May 2022
Sustainably Speaking - Thoughts from the IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) Chair

Dear IEEE Colleagues,

It’s wonderful to connect with you this month to share the exciting progress on various HAC programs. I’ll start with thanks to the volunteer and staff leaders across IEEE who have shared their appreciation for the HAC First Quarter 2022 Report for its summary of the inspiring work of the HAC team.
Next, I’d like to commend the HAC/SIGHT Projects Committee and the proposal reviewers for their efforts to review the submissions to the HAC/SIGHT call for proposals from April. The call received 144 proposals submitted from 19 countries and five IEEE Regions. It’s encouraging to see the response from across IEEE and the world, and the steady interest of IEEE members to use their technical skills to address sustainable development challenges in their local communities. From those that submitted proposals, I ask for your patience and understanding as the staff and volunteer team work on evaluation and funding decisions.

I’m thrilled to announce that the IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) and HAC have opened a special Call for Proposals to support projects in SPS Chapters that utilize signal processing technologies to address local community challenges. Over the last several years, HAC has been steadily increasing stronger partnerships with IEEE Societies. This key collaboration with SPS is another major win and demonstrates that HAC offers a complementary avenue to support organizational vitality and member engagement for our partners.

On 18 May, I spoke at the 4th IEEE Nigeria Section International Conference (NIGERCON 2022) on “Advancing Disruptive Innovations in Delivering Sustainable Development and Growth.” I enjoyed meeting and seeing some of my IEEE colleagues and Nigeria, and sharing with them how HAC/SIGHT provide opportunities for IEEE members in the humanitarian technology and sustainable development space.IEEE Nigeria Section International Conference

The IEEE Standards Association (SA) just launched a new season of the “Re-Think Health” podcast titled "AI for Good Medicine," and I was the first guest speaker of the season. The episode I joined, “The Balance: AI's Healthcare Goodness for Marginalized Patients” focused on the idea of whether or not artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) support fairness, personalization, and inclusiveness to chip away at the epidemic of healthcare inequity, or if they will further create more inequity in the healthcare system. You can listen to the podcast here.

In June, IEEE HAC will be hosting a first-ever side event to the United Nations Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP15). This is a major milestone in our continued external partnership efforts. The session, “Leveraging a Global Network of Technologists to Advance Assistive Technologies/Innovations in Serving Local Communities,” will take place on 17 June 2022. It will include learnings and best practices on how to engage technologists in developing assistive technologies that are relevant in addressing the challenges faced by local communities of persons with disabilities.

A great organization is made of passionate volunteers! Nominations for the 2023 Humanitarian Activities Committee members are open now until 15 June. I highly encourage everyone interested to apply for those positions soon.

Finally, HAC staff lead Holly Schneider Brown has accepted a new role outside of IEEE. I’d like to thank Holly for her wonderful contributions to IEEE HAC and SIGHT over the years and wish her the very best in her new role.

Stay safe and healthy,
Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan
2021 - 2022 IEEE HAC Chair
Thoughts from the IEEE Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) Chair

Dear Esteemed SIGHT Members,

I welcome you to the May edition of the HAC/SIGHT newsletter, and hope that all is well with you as you work tirelessly to impact your communities.


I would like to thank all members for their contributions and participation in IEEE SIGHT DAY 2022, and the SIGHT Steering Committee members and staff for their wonderful efforts to ensure that this year’s celebration was a success. SIGHT hosted eight SIGHT Day events, and three of those were in collaboration with other IEEE Programs – IEEE Women in Engineering (also as part of their 25th anniversary program), IEEE Young Professionals, and the IEEE STEM Portal (TryEngineering). If you weren’t able to attend any of these sessions, you can find the recordings on the HAC/SIGHT YouTube channel, along with videos submitted by SIGHT Groups to share their work. SIGHT Groups are still reporting their activities, but initial attendance records show that there were participants in all ten IEEE Regions. There were also many SIGHT Groups that organized their own SIGHT DAY activities - thank you! Your efforts are indeed recognized and will be treasured for many days to come.

On behalf of IEEE SIGHT, I’d like to thank HAC staff lead Holly Schneider Brown, who has accepted a new role with another organization. Thank you Holly for all the great work you have done for both SIGHT and HAC, especially in providing inspiring insights, guidance, and motivation; we wish you the best of luck in your next endeavor.

Yours sincerely,
Lwanga Herbert
2021 - 2022 IEEE SIGHT Chair


IEEE SPS & HAC Projects Call for Proposals


The IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS) and IEEE HAC are partnering to conduct a special Call for Proposals to support projects in SPS Chapters that utilize signal processing technologies to address local community challenges. Awards from US$1,000 to US$2,000 will be made to selected projects that present a convincing plan to a) understand the real needs of a local community or local stakeholder organization and b) complete in no more than six months’ time a pilot project utilizing signal processing technologies to address those local community challenges.

The submission deadline is 14 July; please see the HAC website for more details, the call for proposals, and submission instructions.


Submit a Nomination to be a Member of the 2023 Humanitarian Activities Committee

The IEEE Nominations and Appointments Committee is accepting submissions for the 2023 IEEE HAC committee member positions. HAC supports the Board-endorsed vision of IEEE volunteers around the world carrying out and/or supporting impactful humanitarian activities at the local level. Anyone may submit a nomination; nominators do not need to be IEEE members, but nominees must meet certain qualifications. Review the Guidelines for Nominating Candidates and Position Descriptions, then fill out the Nomination Form before 15 June.


Volunteer as an IEEE HAC/SIGHT Project Proposal Reviewer

Use your technical expertise to help select the humanitarian technology and sustainable development projects from IEEE members across the world to address pressing needs they've identified in their local communities. Submit an application to the IEEE HAC Projects Committee to join the team.


Calling all Innovators to Enter the 2022 IEEE Connecting the Unconnected Challenge!

IEEE Connecting the Unconnected Challenge

HAC/SIGHT volunteers - you can help IEEE contribute to worldwide digital inclusion by submitting a novel, early-stage project or concept that offers unique ways to increase internet access and usage for the 2.9 billion unconnected people around the world. The global 2022 IEEE Connecting the Unconnected Challenge is open for submissions of unique solutions for bridging the digital divide. Start-ups, grassroots organizations, universities, and others working toward digital inclusion in original ways are encouraged to participate. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners in multiple categories at the 2022 IEEE Connecting the Unconnected Summit, which will take place as a virtual event in November. Read the competition rules and learn how to enter your novel projects.


Register Today for the Meet the 2023 IEEE President-Elect Candidates Forum

Hear from the 2023 IEEE President-Elect candidates and get informed ahead of the IEEE 2022 annual election. During the forum, IEEE President K. J. Ray Liu will ask the candidates questions submitted by members on issues important to them and IEEE. The event will be held on Friday, 24 June 2022 from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm EDT (UTC-4:00). The event will be livestreamed by for IEEE members and recorded for future viewing. Register today.


Enhancing Digital Technology in Rural Schools 

Enhancing Digital Technology in Rural Schools

IEEE Members from the Uganda Section designed, developed, and implemented a plan to provide a rural school with internet connectivity as a way to reduce the disparities between rural and urban children with regards to digital access. The project team equipped the school with a solar power system and connection to the local grid, in addition to a wireless network to facilitate internet access as schools transitioned to online learning in 2020 and 2021 during the nationwide shutdown of educational institutions.

Additionally, nine teachers and sixty students were trained in basic information and communication technology (ICT) skills. The teachers who were trained then created an ICT club at the school that has engaged about 30 students by teaching them the basic uses of computers and other applications.

Welcome to the Newest SIGHT Groups!

  • Acropolis Institute of Tech and Research SB SIGHT - India (Madhya Pradesh Section), Region 10
  • Babu Banarasi Das Inst of Tech & Mgmt SB SIGHT - India (Uttar Pradesh Section), Region 10

The Tunisia Section SIGHT Group sends a hello to the HAC/SIGHT community: Since 2019, this Group's major project has been a Robotics for Democracy Program, which is now self-sustainable. This picture was taken after a workshop the Group held.

Tunisia Section SIGHT Group

The Tunisia Section SIGHT Group


Important Dates & Upcoming Virtual Events

Visit the HAC/SIGHT calendar for more humanitarian technology events and activities (all virtual for now).



Your donation of any amount to the IEEE SIGHT fund of the IEEE Foundation will help form the IEEE sustainable development leaders of the future and incubate projects that support IEEE’s mission of advancing technology for the benefit of humanity in communities around the globe.

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Add SIGHT to your IEEE Membership - it’s free and open to non-members as well. Benefits include the monthly newsletter, first notice of HAC/SIGHT funding opportunities, and increased connectivity with the Committees, staff, and volunteer network.

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Join a SIGHT Group

SIGHT groups partner with communities and local organizations to work together on sustainable development projects - find your closest group! If a SIGHT group does not exist in your area, visit the SIGHT Toolkit to learn how to create a new one.

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HAC/SIGHT Education Resources

See the free HAC/SIGHT resources on the IEEE Learning Network (ILN) and SIGHT website to equip participants with a basic understanding of humanitarian technology and sustainable development topics.


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Please let us know what you would like to read about in upcoming HAC/SIGHT newsletters. Send your suggestions and ideas to [email protected].

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