Assan decided to generate electricity for a town called Dumbo, a town without power in the Bui region of Cameroon. He envisioned a way of using the high-pressure flow of water coming downhill through pipes from a spring catchment to power a mini-turbine generator. He had his work cut out for him as he had to redirect the flow of the water and design and build everything, including the generator components, by hand.
After all his careful effort, the hydro-powered generator was useless because it lacked proper efficiency. He heard about the Electricians Course at our Center for Business and Education in Kumbo and knew he had to attend in order to gain the knowledge he needed to make refinements to the generator.
In order to afford the course, Assan obtained sponsorship from a nonprofit organization that serves the town of Dumbo. He traveled on unpaved roads for over four hours through an area that lacked electricity to reach our training center in Kumbo. He won over the course instructor, Steve Odnoha, with his in-depth questions about the material, always staying late and always wanting to know more. He quickly learned the problem with the generator was in the transformer, that he needed to stabilize the voltage. He learned how to wind the coils tighter and to change the shape of the core. It was a simple but sophisticated fix, easily increasing the efficiency of the generator by 70 percent.
Last year, Assan made a journey to Kumbo again to report back to the humanitarian team with his success story. He also shared the details of his next big project: to convert a local high school to solar-powered electricity. He already submitted a proposal with detailed electrical plans from what he learned in the course and now awaits funding from an international nonprofit organization for the solar panels.
Empowering motivated individuals like Assan to become better at what they are doing is one way our humanitarian programs embody skillfulness in action—by educating one individual, we have benefited a whole community. A town has electricity and soon a high school will run on renewable solar energy—that’s powerful work!