In Haiti we made final preparations for the assembly and deployment of nine new SunBlazer units to the St. Marc communes. These are the last of the IEEE donated equipment shipped from New York to Port au Prince and the units have since cleared customs. We met with USAID and Chemonics in St. Marc to confirm our methodology for selecting the nine Operators thereby completing the second of five milestones in this grant. Our selection, training and deployment schedule is set and by the 20th of August 747 St. Marc homes will be lit. Next we will use the funding from the USAID grant to build nine more units for deployment before the end of the year. These will be the first SunBlazers built entirely in Haiti.
Everything is running smoothly. Operator selection is occurring in St. Marc, candidates are being interviewed, and selection should be completed by the 20th of July. On the equipment side we have secured an ideal location for final assembly of the units. Six jobs were created by this assembly project and these workers will most likely form the backbone of the Haitian assembly workforce that we will be hiring.
I left Haiti on a very positive note and spent a week preparing for our trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. On Friday afternoon we began the 30 hour journey to the IEEE conference, Power Africa 2012. Sirona was invited to run workshops alongside the conference on the Rural Electricity Program with the Community Solutions Initiative group. The IEEE provided the seed funding and technical expertise for the first units (fifteen in all) with the understanding that securing the resources to scale the program is the responsibility of Sirona. The IEEE/Sirona partnership has been very successful and will have lit over 2000 homes in Haiti by years end. Both organizations are very excited about opportunities to expand this work beyond Haiti.
The Power Africa conference begins today and our three day workshop begins tomorrow. Immediately following the conference we begin our journey back to Haiti. Paul, the COO, goes directly from Johannesburg to Haiti to complete the nine units for St. Marc, and I go back to California and then on to Haiti on the 18th. Preparing for this conference has given me time to reflect on the amazing partners we have found in Haiti, and all of the hard work and dedication it took to get here. I am proud to be in Africa telling stories of Haiti that show engenuity, persistence, and achievement; and I look forward to getting back to Haiti to meet the next nine Operators that our local managment will select this week.
A quick note of thanks: I want to thank Brooke Scarborough a Sirona Intern who gave up a month of her summer vacation and spent that time in Haiti helping with the energy project. Not everyone is cut out for internship in Haiti, but it must be said that Brooke was a great addition to the team and she will be missed by many.