On the 9th of July, HEED team member and Research Fellow at Coventry University, Nandor Verba, travelled to a displaced encampment in Uttargaya, Nepal to inspect design interventions and install an interface board. The primary aim for this trip was to inspect the work done by the supplier Comtronics on the installation of the solar streetlights in Nepal.
After successfully remedying minor data issues with the solar streetlights, Nandor went on to check and retrieve data from the footfall monitors and replace monitors that were unresponsive. He also found time to orientate the local community organiser about the charging stations that are found on the streetlights.
Similar to the work being done in Rwanda, HEED has piloted solar street lighting that has the capacity to store excess energy that can be used for other electrical goods, such as mobile phones. These multi-functional streetlights not only have charging stations but are also linked to an interface board that lights up when the streetlight has sufficient power to support additional devices. In transferring the locks and keys to the charging stations to a local community organiser it encourages group ownership of the design interventions to promote project sustainability.
This was Nandor’s first on-site visit to the camp and found the working with the community a positive, enriching experience:
‘One of the most rewarding experiences of being on site was being able to stand with the community as we watched all the streets lights come up at night, shifting dark spaces into pools of light. This captured for me what the project was about, working side by side with displaced communities to produce new and innovate ways of thinking about how we can address energy needs and aspirations.’