Project Steps for Watts is an amazing project done by the community service avenue of RACUOCFMFSustainable Development Goals were the key area that was touched here, and this project was mainly focused on SDG 7 which aims to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. The project was carried under 3 phases, where phase 1 was on familiarizing the target crowd with the SDG 7, phase 2 was on educating the school children about SDG 7 and the final stage was on accelerating the usage of Solar power. Under this us FMFers were able to carry out an immensely successful course in order to raise awareness and to improve the knowledge of the general public on this area. 

Steps for Watts ව්‍යාපෘතිය RACUOCFMF හි Community Service Avenue විසින් සිදු කරන ලද අපූරු ව්‍යාපෘතියකි. තිරසාර සංවර්ධන ඉලක්ක පිළිබඳ වූ මෙම ව්‍යාපෘතියේ, ප්‍රධාන ව SDG 7 වෙත අවධානය යොමු කරන ලද අතර එය “සැමට දැරිය හැකි, විශ්වාසදායක, තිරසාර සහ නවීන බලශක්ති ප්‍රවේශය සහතික කිරීම” අරමුණු කරයි. ව්‍යාපෘතිය අදියර 3ක් යටතේ ක්‍රියාත්මක විය. එහි පළමු අදියරය – SDG 7 ඉලක්කගත පිරිසට හුරු කිරීම, දෙවන අදියරය SDG 7 පිළිබඳව පාසල් දරුවන් දැනුවත් කිරීම සහ අවසාන අදියරය සූර්ය බලශක්තිය භාවිතය වේගවත් කිරීම යන්නයි. එහිදී මේ පිළිබඳ සාමාන්‍ය ජනතාව දැනුවත් කිරීම සහ දැනුම වැඩිදියුණු කිරීම සඳහා අති සාර්ථක සැසි මාලාවක් දියත් කිරීමට අපට හැකි විය.

திட்டம் “Steps for Watts”என்பது RACUOCFMF இன் சமூக சேவை அவென்யூவால் முன்னெடுக்கப்பட்ட ஒரு அற்புதமான திட்டமாகும். இத்திட்டமானது வளங்குன்றா வளர்ச்சிக் குறிக்கோள்களின் மேல் விசேட கவனம் செலுத்தும் வகையில் முன்னெடுக்கப்பட்டது, முக்கியமாக SDG 7 இல் கவனம் செலுத்தியது. இது அனைவருக்கும் மலிவு, நம்பகமான, நிலையான மற்றும் நவீன சக்தியை அணுகுவதை உறுதி செய்வதை நோக்கமாகக் கொண்டுள்ளது. இந்த திட்டம் 3 கட்டங்களின் கீழ் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டது, இதில் முதல் கட்டம் இலக்குக்கூட்டத்தினருக்கு SDG 7ஐ அறிமுகம் செய்வது, 2வது கட்டம் SDG 7 பற்றி பள்ளி மாணவர்களுக்குக் கற்பிப்பது மற்றும் இறுதிக் கட்டம் சூரிய சக்திப் பயன்பாட்டை விரைவுபடுத்துவது. இத் திட்டத்தின் மூலம், பொதுமக்களுக்கு விழிப்புணர்வை ஏற்படுத்துவதற்கும், அவர்களின் அறிவை மேம்படுத்தும் வகையிலும், FMF மாணவர்களால் மகத்தானதொரு வெற்றிகரமான பாடத்திட்டத்தை மேற்கொள்ள முடிந்தது.

Hi everyone. It’s me again for one last time as a FMFer.

Well, let me start off by putting out the whole thought process behind the Steps for Watts project.

Late June I was preparing to bid farewell to RACUOCFMF! It’s underrated if I use the word “sad” to express how I felt back then. It was like taking a part out from my heart. So, I was looking for something that would help me cope up with the situation. That is when I came across G17 University Ambassador Program. Trust me or not I had zero knowledge on Sustainable Development goals (your immediate past secretary wasn’t perfect at all my friend). I mean එහෙම එකක් තියෙනවා කියල I knew but then I didn’t have a thorough knowledge to understand how important it is for us and our country.

After the selection processes I was assigned to advocate for SDG 7 – Clean, affordable, and modern energy for all. Along with me 16 other undergraduates from University of Colombo were assigned to advocate for the other 16 SDGs.

The teeny tiny Githmi, the coordinator for our University – G17 informed us about the mandatory monthly project that we are supposed to do based on the SDG that we are advocating for.

Boom! It was a whole new team, and I couldn’t even figure out how to do a PROJECT related to an SDG THAT I ABSOLUTELY HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT! DUDE CMONN!!

I was completely lost. And then I decided to revisit home!

Wondering what I meant by home? You guessed it right. Its RACUOCFMF! A place filled with people that I could call home.

“Why not do one last project before leaving the club?” was the exact thought I had in my mind.

The ever so loving, ඕනෙම දේකට “එහෙම කරමු Akki” කියන අපේ මල්ලී, Navinda, (OH yes also the Vice President for the Community Service Avenue) was able to get the okay from our two new bosses Gaji and Samindi and we decided to go ahead as a joint initiative with Rotaract and G17 University ambassador consortium.

Even though I knew that ENERGY is very significant to the context of Sri Lanka these days (තෙල් පෝලිම් and power cuts) I wanted to research about the SDG in order to fix a flow for the project. After much research, discussions, and approvals, I decided to carry out the project in three phases.

Phase 1: Familiarizing the target crowd with the SDG 7

The target crowd was Rotaractors of our club. With the help of the two Power houses of the Community Service Avenue, Janul and Vishvi, I was able to pull off a series of flyers related to the SDG. The flyers were shared in the social media pages of the club as well as G17 Sri Lanka.  It was concluded with a few testimonials of the Rotaractors. Melisha and Theeksha, the two directors for the Professional Development Avenue extended their support towards the initiative with their absolute passion on SDG7. (Theeksha has even stopped using multiple devices at once unless it’s unnecessary).

The key takes away from the phase 1:

What are SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals are 17 interlinked goals that were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by 2030.

What is SDG 7?

The goal that aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. It has 5 targets altogether, 3 outcome targets and 2 means of achieving targets.

What are the actions that we could take from our level to conserve energy?

  1. Turn off your air conditioning, especially for sleeping – open a window or use a fan.
  2. Don’t use multiple devices at the same time. Be mindful about thus and only use several devices when necessary.
  3. Buy rechargeable electronics. Don’t buy or use one-use batteries.
  4. Switch off your appliances at the socket. Turn off the light when you are not using them.
  5. Use solar energy sources. Install solar panels in your heating and electricity. Use solar technology – Chargers, lights etc.
  6. Stay informed. Follow your local news and stay in touch with the global goals online or on social media.

Phase 2: Educating the school children about SDG 7

It was bit of a hard task to get a school on board, after many attempts we were able to get St. Xavier’s School, Wewala on board. With the support extended by the Principal, Mrs. E.M.L.P Silva , we were able to conduct a two-day workshop with 30 lovely kids at the school.

It was a Thursday in August, me and my never says no gang (which includes secretary madam, Samindi, Navinda, Janul, Vishvi, Melisha, Mindya, and Chanuka) were ready to go to the school. Everything including the presentation were set. With the warm welcoming from the principal and the teachers at the school the nervy feeling we had, went away for a while.

The library was filled with grade 9 girls and boys. It was a bit strange. Until the teachers fixed the multimedia projector for us, we did an activity with the school children to break the ice!!! It was to introduce themselves and tell how they feel about power cuts! Out of all the answers here are two which stood out.

“Current ගියාම අපේ Toby පේන්නේ නෑනේ. එයාව පෑගෙනවා. ඉතින් හරිම කරදරයි”

“ඇඟ හෝදගන්න පේන්නේ නෑනෙ”

Along with all the fun, the kids started to get along with us, which made our task easier. And then came the hardest part, teaching them about the SDG 7.

“දැන් ඔයාලා හැමෝම කියනවනෙ current යන එක හරි කරදරයි කියලා. ඔයාල දන්නවද ඇයි මෙහෙම අපේ රටේ හැමදාම current කපන්නේ කියලා?” No one seemed to know the answer for that.

Let me pause the story with the kids for a while and have a chit chat with you. Everyone keeps blaming the government (right okay, I don’t say that they are right), but DO YOU at least know why we are facing daily power cuts? (I’d be surprised if it’s a yes, also, congratulations! you are in that 1% who could really help to get our country out of the prevailing crisis).

Do you even know from what sources Sri Lanka generates Electricity?

My dear friend, if it’s a NO. The situation is very unfortunate. The power cuts we are facing today have a lot to do with the illiteracy of the general public that has been continued for generations and generations.

I hope you aren’t that brutal to be the reason for the suffering of our future generations. Are you? No right!

In case you wonder why we do projects as such, now you got the answer. I’m not sure about others, but we as a team would do absolutely anything to get our people out of this crisis.

Let me share a few things related to electricity and power cuts. (These are strictly based on my opinion. Feel free to agree, disagree, criticize. BUT NO Fighting!)

Electricity in Sri Lanka is generated using three primary sources, in the order of usage, they are:

  1. Thermal power (Which includes coal and fuel oil)
  2. Hydro power – power generated by water
  3. Other renewable sources of energy (Wind power, Solar power, Biomass Power)

It could be further classified as renewable energy as well as non-renewable energy

  1. Renewable energy – Hydro and other renewable sources of energy
  2. Non-renewable energy – Thermal power

Not sure why, even though Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the ocean and has a lot more access to renewable energy, we still depend so much on thermal power Thermal power uses non-renewable and import oriented material. With the dollar crisis, Sri Lanka is and has been unable to import coal and fuel oil that are needed to fulfill the domestic electricity demand.

This is a very simple reasoning for the power cuts we are facing.

Coming back to the phase 2 of the project, the story above was taught to the kids in the school in an attractive and a simple manner. Then the kids were given the opportunity to write, draw and talk about whatever they learned during the above situation.

On the day 2 of the workshop, we were able to make three posters along with the school kids.

මේ කතාව 9 ශේණියේ පුංචි නංගිලා මල්ලිලාට බරපතල වැඩි වෙන්නත් පුළුවන්. ඒත් ඒ පුංචි ඔළුවලට මේවාවල බරපතලකම දැන්මම තේරුම් කරලා නොදුන්නොත් අපට ඉතිරි වෙන්නේ තවත් 225ක් වගේ කට්ටියක්. දැන් ඉන්න කුඩා දරුවෝ ඉතාමත් බුද්ධිමත්! එයාලා තමයි අපේ රටේ අනාගතය. ඔවුන්ගේ අනාගතය වෙනුවෙන් ඔවුන් දැනගත යුතු දේ ඉගැන්වීම අපේ වගකීමක්.

Phase 3: Accelerating the usage of Solar power

That one phase that was a bit too annoying to the community service team. පොඩ්ඩක් ඩාම් වෙනවා! ඩූම් වෙනවා. සමාවෙන්න. (not exposing a lot because we have agreed on terms and regulations with partners)

Anyhow, George Steuart Pvt Ltd and Brantel Lanka Pvt Ltd joined hands with us to spread the word about solar systems. The team was able to educate themselves about solar systems with the objective of passing the knowledge to the those who are in need. The team was able to visit Brantel Lanka to thoroughly learn about renewable energy. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Kaizer Majid for the support extended.

Further a rising YouTube channel, Voice of Embilipitiya also joined hands with us. With the support of the channel, we were able to find a gem in Embilipitya, Mr. Rajeen Prasanna, a graduate from University of Ruhuna who develops solar products. This kind soul is always available to anyone who is interested to get to know about solar products. You could contact him on 0713122122. To check out the video featuring Mr. Rajeen, click on the link

Thinking whether there’s anything that I missed about the project. Ummm… Nope! So that’s it.

Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who helped me out to execute this project. (Never says no gang, THANK YOU SO MUCH! I know I was a pain throughout. Everything you all did meant a lot to me. ආදරෙයි! <3)

To the dearest reader who made it here, Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed 🙂

Written By:-
Oshadi Dias

Edited By:-

Rtr. Tharushi Gajanayake
(Blog Team Member 2022-23)

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