Ever since the Circle of Peace School partnered with AHEAD Energy, I have been continuously impressed with their commitment and abilities to improve the poor environment of the school. In 2009 after her first visit to the school, MJ, the president of AHEAD, saw the needs of the school, and she made a commitment to make a difference. AHEAD Energy assessed our school and formulated a plan to improve the school for the benefit of the students, teachers, and school officials.
Designing and performing all of the work themselves, AHEAD Energy has shown themselves to be truly extraordinary partners. We all look forward to AHEAD Energy’s projects just as much as for the chance to meet and interact with the AHEAD representatives as for the substantial benefits that the completed projects have made to the students’ everyday lives.
Before our partnership with AHEAD Energy, we had outdated methods of preparing food using three stones on an open fire, so AHEAD Energy designed and constructed rocket stoves. These stoves control the smoke from our stoves that used to stay in the kitchen and expose our cooks to harmful carcinogens. Now we have a healthy environment that is no longer harmful to the staff preparing meals for the students.
AHEAD Energy helped our cooking problem, but they didn’t stop there. Circle of Peace School couldn’t afford the energy, unreliable supplied by Uganda. Now, thanks to AHEAD Energy, we have reliable energy from solar panels that power a refrigerator storing food for the children and the lights in our classrooms, which enable the children to study at night and take showers with hot water.
AHEAD Energy also created for us a water harvest system and thermal hot water heater. These two systems save our school much money from the expensive water bills. We have been very blessed to have worked with AHEAD Energy, and I look forward to continuing our partnership with them for a many years to come.
My experience with AHEAD Energy was excellent! I was working with a partner in Uganda, doing work at both a rural development center and a primary school. As an undergraduate student studying civil engineering, I found the experience that I gained through my work in Uganda to be even more valuable than most of my time spent learning in class. The hands-on, problem-solving approach that AHEAD Energy takes to finding solutions to energy-related issues in underprivileged areas is something I find fascinating and instructive. For example, my partner and I had the chance to actively participate in the construction and installation of 65 Rocket Stoves at the attendees' kitchen of a hospital. This hands-on approach was great experience for us and really made an impact for the community as well.
Overall, my experience with AHEAD Energy was incredible. I am very thankful for their support and guidance. While I didn't feel wholly prepared upon arrival, their in-country support helped direct us and accomplish the goals we had set as well as many more tasks as well. I would definitely not hesitate to volunteer for AHEAD Energy again!
CHAZON Children Centre is a feeding and educational institution that serves orphans, former street children and destitute children from very poor backgrounds. The children are selected from Molo Community. Molo is about230 Km North-west of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. Molo has many such children but due to limited resource we have enrolled as we are able to take care of.
The children stay for the night with relatives, foster parents and good Samaritans. The Centre has two vans that pick them up in the morning and drop them in the evening. While at the Centre the children are provided with meals and formal education. They are between age 3 and 16. Currently we have 350 children enrolled at Chazon.
We have faced many challenges during the four years of our existence. One of the major ones was innavailability of electricity a the Centre. We needed electricity to run our office equipment like computers and also for lighting. We are very grateful to Virginia Duffy from New York who introduced us to the President of AHEAD Energy who talked to her about our energy needs. AHEAD took the initiative of looking for a company that would donate power generating equipment to the Centre, Jetpro technology of Taiwan and AHEAD donated all equipment needed for wind power generation and paid for the shipment to Kenya and installed. Today we have electricity at the Centre and NO ELECTRICITY MONTHLY BILLS. AHEAD, keep up with the good you are doing for the disadvantaged people in society.
Pastor and Director
Chazon Children Centre
My experience with AHEAD Energy has been inspiring to say the least. During the winter of 2009, AHEAD gave me the opportunity to devise a wind turbine system design which was to be assembled and installed at the Chazon Children’s Center in Molo, Kenya the upcoming summer. I worked closely with wind turbine donation partner, Jetpro Technology Inc., in Tainan, Taiwan.
The unique experience was fulfilling. AHEAD allowed me to see a beautiful integration of engineering, business, and stewardship. In addition to determining the best geographic location for the wind turbines, I had to make sure the system design was able to meet the energy needs of the Chazon Children’s Center community. I was encouraged by AHEAD’s mission to enable all people to have a high quality of life and plan to pursue this in my career.
President MJ’s passion and leadership have opened my eyes to stewardship in the context of a greater global community. Currently, I am Master of Science in Business Administration candidate at the Simon Graduate School of Business and have a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester. My goal is to follow AHEAD’s example and use my business and engineering expertise to improve the lives of our international neighbors.
The lessons I learned as an AHEAD Energy volunteer speak to this organization's mission to illuminate communities around the world. In Fall 2008, AHEAD asked me to travel to sub-Saharan Africa, assess available energy resources and energy needs at a Ugandan primary school, and help assemble a personal network of local, state, university, and commercial individuals that would continue to inform AHEAD's work in the region. The experience was transformative.
Travelling alongside AHEAD Energy President MJ Ebenhack to the Peace Primary and Nursery School in Makindye, Uganda, I learned of one of AHEAD's guiding approaches -- to strategically work beside stakeholders, not in front of them. We talked with every student, teacher and staff member in order to gain insight into the Peace School's unique energy (and other) needs. This contextual approach enabled our design of an alternative energy system tailored to the school's setting, while empowering the school to take a central role in the project. This project won the Outstanding Commitment to Action award from the Bill Clinton Global Initiative University in 2009, which provided funds for the solar photovoltaic system at the Peace School. This prestigious award is a testament to AHEAD’s vision to work with communities to improve access to modern forms of energy.
My education was profoundly affected by AHEAD Energy. AHEAD helped me design and carry out an interdisciplinary major in alternative energy and sustainable engineering, which allowed me to align my abilities with my personal philosophy rooted in environmentalism. After volunteering with AHEAD, I went to work at the US Department of Energy, where I created opportunities for geothermal energy projects in Uganda, Rwanda, Djibouti, and Kenya, while networking with East African scientists in order to provide continuing educational resources to them. Next fall, I will begin a UK Fulbright Scholarship in which I will connect Ethiopian, European and American geoscientists at the benefit of geothermal energy development in East Africa.
AHEAD Energy’s impact on my life was far-reaching, but it does not compare to the impact they continue to have on African communities in need of energy.