Haiti - Education : Vocational training in Green Energy in Léogâne
"Haiti is a proud country that lacks the infrastructure needed to support the opportunities we enjoy in the states," declared Joanna Gordon, a graduate student in mechanical engineering. "This sustainable energy vocational training aims to plant a seed of conscious development. By investing in the future and focusing on efficiency and conservation, community needs can be met."
After an initial visit by the CU-Boulder team to Haiti in January to assess specific energy needs and employment opportunities for those who are trained in the field, the students worked with engineering professors Alan Mickelson and Mike Hannigan to design a 250-hour curriculum for the Mon P’tit Village school in Léogâne.
The curriculum they developed, 80 percent of which is comprised of hands-on exercises, covers the installation, operation and maintenance of solar, wind, and hydropower renewable energy systems, including such basics as wiring and circuitry.
Last month, the students returned to Leogane for three weeks to train six local instructors on the essential knowledge and skills they need to pass on to their students. To provide the instructors with hands-on experience, CU students led them in a reinstallation of the school’s solar electric system, including fixing the angle of the solar panels mounted on the roof so they achieve maximum performance.
The local instructors will further develop the curriculum by writing course assignments and more. Beginning this fall, they will teach the curriculum to local students in the 11th grade and beyond. The Neges Foundation, a relief and development organization, is supporting the instructors.
"I am short of words to describe the admiration, respect and high esteem that I felt toward the visiting team of students from Boulder, Colorado, for the dedication, passion and professionalism that they were able to demonstrate toward the Haitian teachers during the green energy training," said Yoleine Gateau, founder and vice president of the Mon P’tit Village school.
The team from the University of Colorado was led by graduate student Matthew Hulse and also included graduate student Mark Hasemeyer, along with undergraduates Steven Kluck, Kelli Fischer and Alex Demarais.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Foundation and the CU-Boulder Outreach Award supported the project. The CU-Boulder Outreach Award is supported by the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost and CU-Boulder Continuing Education.