Underserved communities around the world are able to benefit from technology as they seek sustainable solutions to development challenges.
The Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) program is a network of IEEE volunteers around the globe that partner with underserved communities and local organizations to leverage technology for sustainable development.
- SIGHT focuses on sustainable solutions that make a longterm difference in the lives of people.
- SIGHT operates through local volunteers and partners working with local communities.
- For SIGHT, success is only achieved through partnerships, starting with the community and extending to government organizations, NGOs, schools, hospitals, companies, and others.
- For SIGHT and its volunteers to be both effective and sustainable, continuous training and education is essential.
“Local” is defined by the fact that key leaders of the project are citizens and/or permanent residents of the geographical area in which the project is to take place.
Note from the Chair
In 2012, when we started SIGHT, we encouraged engineers to identify local problems to solve with their peers and by partnering with the community. We saw great interest among our IEEE members, who connected together locally, to form SIGHT groups all around the world. Several activities and projects are undertaken each year and as a result several people are introduced to the benefits of technology, sometimes as basic as electricity, transportation, communication, and education.
We learned from our experience, that delivering sustainable solutions to the underserved communities is very challenging. There are multiple factors that make this process challenging – affordability, usability, education and ownership beyond our intervention, local cultural context, and limited resources are only a few. Many of these challenges are not technical and are beyond our trained areas of expertise as engineers. Therefore, it is important for us, the technology for development enthusiasts, to approach this discipline of sustainable solution development process with the same rigor that we put in to become skilled engineers.
Starting 2016, SIGHT activities will have a more defined structure to help increase the impact of our work. Each SIGHT will have 4 requirements to remain active – Education, Project, Capacity building, and Self-assessment.
We hope to provide a platform for all IEEE members who have an idea to create social impact by leveraging technology. We hope to influence them to move beyond good intentions to take an impactful action with their “feet on the ground,” and support them in experiencing, networking, and learning how to make their initiatives sustainable and scalable.
– Kartik Kulkarni, SIGHT Steering Committee Past Chair