The projects were part of an intensive one-week field-based training program titled ‘Designing Off-Grid Energy Systems for Community Development in Sustainable Energy Entrepreneurship’ that was jointly organized from 25-31 July by YFEL, Universitas Sebelas Maret, and Energy Partners, a non-government organization. The students visited Pringgodani Training Center at Boyolali, near Surakarta, also known as Solo City, for the program.
The one-week program aimed to motivate youth to become leaders in expanding energy access and sustainable development. The training also helped teach participants how to use systems-thinking with a multidisciplinary approach, while creating unique opportunities for team formation and hands-on practice.
During the program, the YFEL-Indonesian youth group focused its activities on energy systems technology, community engagement, perspectives on sustainability, creating organizations for social change, stream-flow measurement in a nearby river, as well as bio and solar energy potential.
The program also brought together expert trainers and practitioners in community development; renewable energy engineering and technology; energy systems planning and design; and rural energy entrepreneurship to offer guidance to the youth. It also offered a platform to connect and train the promising students and professionals who participated in the program, emphasizing the criticality of team formation in a new enterprise, encouraging diversity and respect for multiple perspectives as well as prioritizing locally-available expertise.
Zainab Al Ali, Program Manager, YFEL, said: “This program plays an important role in nurturing YFEL members’ skills and knowledge by providing them with exceptional and unmatched opportunities to engage in hands-on alternative energy and sustainability projects in marginalized populations. The authentic learning experience that the YFEL members receive during this trip emphasizes strong technical fundamentals, realistic and appropriate business models, and community participation, which result in positive human development outcomes.”
Participating YFEL members and Indonesian students benefited from the workshop that included a team challenge that required the design and presentation of a sustainable energy enterprise through field visits and hands-on projects. Additionally, the program offered the youth an opportunity to engage with villagers from the surrounding community and participate in interactive lectures and discussions, which encouraged self-driven learning.
Various youth teams visited the nearby river to learn and practice stream-flow measurement — which records the flow of water in streams, rivers, and other channels, a critical part of assessing a water cycle. The program also helped participants evaluate the potential of bioenergy and solar energy of the area based on the solar resource and local land use practices. Project ideas were based on assessing and evaluating needs of local agricultural activity. Participants stayed in the village over the course of the week, learning to appreciate a basic and simple lifestyle of the community.
For YFEL member Manar Almazrouei, the trip was a life-changing experience.
“This trip was one of my best experiences of my life. In one week I learnt a lot as an engineer and as a person. As a sustainable and renewable energy engineering student, this trip was the core of my study, where I learned about different renewable energy sources and technologies that can help in capturing these sources, and convert them to other useful sources of power,” she shared.
At the same time, students from Indonesia‘s Universitas Sebelas Maret who participated in the program acknowledged the role played by YFEL in empowering the community in Boyolali. Participants exchanged ideas with locals who are the primary stakeholders to develop an understanding about the local requirements.
Indonesian student Arya Ksatria Raja said: “This workshop will definitely influence my future decisions and career. After I finished the workshop, I became more aware of alternative energy resources and their development, especially in my country. I’m planning to get my master’s degree on energy subject, so I can share all of my knowledge with the local communities in Indonesia.”
06 September 2015