IEEE values the diversity in all of its projects. Our projects cover a
multitude of international issues that are tackled by teams around the globe.
With more than 422,000 members in more than 160 countries, more than 50 percent
of whom are from outside the United States; IEEE is rapidly expanding
throughout the world. IEEE’s commitment to community service is inspired
and encouraged through IEEE programs such as EPICS in IEEE and humanitarian
projects sponsored by IEEE Standards.
However, one IEEE section has been taking the world by storm with the help
of EPICS and IEEE and IEEE Standards since their formation in February 2019:
The IEEE Colombian Caribbean Section. The team has a strong commitment to
better the world with engineering and education beginning in their own
In Barranquilla, a city in northern Colombia, the IEEE Colombian Caribbean
Section teamed up with Universidad del Norte and the Rotary Club Barranquilla
Center to bring electrical engineering education to the high school students of
the Alexander Von Humboldt Institute. During a 10-month process, the team-taught
classes on climate change and global warming began a plan to install solar
panels on the high school campus. Students were trained not only how to install
the panels, but also how to maintain and run the system after the course was
Another current educational project is inspiring students to learn how to
code and build apps by developing an educational gaming app for children with
learning disabilities. The team is leading the students not only in learning
how to code with python, but also create a flexible hardware platform that
would be accessible for children with specific needs.
The team also has other projects currently in the works, including: a waste
management solution designed to keep low income, coastal communities from
polluting their own water by installing a bio-digester, which reduces organic
material and filters water, and another project with Universidad de Cordoba
supporting displaced civil war victims by installing a power grid, which will
be maintained up local high school students.
IEEE Colombian Caribbean Section chair and professor of computer science at
Universidad del Norte, Pedro Wightman, said that the service goal of the
section is to “teach [students and community members] how technology isn’t just
for experts and companies.” He went on to mention, “technology can really
transform the lives of people on the individual level. It helps change people’s
lives for the better.”
The impacts of IEEE supported service projects around the globe is immense.
In the words of Professor Wightman “when trying to solve massive world issues,
$10,000 doesn’t sound like enough money, but in developing nations like
Colombia it can really solve some problems and save lives.” He stressed the
impact that EPICS in IEEE and IEEE Standards have had on his local community,
and continued to say “IEEE global service initiatives must be defended and
promoted. IEEE has a major global impact and continues to rapidly expand
outside of the US, and growth and success is supported by our humanitarian and
service-oriented projects using technology and engineering.