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ASU aids Ghana village with GlobalResolve

July 29, 2009

Imagine what your life would be like if every night was pitch dark as soon as the sun set. This is reality for villagers of Ghana living without electricity. But thanks to “GlobalResolve” at ASU they can now light their homes with the help of a few twigs and LED lights.

The “Twig Light” technology – created by Michael Pugliese, an ASU graduate student in the College of Technology and Innovation – uses a combination of water, a thermoelectric generator, pieces of twigs and LED lights to generate enough electricity to illuminate a small room. It is just one of many sustainable and replicable projects GlobalResolve has brought to the village of Domeabra. Other projects include a Gelfuel production plant, low-cost stoves and a clean water purification system.

GlobalResolve is a social entrepreneurship program designed to enhance the educational experience for ASU students by involving them in semester-long projects that directly improve the lives of people in underdeveloped nations throughout the world.

An ASU team of students and faculty is traveling back to Domeabra this month to check on the progress of their projects.

It all started back in 2006 when a group of faculty members ventured to Ghana to find sustainable ways to help meet the basic needs of the poverty-stricken villagers. The group also wanted to improve the current economic situation by teaching them how to replicate the projects and sell them in local markets for profit.

“When we first arrived, the villagers were getting their water from a runoff pond that was extremely polluted,” says Mark Henderson, the executive director of GlobalResolve. “The water purification system we designed uses very little energy to produce 250 liters of water a day from the processes of condensation and evaporation.”

Dan Killoren, GlobalResolve’s director of education and outreach, oversees a course at ASU that teaches those interested in getting involved about global innovation and social entrepreneurship. The class focuses on building sustainable business opportunities, and students must work together to design eco-friendly plans to provide for the village’s needs.

Brian McCollow was one of those students who enrolled in the course last semester and signed up to travel to Domeabra with GlobalResolve this month.

“It is my first time going so I’m a little nervous, but I feel prepared,” McCollow says.

As part of his trip, McCollow will be taking photos and videos to capture the experience and will be posting the footage on a daily blog.

“I’m going to blog about our daily occurrences and where we have gone with our solutions to issues in the community,” he says.  

By returning each year, McCollow hopes the public will realize the organization is constantly working to improve the lives of the Domeabra villagers.

“We want to show people that we are not just going and coming back home,” McCollow says. “We absorb and process what we have learned to figure out how we can create sustainable business opportunities to help them.”

The group hopes that the blog will one day serve as a “virtual village” for people in other countries to view their work and communicate about projects they are developing as well.

To follow the blog and stay up-to-date on the team’s travels, visit the Web site Those interested in learning more about GlobalResolve or joining their efforts can visit the Web site

Natasha Karaczan,
Media Relations