It is with great excitement that I announce that the IEEE/Sirona Haiti Rural Electricity generating units are now on the water headed for Haiti. We have finalized the schedules for deployment of the six units and along with IEEE engineers we will arrive in Haiti on the 20th to begin that process. We have been working on this project with the Community Solutions Initiative (CSI) IEEE sub-group since the fall of 2009, and to be at the point of deployment is very exciting for the members of both teams.
The technology has been designed to create small businesses and provide reliable electricity to homes. There are six "Sunblazer" units in the first deployment, so by July 8th we will have started six businesses and provided light to 240 homes. The excitement that we have pales in comparison to the excitement in Haiti over the project. Our first six Operators have already signed up their forty customers, and will attend training next week on operation of both the equipment and their business. In addition to providing technical support for the units, Sirona is also providing entrepreneurial support for the Operators. A successful Operator becomes a candidate for additional units and can ultimately receive up to 5, meaning that they will be providing electricity to up to 200 homes in their community and using residual energy from the units to run their businesses.
This is blog entry 200. Since December of 2008 we have been formulating plans to improve life in Haiti and attempting to educate people here on what life Haiti is like, and what Haitians really need. 130,808 readers have visited the blog, and the support of people who believe in us personally, and/or in the vision we have for creating positive change in Haiti has gotten us this far. Our early work was more focused on charity, and how to "help"; a reader can go through the posts to follow our transition from the charity mindset of "giving" to one of "partnership": working with Haitians to create sustainable change in their communities. We are using alternative energy for the basis of change, and have created a strong Jatropha project and now a home electricity kit business. "Poverty" is not the only word people should associate with Haiti; I hope that our programs will induce readers to associate more words like "inspiring", "ingenious", "creative", and "industrious" to the people of Haiti.
Our trip will last from June 20th-July 8th. Should anyone in Haiti wish to see the units, we will be training Operators and displaying the equipment on June 22nd. If you would like to attend, please contact me through this site for specific information on where the training will occur.