Written by IEEE | December 1, 2020 | Updated: December 15, 2020
In honor of Giving Tuesday, we are spotlighting some IEEE programs that are making a difference in the lives of others — in the biggest ways. These organizations illuminate the possibilities of utilizing technology to find solutions to our greatest unsolved global challenges.
1. EPICS in IEEE – Transforming Lives, Inspiring Careers
EPICS in IEEE fuels the specific technical humanitarian solutions that local service organizations seek for their communities. It is directly through these organizations that EPICS in IEEE empowers students to apply technical knowledge to implement solutions for unique community challenges.
Today, we have unprecedented access to information, goods, and services. Digital wallets, healthcare apps, online education and news and weather alerts on mobile phones are now the norm. But in the same world more than half of the population has no internet access. More than 1.7 billion adults don’t have bank accounts, 11 percent of people have no access to clean water and 25 percent of the world lacks adequate sanitation.
We stand on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, where technologies such as AI, the Internet of Things and 5G promise to transform our way of life. Yet, those on the other side of the digital divide will become less accessible than ever. EPICS believes we can make an impact.
2. IEEE MOVE – IEEE Members Providing Disaster Relief and STEM Outreach
IEEE USA’s Mobile Outreach VEhicle (MOVE) Initiative is an emergency relief program committed to supporting relief workers and victims of natural disasters by providing short-term communications, computer, and power solutions for field operations. The American Red Cross provides access and logistical support for IEEE volunteers to provide this assistance.
The project was launched in 2016 and has responded to 19 disasters, including 11 hurricanes, multiple flooding incidents and wildfires, devastating tornadoes, and even an eclipse (providing airport communications support). IEEE MOVE has helped in Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina and in Tennessee for various hurricanes and tornadoes that affected these areas this year.
When not deployed for natural disasters, MOVE volunteers conduct community outreach and facilitate learning opportunities for students and the general public in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). They have been as far west as Texas, and as far north as New York to get students excited about STEM.
3. IEEE SIGHT – Leveraging Technology for Sustainable Development
IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) is a global network of individuals who address the challenges they identify around them by applying technical engineering skills and partnering with local communities. It serves as a catalyst for change and as a platform to share ideas, gain experiences, grow as a student or professional and host a community dedicated to leveraging technology for sustainable development.
In 2020, SIGHT and the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee provided funding for projects that addressed the COVID-19 situation and its related consequences. The pandemic did not only affect health, but also exacerbated poverty and laid bare systemic inequalities throughout the world. More than 90 projects from 25 countries were awarded funding to make an immediate impact through medical devices, information and communications technology-related development, personal protective equipment distribution and community sensitization; mitigate poverty; and reduce inequalities.
4. IEEE Smart Village – IEEE Smart Village Solves Problems Around the World Through Technology
More than 1.1 billion people have little or no access to electricity, especially in remote areas of the globe. Without sufficient access to power, these communities continue a cycle of economic impoverishment. IEEE Smart Village has a unique approach to support the world’s energy-impoverished communities by providing a comprehensive solution combining renewable energy, community-based education, and entrepreneurial opportunities. ISV provides seed-funding to carefully selected community entrepreneurs based upon a credible business plan that will impact a significant number of people with electricity, education and jobs to establish growing and vibrant socioeconomic communities.
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Click here for a list of IEEE programs supported through philanthropy.