Utviklingsfondet | Nepal
In 2015 we sent Ida on her first assignment with IUG through the cooperation of Utviklingsfondet. She went to Nepal to team up with a small NGO called Namsaling Community Development Centre. This is her description on how it is to apply both your hard and soft skills while working in the field.
On my first day in the field I walked around and visited the houses where the solar home system was installed. When I entered one of the temporary shelters of a village family I found the charge controller mounted the opposite way and the battery standing close to the kitchen area, where they handle and store their water and work with different metal kitchen tools. The battery poles were uncovered and in easy reach for children or falling objects. That was the moment when I understood why I was needed here and what my job as a field engineer had to be: I had to teach those people the safe handling and proper use of the solar home system. It starts with simple things like the charge controller which has to be mounted the right way, with the connection poles down, or else water can easily collect around the poles and create a short circuit between the components. This is especially important in an area with a long rainy season and houses which are far from anything you could call waterproofed. It continues with more alarming things like the location of the battery, which could be found anywhere in the middle of the living area: in the kitchen, under and on the bed, in the shelf surrounded by clothes, just beside the home made alcohol and in the entrance together with shoes and jackets. During that first day of visiting the village my mission became clear.
- I had to make the people aware of simple safety issues and proper use of the system.
- I had to help them to find a location for the battery to minimize the risk of hazards.
- I had to talk to the installation company and discuss basic mounting issues.
- And I had to make sure this knowledge would spread through the whole village and the situation is monitored and maintained every now and then.
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