In the recent months EnGreen has been contributing to a project, apparently simpler than electrification initiatives such as the development of mini-grids, but it is immensely important and it impacts the education of young people, an issue close to our hearts and which we have written about previously here: https://www.engreensolutions.com/energy-for-good-episode-1/
EnGreen gave technical support to BSF in Burundi (BSF – https://www.linkedin.com/company/biblioth%C3%A8ques-sans-fronti%C3%A8res/ ). BSF is a French organization working since 2007 on bringing education to those who are more in need, also by means of innovative technical tools, such as the Ideas Box – a media library in kit form designed by Philippe Starck – or the Ideas Cube – a digital and ultra-portable library .
BSF has been working in Burundi with multiple projects, particularly at the intersection of the project Twige Neza and the Ideas Box Initiative.
Twige Neza is a project financed by the Global Partnership for Education and managed by the French Development Agency. In its third component, BSF has been involved alongside PLAY to support school resilience and vulnerability reduction. In particular, the initiative focuses on revitalizing decentralized Youth Centers in Burundi (Centre des Jeunes), as they are a hub for providing access to information, culture and sports and help youth and children become responsible and autonomous citizens. Read more about it here: https://inee.org/fr/news/bibliotheques-sans-frontieres-et-play-international-deux-ong-engagees-aupres-des-jeunes-au
The Ideas Box Initiative on the other hand, is a multi-country project, that also includes Lebanon and Iraq, to strengthen the quality of access to education, protection, and social cohesion, with the deployment of practical, highly portable multimedia centers and learning hubs. Read more Ideas Box here: https://www.librarieswithoutborders.org/ideasbox/
Thanks to the complementarity between the Ideas Box Initiative and the Twige Neza project therefore, BSF identified four youth centers and six schools for the installation of Ideas Cubes and Ideas Boxes in the Rumonge, Bujumbura mairie, Makamba and Ruyigi provinces. The multimedia capabilities of these solutions clearly highlight the nexus between energy and education, with the need for safe, reliable, and sustainable energy sources, especially in off-grid areas.
EnGreen has been involved for the budgeting and preparation of the technical documentation for the tendering of ten solar systems to be paired with the Ideas Cubes and Boxes. Moreover, we assisted in the evaluation of the offers received, and in supporting the local BSF team in monitoring all the procurement and installation processes, and inspection of the final solar systems.
Thanks to the experience gained during the inception of COVID-19, we have had several occasions to perform training and capacity building activities either entirely remotely, or in a mixed-mode, with practical sessions lead in presence and frontal lectures presented in videoconference, as we did for the Avenir Brillant project in Mali.
Thus, we have been able to hold two capacity building sessions for the BSF local team, to introduce solar energy in general and the role of the different components that will form the final solar systems, up to deciphering the single-line diagrams and a checklist for the inspection and verification of the installation works.
Now that construction works are about to commence at the ten sites, we are ready to continue our remote and in-presence support action, to assist with the actual inspection phases, collecting and analyzing remotely the performance data coming from the solar systems.