IEEE Foundation, provided US$25,000 funding to Beyond Chacay Foundation in the Galapagos Islands to enable access to a solar powered Intranet, computer development lab and educational curricula.

Beyond Chacay Foundation (BCF) has been working with Villanova University and ESPOL University in Ecuador to establish a proof of concept Intranet on San Cristobal, capital of the Enchanted Islands. This Intranet is the foundation of a combination educational and eco-tourism information network that is envisioned to eventually stretch across the four populated islands of the archipelago. Villanova, ESPOL and BCF received funding for the proof-of-concept phase of the project in part from IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee. (

This new funding will expand that proof of concept to remote schools and tourist destinations in the interior of the islands enabling computer labs at two schools. Along with fifteen computers, the project will provide 2 kW of solar power to an additional school on San Cristobal. Since Internet connectivity is extremely expensive and unreliable (based on the Other 3 Billion network of satellites), the Intranet distribution system will distribute educational content for students, current tourist information, and vocational training for the community.

The system is part of a larger initiative to engage the local population in the expanding tourism industry in the Galapagos. With land-based tourism up from 20% to 65% in the last 10 years, connectivity becomes an important economic development factor for the success of each of the populated islands. At the same time, the Intranet represents a promising intervention for educating eco-tourists, preparing them as stewards of the fragile and unique eco-system of the area. The Intranet network will provide local information to inform, educate, and highlight the diversity and fragility of the environment. The goal is to build knowledgeable relationships between tourists and local citizens that will attract financial contributions for further expansion.

David Lansdale, president and co-founder of Beyond Chacay Foundation, Ray Larsen, chair and Co-founder of IEEE Smart Village, and Professor Pritpal Singh of Villanova agree that the Intranet pilot, once socialized and anchored in the local culture, has unlimited potential applied to schools on the other populated islands but, more importantly, as a vehicle for building bridges and inviting the investment of tourists as community agents of transformation, focusing on quality of experiences for visitors and quality of life for locals. Partnership with ElecGalapagos, the regional utility company, also will make it possible through the Ministry of Energy to replicate and scale the experiment to other tourist destinations in Ecuador, the most biodiverse country, per square meter, on the planet.

About IEEE Smart Village

IEEE Smart Village, a donor-supported program, integrates sustainable electricity, education, and entrepreneurial solutions to directly assist off-grid communities to become self-sufficient. Through a global network of local entrepreneurs, expert engineers and passionately dedicated volunteers, the team works in partnership with community and other change agents to help empower local economies, create job opportunities, and foster education programs that help communities around the world to learn how to continually improve their quality of life. Learn more at

About Beyond Chacay Foundation

Beyond Chacay Foundation is a Vermont-based not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with offices in Newfane, Vermont. Current activities are focused in Ecuador in the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon basin, the Sierra, and the Ecuadorian coast.

# # #

For further information please contact:
Dan Estes
Chair, IEEE Smart Village Marketing
404 625-3182

Year Started
SunBlazer IV, Portable Battery Kit, PhotoVoltaic Systems, Educational Technology