Hands-On Sustainable Development: Part 1
Houmpheng Vilaiphone is currently a Year 4 student from the National University of Laos, studying in the Faculty of Environmental Science, Department of Technology and Environmental Science. He will graduate in August 2016, and is currently an intern with the Renewable Energy Team at SNV in Vientiane. Houmpheng is originally from Luang Prabang, but has been living and studying in the Lao capital, Vientiane, since 2007. Over the next few months of his internship, he will be sharing his stories and experience with SNV in Laos.
Hi! I’m Houmpheng and I am excited to be sharing my experience interning with SNV. I’ve been studying Environmental Science at university for the past four years and am interested in sustainable development and technology to reduce climate change. Last year, I had an internship working in rural areas with an outreach and patrol team to advocate the importance of forest and wildlife conservation for people’s livelihoods.
In April 2016, I attended a presentation at my university by Bastiaan Teune, who is the Sector Leader in Renewable Energy at SNV in Laos. This was the first time I had heard of the Improved Cookstoves project, but I could see the relationship between cookstoves and climate change after watching the presentation. I realised that using a more efficient cookstove could also reduce emissions from households.
After the workshop, SNV contacted my teacher asking for a student nomination to serve as a Renewable Energy intern. My teacher encouraged me to apply, and I felt very lucky to get this opportunity. SNV is working on sustainable development with local knowledge. This is the type of experience I was looking for, and I expect to learn a lot from the organisation during my internship.
During my first two days in the office, I visited the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre (LDWDC), and I observed how to produce ICS and also realised that the ICS Project serves not only to develop people’s livelihoods, but also supports disabled people.
In the beginning, I learned a lot about the ICS project such as the efficiency of the stove while cooking (it produces heat faster than normal stove), and that ICS can save fuel, lower CO2 emissions and produces less smoke.
For the remainder of my internship, I will be involved in the activities of ACCS (Advanced Clean Cooking Solutions) project. I already participated in a stakeholders meeting for this new project, with representatives from Nexus, SNV Laos, and SNV Cambodia. My next adventure will be to test the clean stoves using a Water Boiling Test (WBT) and safety test at REMI, together with the Laos Renewable Energy team and a team from Vietnam.