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Electric Education Part 2

Electricity is a blessing to education, as we explored earlier in the week.  Now let’s look at innovative ways that electricity is coming to remote places and building bridges to the future.

Innovative Supplies of Electricity

Bundles of Energy

Have you ever watched children play? They run, they jump, they seem to just never stop.  More than once each of us has joked about harnessing their energy to power a small city.  What if I told you the joke is now a reality.

Jump to It

When on a trip to visit family in Nigeria, Jessica O Matthews, founder of Uncharted Play(now Uncharted Power), struggled with the fumes from a diesel generator used to power the lights for her aunt’s wedding celebration.  Determined to find a way to solve the problem of energy sources in developing nations, Matthews got her chance in college and not only built a high scoring project with a few of her classmates for her engineering class, but founded a company.

Their first product SOCCKET is a soccer ball that is actually a generator.  It provided 2 hours of power for a lamp used by students to study in areas without electricity. Then there is PULSE a jump rope that can charge a cell phone to half power after just 15 minutes of use. Play become power.

Uncharted Power’s mission is to reach areas most in need of electricity with clean, easy to use generator options.

Shine Some Light on the Situation

Groups like Solar City are bringing brightness to developing areas of the world, including Mali Malawi, Nicaragua, and Haiti, through donating solar panels.  The solar panels are attached to school roofs or mounted on the ground. They power simple LED lights and include a battery back-up feature.

These panels allow for better access to education for children and parents, spreading not only light but hope.  A school in Nigeria that received the panels now functions as a community center at night.

Not only are the panels usable in areas that would never see on the grid electric, they are cost effective and clean–creating no harmful fumes.

Gravity Works

The GravityLight  uses a simple pulley system and sand bag to provide off the grid power anywhere.  Available for use as emergency lighting in the USA, Deciwatt Ltd funds donations of the GravityLight to those who need it most around the world.

The system provides clean energy that is much safer than kersene lamps, traditionally used in developing nations, and costs only $5! Aside from the dangerous fumes that cause health problems and make homes prone to disaster by fire; kerosene also consumes a large percentage of a developing world family’s budget–as much as 30%.

By using a clean, renewable, and safe source of light, children have more time to study and parents have more resources to provide for their family. Both help to break the cycle of poverty.

What’s Next?

With the advancements in solar and kinetic power generation, the hope of spreading light across the globe is closer than ever.  After all, who doesn’t want a magic machine to wash their clothes?

 

Electricity is only the beginning. By providing access to lighting, schools become open to adding technology. Currently, mobile phone usage is growing in developing nations more than anywhere else on the planet.

Mobile phones build bridges through providing communication to the most remote parts of the globe.  Phones are also used to increase literacy by providing incentive to learn to write and spell through texting and download information from the Internet.

No longer are remote school relegated to out of date textbooks.  Simple phones can open an entirely new world of information and learning.

It is important to not just jump on the bandwagon of technology donation, though, without the proper infrastructure and education, this technology is rendered useless. Program which can build, teach, and provide technology programs to underserved schools can be the key to bridging the gap in education worldwide.

As one school rises, so does an entire town, area, region, country, and generation.  Little by little, light by light, we can see a future where every child get to learn and poverty is extinguished.

How would you help a school in need?

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Electric Education

As the world heads into the “season of lights” with many faith and cultures celebrating special holidays and festivals, we are awash in the prospect of light amid the darkening days of winter.   Light has always signified hope. Yet, 1.3 billion people in the world do not have access to electricity.

Spread Hope, Peace–and Light!

The greatest provider of hope is education. While education does not require a building, nor a collection of high tech gadgets, access to basic electricity increases access to education and provides greater tools for teachers.

By creating opportunities and pathways to electrify schools in the most desperate areas of the globe, we as One Planet, One People can affect the change we long to see in the world. Greater numbers of educated world citizens means less conflict, greater chances for peace, reduced poverty, increased health, and a more stable economic outlook.  In a word, hope!

What Can Electricity Do?

On the most basic level, electricity can ensure open school doors more days of the year. By providing artificial light, students can continue to study even when it is stormy and dark outside.  Ventilation also helps to keep school running despite the weather or extremes of a climate.

Electricity opens doors for teachers and makes their job easier.  Simple tasks such as photocopying test pages or homework sheets can be completed inexpensively right on site, saving teachers the time and expense of traveling to commercial copying services in areas with sparse electric access.

Step Into the Future

A basic education for all is a fundamental right and should be a top goal for the global community, but what about going beyond the basics?  The digital age is a ever changing landscape of innovation and opportunity. The longer we leave schools of the developing world in the dark, the greater the gap in prospects for first world vs developing nation students becomes.

The lack of access to information, collaboration, and technology that is fueling the global economy is a handicap that plagues over a million people in the world?

How will we build bridges and knock down barriers if we cannot effectively collaborate?  The greatest minds of our time may be living in areas unable to join in global community of innovation. What opportunities will be missed by students cut off from information and technological advancements?

Open the World

Providing electricity to education centers throughout the world not only opens a new world to underserved students and teachers, but opens the door for those already “wired” into the information web to reach out and make new friends. The interrelations are the stepping stones to greater diplomacy and understanding for future generations.  An open world breaks down the walls that separate us and helps to close the gaps wrought but poverty, prejudice, and ignorance.

Later this week, we will continue this “electrifying” discussion and explore incredible and innovative ways that some organizations are bridging the great divide and building hope one light bulb at a time!

Please stop back to learn more and how you can help!

What opportunities has electricity afforded you in your education?

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