LOCATION: Durban, South Africa
PROJECT LAUNCHED: 2014
PROJECT LEADS: University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Electrical, Electronic, and Computer Engineering
PROJECT OVERVIEW & UPDATES
In rural and developing areas of Africa, there is a lack of expected comforts that other areas of the world take for granted, such as light and energy. Sometimes building or receiving these necessities helps to stimulate communities and raise the quality of life for families.
To help encourage these struggling areas, undergraduate students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Electrical, Electronic, and Computer Engineering, will be designing and building a solar photovoltaic lamp that is portable and suitably priced for rural households. The lamp will have additional functions such as an AM/FM radio and the capability to charge mobile phones. With further enhancement, it would also be capable of including a miniature multimedia device.
The project will involve fourth-year students at the university. Students will be guided and mentored by IEEE member Edward Chikuni, along with a senior academic, who will work to ensure that the students learn design skills and other necessary knowledge associated with their degree program. Most importantly, students will learn to work in teams and serve their community. They will collaborate with Family Literacy Project, a non-profit organization with strong activities in education and literacy among rural dwellings. The university students will interact with high school students at Qalimfundo Primary School for feedback on the project.
The goal of this project is to enhance the educational experience of rural families and encourage students to serve these communities with their engineering backgrounds. With more access to the functions of the lamp, children can start, from a young age, to learn and increase their literacy. In turn, it will empower them to find greater opportunities for more educational endeavors.