Installation of solar panels for the education and health centre.
Mukumary is situated in the middle of nowhere in the province of East Kasaï on the Equator. The nearest “hamlet” is a 5 hours’ drive away. After a 3-day journey, departing from Brussels, the Energy Assistance volunteers were able to start work.
This “twofold” mission, finished by mid-May 2016, consisted of the installation of two solar kits, each 1950 kW, to provide electricity to the education and health centre in Mukumary.
The kit – photovoltaic panels and interior installation – had been bought locally at Kinshasa and proved to be fully functional after having fixed some minor transport damages, due to the last part of the trip through the bush.
An issue frequently encountered during this type of missions is the mounting of the solar panels on the roof. Most of the times, the roof beams are in very bad condition or the roofsurface itself is very undulating. Luckily, the team could count on the help and dynamism of the villagers and in particular the abbot Luhumbu, to solve the issue.
Our volunteers were truly satisfied that they had been able to bring the “electricity fairy” to this isolated community, thus not only improving the education and health standards but also the day-to-day life of woman as they have light in their kitchen now.
The whole project will improve the living standards and enable better and easier community life.
Volunteers : Freddy Arzée (retired Engie Fabricom), Marcel Bavay (retired ORES)
Project Leader : Freddy Arzée
Two volunteers of Energy Assistance accompanied by Rik Neirynk (Artsen zonder Vakantie) spent two weeks of their holidays to achieve this electrification project in Katako Kombe, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Sankuru province). The objective was to secure the supply of electricity for the operating room of the hospital with 4 kWp photovoltaic panels and storage batteries.
This region of central DRC is difficult to access. The equipment has been procured in Belgium and transported by cargo ship to Kinshasa. From there, it had to travel 1,300 kilometers on the river and finally by truck. The volunteers, after a long journey of 3 days (2 flights and 6 hours drive on tracks in the savannah and the rainforest), they arrived safely and ready to get to work.
Despite the usual technical difficulties and the adverse weather conditions (over 40°C during the day and storms in the evening) and thanks to the help of local technicians, the works have progressed at good pace.
After 8 days, the installation operates to the delight of the medical staff, the hospital patients and all the villagers.
Volunteers : Steff De Coster (Cofely Fabricom), Jelle Christiaens (GEM ENGIE)
Project Leaders : Benoît Braeckman en Roland Rosseel (gepensioneerden Electrabel)
Tacloban, a city on the Philippine island Leyte, situated in the middle of the Pacific. Just at the edge of a river, is the children’s village “SOS Children” located. A real village with a.o.a community house. In 2013, a typhoon tidal wave very heavily damaged most of the buildings.
Bob Thielemans (ENGIE Benelux) was on site to help and support the local population. Very fast the idea of an electric project, to create a safe place and protect the children during typhoons and floods, arose. To start with, a solid community house was built.
As the electricity network is frequently out of order during typhoons, a battery operated emergency installation and 16 photovoltaic panels of 250 Wp were installed. This mission was realised in December 2015 with the assistance of Rodolfo Mendiola, Jr (SOS Children Village Philippines) en Gabriel Guariño (on-job training)
This installation provides electricity for up to 2 days for the lighting, two refrigerators, a hydrophone pump, an emergency radio-transmitter and several small electrical devices.
Volunteers : Jos Govaert (ENGIE Electrabel), Jason Fulgencio (ENGIE Cofely Philippines)
Project Leader : Jos Govaert (ENGIE Electrabel)
The non-profit association Abantu Zambia has been active in Zambia for more than 20 years and has already built numerous dispensaries, schools, libraries, wells, millsand other agricultural facilities for local populations. Energy Assistance has already implemented one project together with the association. Energy Assistance took charge of installing solar panels and batteries. The volunteers on the ground, Marc Van Gelder (ORES) and Steve Begasse (Cofely Services) also had to provide assistance with the assembly of a water tank. A visit to Muntemba had also been planned to replace the batteries installed several years earlier in another, similar health centre. The aim of the project was to equip a dispensary and a maternity unit with lighting and electric sockets.
A solarpowered submersible pump kit was also assembled and installed. Buying a large proportion of the equipment locally lowered the project’s procurement costs and saved on transportation. A new dispensary, which had received planning permission from the local authorities, was set up in Muchinga in a region without any healthcare infrastructure. The next dispensary is 25 km away, whereas in rural parts of this impoverished country most people still travel around on foot. The Zambian state is in charge of administering and staffing the dispensary. The first two nurses have already been recruited.
Project manager : Gilles de Roubaix
Last September and October, electricity was installed in various social buildings (mainly hospitals and schools) in the Mutwanga urban area, situated in Northern Kivu, in the heart of the Virunga National Park. The installation was realised with the help of Energy Assistance.
The requestor, the “Virunga Foundation”, is strongly involved in the Park management by means of securing the safety of the Park Rangers who fight poaching and deforestation.
Thanks to EA volunteer, the electric installation for the hospital and 4 schools was designed and described in detail. Once the material had been ordered, it was shipped out to Kivu via the Republic of Uganda.
Due to the unstable situation in the Mutwanga area, the technical teams of the Virunga Foundation had to rely upon their own resources to undertake the installation. Luckily they had the support of our volunteer, who was in regular contact with them, and coached them to accomplish their mission successfully. This to great satisfaction of the beneficiaries and the local population.
Volunteer :Jacques Tilquin (ENGIE Cofely)
Project Leader : José Jacquemart (ENGIE Tractebel)
Last September, Energy Assistance has sent two volunteers to the village of Samba in de Maniema Province in DR Congo. Our specialists volunteered there for ten days to provide solar power to the village. They installed photovoltaic panels at the village health center that houses a maternity and a small laboratory.
With the help of three local technicians, the volunteers installed 4.5 kW of photovoltaic panels. They also trained these local technicians so they can provide the maintenance. Serge : “The mission was very rewarding as we witnessed the first ultrasound being performed, something that was not possible before. Energy Assistance not only brought electricity to the health center and its neighboring villages, but also lets us keep both our feet on the ground and lets us experience this unique inspiring moment”.
Volunteers : Serge Algoet and Vincent Michiels (Sibelga)
Project Leader : Luc Hermant (ENGIE Electrabel)
Energy Assistance asbl-vzw and ENGIE Asia Pacific worked together to renovate the electrical installation of a school that welcomes visually impaired children in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
This project was made possible thanks to the joint efforts of two Energy Assistance volunteers and a team of local volunteers. Oyungerel Tseren (ENGIE Mongolia), who ensured the coordination of the project in Ulaanbaatar, has also contributed to the success of this project.
The renovation was urgent, as the school set up in 1964 regularly faced power cuts, failures and other issues due to lack of funding and maintenance. Children and school staff also faced security risks because of the poor electrical installation.
Besides the main switchboard, the volunteers also replaced distribution boards on each of the three school floors. Afterwards, they renovated the electrical wiring of the attic where the district installation is. In Ulaanbaatar, outdoor temperatures often drop below 40°C in the winter. It is thus important to be able to monitor and check the heating system regularly.
Finally, the team participated in the revamping of the school showers.
The financing of the project was for the major part covered by the Energy Assistance 2015 greeting cards’ sales. This operation wouldn’t have been possible without the help of volunteers and the support of Tractebel Engineering.
Volunteers : Etienne Decamps (ENGIE Electrabel), Jack Sunaet (ENGIE Asia-Pacific)
Project Leader : Miklos Almasy (ENGIE Africa)
ACOPAMEC, a Brazilian NGO, aims at reducing poverty of the Mata Escura communities in Salvador de Bahia. It manages among others a secondary school and a professional training centre.
ACOPAMEC has requested Energy Assistance expertise for the electrification of its training centre.
With the help of Brazilian volunteers, Energy Assistance has among others:
-designed a renewed electrical circuit included a new high tension station,
-purchased with ACOPAMEC the necessary electrical and technical equipment,
-helped the Brazilian NGO with the selection of a local supplier and with the acceptance of the installed equipment,
-given a training to ACOPAMEC qualified persons for the future running and maintenance of the installed systems.
With this Energy Assistance realization, around a thousand young people per year pursue their education with better chance to find a job in the future.
Volunteers :Danilo Pereira de Castro (Leme Engenharia Brazil),Ítalo Augusto Vasconcelos David (Leme Engenharia Brazil)
Project Leader :Maurice Roch (retired ENGIE Tractebel)
Last March, three Energy Assistance volunteers took the road to the Bas-Congo in DRC in order to carry out several missions that were not always easy. The volunteeers provided their expertise in electrical grid construction and management to the locals.
The volunteer’s first stop was in Lukula where they worked hand in hand with the teams of SNEL (National Democratic Republic of Congo’s power utility). They took part in the extension of the local overhead network and to the construction of a 30 kV transformer substation, allowing the connection of a health center to the grid.
They then headed to Kivuvu where they repaired a cabinet supplying a hospital specialized in the fight against leprosy and tuberculosis : “We have replaced the transformer and the general low voltage board, and have upgraded the landings and surge protectors to protect the facilities” explains Dominique. “Before our intervention, this cabinet underwent frequent failures and the hospital often had to wait several weeks for repairs”f.
Last leg of their journey : Tumba.The volunteers provided transport and supply of two transformers to allow the powering of a school and of the village residents. This will enable the construction of a 15 kV overhead line in the near future.
Volunteers : Dominique Keser and Georges Echement (ORES), Marcel Bavay (retired ORES)
Project Leader : Roland Rosseel