Assembling the assemblers

Youth Correspondent
Jabir Abdullah conducts a training session at OBAT Help premises.

Jabir Abdullah conducts a training session at OBAT Help premises.

Using technology for the betterment of society and environment is no easy task. One, for example, may have theoretical knowhow of a device, but may not know exactly where to obtain materials in the local market that can be welded into the right form. Even if one knew these two aspects of innovating useful devices, he/she may not have a clear picture about the products that would be most helpful for the poor.
Change in collaboration with the US Department of State has organised a unique training programme that aims to bring people from different walks of life together in a workshop where they can offer their unique skills and insights for making renewable energy products.
The training programme titled Renewable Energy Innovation Hub was launched on December 29 at the EMK Centre in the capital.
The 23 selected applicants for the two month-long certificate training course come from diverse backgrounds. Sajid Iqbal, founder of Change, informed Youth that some of the participants are engineers who have graduated from different universities in Bangladesh. Whereas, other participants are Diploma holders/students from different Polytechnic Institutes of the country. Besides these two groups, professionals from different institutes and organisations have also signed up for the course. The most interesting addition, however, are five students who live in the Refugee Camp at Mohammadpur in the capital. ‘The financially struggling student participants from Refugee Camp can bring in tremendous insight about the real life conditions of the poorest communities of the country. They can give us an idea of what kind of products are most needed in poor households’, said Sajid.

The members of Change.

The members of Change.

The training programme is jointly conducted by Sajid Iqbal, who graduated from the Environmental Science Department of North South University and Jabir Abdullah, who is pursuing his Diploma in electrical engineering from Dhaka Polytechnic Institute. Jabir Abdullah also won British Council Enterprise Challenge Award in 2011 for his team’s efforts in proposing realistic solutions carbon emission problems at Bangladeshi brick fields. The ongoing training programme is being held at the premises of OBAT Helpers at Mohammadpur in the capital.
‘The course is basically aimed to mentor young innovators and engineering students with a specific focus on research and development of renewable energy products’, elaborated Ashraf Islam, finance and accounts executive of Change.
He also explained that engineering students often have sound theoretical knowledge but limited practical knowledge about implementing ideas. ‘Whereas in many cases people with engineering diplomas have more practical knowledge and limited theoretical understanding. The programme aims to provide a platform where these two groups can complement each other in their work’, said Ashraf. ‘The course actually aims to minimize that knowledge barrier’, he added.
The participants of the programme are divided into five groups and they would be given specific areas of research and product development over the two months. Sajid Iqbal informed that they would be focusing on building water purification system based on solar energy. Other products that they would be aiming to assemble are solar lanterns and a pest controlling system powered by solar energy. The programme also aims to make solar powered street lights that can be used in rural areas. ‘Crime rates would hike even more if Dhaka streets were not properly lighted. So just imagine how unsafe rural areas can be where one can hardly find lights within miles’, Sajid said. ‘These lights can be used to make rural areas safer’, he added.
MK Areef, the director of EMK Centre was present at the launching programme where a presentation was given on Change’s earlier works on renewable energy innovation. The organisation worked with spreading the use of Bottle Lights run by solar power.
Two senior instructors of Bangladesh-German Technical Training Center, Abdus Sattar and Md Hafizur Rahman are also participating in the training programme, along with two professionals from Navana Renewable Energy Limted. Five innovative projects from made by the five groups would be showcased by Change at a later event in March. Anthony Mukim and Tousif Farhad, both members of Change are also working to conduct the training programme.

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