We approached Trinity University's engineering program via their Senior Design course, to design a Rugged Power Generator.
The Generator had to be portable, long lasting/rugged as a Land Cruiser, easy to repair, sand proof, water proof/resistant, plus have USB charging ports for the villagers phones.
The generator had to meet weight limits & fit into a checked bag for international flight.
The generator will power an electric fence to defend the sustenance farmers crops inside the Human Wildlife Conflict Zones.
Elephants often raid crops and gardens, making consistent produce supply in the zones difficult.
The produce is not only for the villagers, it can also become an income stream for the 95% unemployed in the rural area. They can sell their excess produce to the tourist lodges in & around Hwange National Park. Currently the lodges get their produce from Bulawayo which is about 200 miles away and 100 miles of that is off road, deep in the bush.
It is expensive to get fresh produce out to the lodges. With the protected electric communal garden, not only will less fuel be used for produce and shipping, the proceeds from the produce will be put in the hands of those who need it most.
Trinity accepted the challenge!
WHY WILL POWER IS NEEDED
Human-Wildlife Conflict Zones - one of the greatest threats to wildlife species.
From The World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Human-wildlife conflict - when struggles arise from people and animals coming into contact - often leads to people killing animals in self-defence, or as pre-emptive or retaliatory killings, which can drive species to extinction.
The report, A future for all - the need for human-wildlife coexistence, highlights that globally, conflict-related killing affects more than 75% of the world’s wild cat species, as well as many other terrestrial and marine carnivore species such as polar bears and Mediterranean monk seals, and large herbivores such as elephants.
“Within a human lifetime, we have already seen extraordinary and unparalleled changes to our planet. Global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 68 per cent since 1970,” says Margaret Kinnaird, Global Wildlife Practice Leader at WWF International. “Human-wildlife conflict, in combination with other threats, has driven significant decline of species that were once abundant, and species that are naturally less abundant have been pushed to the brink of extinction. Unless urgent action is taken, this devastating trend will only worsen, wreaking detrimental and, in some cases, irreversible impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity.”
The report featured contributions from 155 experts from 40 organisations based in 27 countries.
“This report is a clarion call to elevate the problem of human wildlife conflict and give it the attention it deserves in national and international processes,” says Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division.
“It is a call for the adoption of approaches that identify and address the deeper, underlying causes of conflict while developing systemic solutions with affected communities as active and equal participants in the process. As demonstrated in many of the case studies in this report, coexistence is both possible and attainable.”
According to the report, which featured contributions from 155 experts from 40 organisations based in 27 countries, human-wildlife conflict is as much a development and humanitarian issue as it is a conservation concern, affecting the income of farmers, herders, artisanal fishers, and Indigenous peoples, particularly those living in poverty. It also interferes with access to water for communities competing with wildlife for local water sources and drives inequality as those who pay the price for living with wildlife rarely receive the benefits of coexistence.
Despite being so strongly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)*, human-wildlife conflict continues to be overlooked by policymakers.
While people the world over reap the benefits of maintaining flourishing wildlife populations - healthy ecosystems that allow us to survive, provide food and enable livelihoods - catastrophic impacts such as injury and death and the loss of property and livelihoods place a strain on those who live alongside wildlife, often in developing nations rich in biodiversity, leading to financial insecurity and poor physical and mental health.
“If human-wildlife conflict is not adequately addressed by the international community, WWF believes it will have a considerable negative impact on countries’ ability to meet the majority of the SDGs,” says Dr Kinnaird. “If the world is to have a chance of meeting the SDGs by the 2030 deadline, human-wildlife conflict must be explicitly included in SDG implementation plans, as well as at the heart of the Convention on Biodiversity’s new framework**.”
The report says that completely eradicating human-wildlife conflict is not possible but that well-planned, integrated approaches to managing it can reduce conflicts and lead to a form of coexistence between people and animals. Such approaches require work on prevention, mitigation, response, research and monitoring all backed by strong policy support and the participation of local communities.
An example of this can be seen in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area in Southern Africa, where an integrated approach to managing human-wildlife conflict*** has led to a 95% reduction in livestock killings, resulting in zero retaliatory killings of lions in 2016 (at least 17 were killed in 2012 and 2013) and allowing previously threatened lion populations to recover.
Reducing human-wildlife conflict in this way can lead to opportunities and benefits not only for biodiversity and impacted communities, but for society, sustainable development, production, and the global economy at large.
What happens if the design team is successful and Will Power Actually Works
Beautiful struggling people in the middle of nowhere Africa will eat way better & healthier.
Poaching will decrease. Human Wildlife Conflict Zones are a whole other level of existence. The villagers are surrounded by wildlife, poaching is tempting and when crops are raided families suffer.
Desperate or hungry people turn to poaching.
Poaching makes money, it’s sadly one of the black economies and is devastating to the wildlife.
The economy Will Power can potentially create through produce sales to the lodges gives those who may desperately turn to poaching another path in supporting their families.
By creating an opportunity for the villagers to sell their produce to the lodges, an economy is created where currently little economy exists. The lodges have agreed to buy produce but the cost of solarizing and fencing the gardens to protect the crop from wildlife can be a deal killer for the idea to progress.
Almost every adult in Zimbabwe has a cell phone, cell phones are used with Zimbabwe’s digital banking and can be done even on the old phones. Problem is, there is little power to charge phones in the rural areas. People borrow or often pay about .80 us cents for charging time on the only villagers with a solar panel. Some even barter for the time. With charging ports on the generators at the gardens, the energy from the Will Power generators will essentially open up a more vibrant banking & transaction network in the community.