When MIIS alumna Mary Graham Bliss (MAIPS ’04) was a summer intern in Mali, she was told that the only thing that worked were “les petits projets pratiques” or the “practical small projects.” She listened, founded a non-profit organization focused on solar-energy projects, and named it “Practical Small Projects (PSP).”
Today her organization is thriving and has sponsored and managed solar energy projects for villages in Mali. These practical small projects really make a difference, says Heather Bessette (MAIEP/MBA ’12) who toured Mali and visited the villages this January as an intern for PSP. Heather started working for PSP last summer doing research and this January she was able to see first-hand the impact these practical small projects have on the lives of people in Mali.
For Heather, the internship with the organization Mary founded has been an “amazing” experience and opportunity to combine her interest in renewable energy project management with her French language competency. “Seeing how great a difference these projects make was eye-opening for me” she says, explaining that a small solar energy-driven pump at a water well allows for a deeper well that does not dry up as fast as a more shallow well, thus providing a steady water supply for the village. At MIIS we call that “Being the Solution.”