| Above and beyond |
|Part two - A sampling of activities|
Automating Services in Fiji
A PCV in Fiji decided to put his computer skills to good use by helping the govenment's Water Authority institute an automated system for serving its clients, advising the Authority on the hardware and software needed. He also assisted the Peace Corps Office with its computer needs, setting up the Email network and making sure it was operational.
Lighting a School Library in Uganda
With a degree in Architectural Engineering, this PCV wanted to make his math and science classes as interesting as possible by engaging the students in practical activities. Although he had no formal training in solar energy, he decided that devising a way to light the school library by using solar energy would be a perfect activity for his students.
Collecting information from ICE and other sources, he integrated the installation of a solar lighting system into his students' curriculum. Securing funding through the Peace Corps Partnership Program, he was able to purchase a solar lighting system and receive training from the supplier. Apart from lighting the school library, the activity sparked interest throughout Uganda in solar electrification.
Making Solar Cookers in Kenya
"Solar Cooker a Sensation: Housewives impressed by this 'clean' device," - so read the headline of a feature article in a local daily newspaper about an agroforestry PCV's work in Kenya.
Using an old gramophone box, this PCV constructed an efficient solar cooker and proudly shared it with a women's group she was assisting. The women were pleasantly surprised and genuinely impressed that this simple device could cook a variety of foods, preserve the environment, and allow them to attend to other chores while cooking. Word of the "magic" cooking box spread quickly, and women throughout the area began experimenting with building their own solar cookers out of cardboard boxes and aluminum foil. Through the work of this one PCV, the technology and practice of solar cooking became a reality in Kenya.
Providing Solar Energy in the Dominican Republic
As a loan officer for a local agency, a Business PCV saw a way to integrate his primary assignment with a secondary activity in rural solar electrification. Gaining the support of his supervisor, he and his counterpart received training on photovoltaic technology conducted by an organization called Enersol, Inc., which donated and installed a demonstration solar system in the counterpart's home. Once they saw the system, the villagers wanted one in their homes.
Responding to their interest, the PCV set up a solar energy revolving fund for the villagers to borrow money with which to purchase the system. In one year, 80 solar systems were installed, creating a new business for the PCV's counterpart. Five years after the PCV departed, the counterpart and an assistant he was able to hire had installed over 500 systems and had set up their own credit fund.
Reporting on Coconut Oil as an Energy Source in Micronesia
An innovative PCV in Micronesia who had an extensive background and interest in engineering and science decided to explore coconut oil as an alternative energy source, in hopes of increasing the energy independence of the outlying island where he was living. He set out to prove that coconut oil could be locally produced, at reasonable cost, and used without harmful effects.
He conducted a systematic investigation and comparison of coconut oil versus diesel oil, and found that although an engine running on coconut oil needed to be cleaned more often, it ran smoother, at a cooler temperature, and had more horsepower than it did when running on diesel oil. In short, coconut oil was easier on the engine, and was, indeed, a viable alternative to diesel oil. The PCV published his findings in a widely circulated report that provided valuable information to many nations throughout the Pacific Basin.