Our project addresses basic communications and lighting needs for health and education in remote villages, using solar electricity.

Medical and communication services, already only patchily available in remote villages, were damaged by Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam, in March 2015. Ironically, these services are increasingly required in and following natural disasters. Injured people and imminent mothers cannot easily reach support services if and when needed and even if support workers are available, darkness can prevent them from being as useful as they could be.

UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering students have been active on Tanna Island since 2007/08 when a group of second-year students visited to install roof gutters, rainwater tanks and solar lighting at the school on the village of Louen. Others installed a hydro-electric mini-grid in Imaki in 2009/10, primarily for the dispensary and the two regional schools but it was damaged by Cyclone Pam. Most recently, in 2016/17, students have installed and repaired efficient solar LED lighting and phone chargers at dispensaries and schools in six remote villages.

Aside from the beneficial outcomes for the Vanuatu people, our students gain unparalleled intercultural engagement and practical experience of building a real-world working system and learn the importance of careful, detailed planning for remote work and respect for the technicians who implement engineers’ designs.

We have received a generous donation of 150 solar panels in Sydney and we hope to use them to revive and supplement the Imaki mini-grid, bring LED lighting and phone charging to tiny medical aid posts and check and maintain our past jobs.

We need funds for batteries, mounting frames, cables, connectors, shipping and transport.

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) is where ordinary stops and learning starts. We are renowned across the world for our teaching and cutting edge research. Help us educate the next generation of global citizens and make a difference - support a research project or a scholarship for students and be part of a partnership that positively impacts our community.

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Our students learn from experiences unavailable at home, while using solar power to bring the most basic of lighting and communications services to support the children and their parents in remote villages in beautiful, unspoilt locations in the South Pacific.

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