Thank you to everyone who kindly supported Louis Rivet (Le. 2007-12) with his volunteering in the Philippines, who is now back after his three month placement with Engineers Without Borders. During this time, he worked with SIBAT, a Filipino NGO in designing and upgrading Micro-hydropower systems. These systems provide electricity to remote communities that would not normally have access to the Grid.
As well as surveying and design work, Louis conducted socioeconomic surveys to assess the impact electricity has on these remote villages, including two communities - Kili and Gacab in the Abra region of North Luzon. Traveling during the rainy season made the journey a real adventure, as the Philippines has a higher annual rain fall than the UK but it all falls during a three-month period. To get to these villages, the Engineers Without Borders team had to first drive as far as possible before being stopped by landslides, then continue on foot going over a 150m long rickety bridge, then take a truck until another landslide and finally get to Kili on the back of dirt bikes. The journey took 19 hours in total.
The impact Micro-hydro has on the community is incredible, electric lighting means that children can now study later at night, meals can be cooked and eaten later allowing more working hours during the day. The largest impact was the use of mechanical rice mills meaning that rice no longer has to be milled by hand, saving days of back breaking work. Going to these sites was an incredible experience not only due to the scenery and the hidden hot springs and caves of Kili but also down to the people of the village. Meeting them and to see how happy they were due to the work that was done was amazing.
Louis left Brighton College in 2012, moving to Cardiff University to study Civil Engineering and is now in his final year of his Masters. During his time in Leconfield, Louis participated in various fundraising activities, including the house head shaving for the Rocking Horse charity. Participating in these activities at Brighton College has inspired him to participate in charitable endeavours. During his gap year, Louis went to Burundi where he worked at King’s School Bujumbura and the local orphanage - an eye-opening experience which has further spurred him on to do as much charity work as possible.