Sustainability in action: Supporting employee projects
By Bill MacKenzie
It's just one school on a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean formed as the mangrove estuary creates a bend near Puntarenas, one of Costa Rica's primary ports. Though just a 20 minute boat ride from where modern cruise ships dock, the island has no electricity, no telephones and no potable water. The teacher at the island's school manages to teach six grade levels in a confined space. Two of the girls in the 14-person school say they want to become teachers and one of the boys wants to be a principal, but in the past 50 years not one of the school's students has taken a boat ride to attend high school in the big city.
Adrian Gonzalez Alvarado and some of his colleagues at Intel Corporation's plant in Belen, Costa Rica wanted to help bring the tiny school into the 21st century. They hoped to introduce Internet access via five Classmate PC laptops run on solar power from panels on the school's roof that feed into batteries.
Simultaneously, Intel employees Zia Manzur of Bangladesh and Bernd Nordhausen of Singapore saw that the availability of power limits the use of technology education in rural schools in emerging markets, yet there are very few instances where solar energy has been used to power PC deployments in such schools.
Both projects turned to Intel's Sustainability in Action Program which is intended to encourage employees to build the company's environmental leadership. Since the program began in 2006, it has funded a diverse set of projects ranging from environmental education initiatives to ecological restoration and conservation projects, to projects aimed at engaging fellow Intel employees to reduce their environmental footprint while at work. Funding for recent projects has averaged $13,000 apiece.
Bill MacKenzie is a Communications Manager at Intel Corporation. For more information on Intel’s Sustainability in Action program, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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