ME4: What you get when you combine emergency response, experiential education, poverty eradication and job creation.
We start with a mobile solar power generator (instead of a diesel generator), which has great value as an emergency-response unit in generating solar electricity and purified water in a disaster. Since this "emergency asset" would just sit around waiting to respond to an emergency -- at considerable expense -- we've devised an enterprise to use it in the meantime.
We take a large solar power generator, a 25-foot-long trailer with solar panels, inverters and batteries, and use it as a movable classroom to teach kids hands-on skills they might not learn otherwise.
The first courses we teach will be on disaster preparedness and emergency response, and courses that use STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) based curriculum already being taught in some schools.
ME4 brings these courses to homeschoolers and underserved communities, not just as a mobile classroom, but as a rolling showcase of [working] technology that will be hard to find anywhere. It can provide solar power, clean water and clear communications. Similar to the idea of a bookmobile, it’s a "techmobile."
When there's an emergency or disaster, schools are a first line of refuge, and the ME4 system can either be used there for minor emergencies, or deployed to an emergency site where it can provide solar power and clean water for thousands of people in a major disaster.
We will also continue developing courses that use inventive design as the basis of project-oriented, hands-on learning through building actual products. These products are designed and developed for and in collaboration with people who live on 1 to 3 dollars a day.
Our longer-term goal is to use the products and kits we develop in globally-connected enterprise creation in developing countries such as South Sudan, Afghanistan and El Salvador. The mobile solar generator itself can work as the energy and communications hub for many in-country enterprises.
Tipping Point funds will ensure 2 months of operating expenses for the lease of the solar generator and fuel for the truck, plus $2000 for 2 project managers. Each additional $3000 in funds will support one more month of operation, including the 2 project managers (reduced to a $500 stipend per month x 2), and 5000 for a backup generator for 24/7 operations, and 3000 for classroom tables, folding chairs, and tools (soldering stations and hand tool sets).
Any funds beyond our $28,000 goal will allow the purchase of additional equipment such as the satcom system, water treatment unit, wind generator, and pay for new curriculum development. We will be seeking in-kind donations for this equipment as well.