Success of Bangladeshi environmentalist
Yet another expatriate Bangladeshi has been gaining prominence slowly but steadily in the international arena. He has been working on renewable solar energy for more than a quarter of a century. This particular area of science has come to the forefront in view of energy crisis and global warming. Recently he has won Boston Mayor's Green award for community leadership in energy and climate protection.
He is Dr. Sajed Kamal the youngest son of the illustrious poet Sufia Kamal and Kamaluddin Ahmed. Born in 1947 at Burdawan, West Bengal in India, he obtained his graduation in Economics and Education from North Eastern University in Massachusetts, USA in 1971, and doctoral degree in humanistic studies from Boston University also in Massachusetts.
Dr. Sajed Kamal had launched first phase of photovoltaic pilot program in 1986 based on solar energy in Bangladesh. During his sojourn in Bangladesh from 1986 to 1988 photovoltaic solar electric system was demonstrated to over thirty non-government organizations, and educational institutes. Being inspired by the interest generated and feasibility study the second phase programme of 50 watt stand-alone was installed in 1989 at poet Sufia Kamal's Dhanmondi residence which turned out to be the pioneering project in Bangladesh. Each stand-alone project includes a 50 watt module, three fluorescent lights, a battery and a charge controller.
This particular project was installed in a number of places, including a clinic and school for children at Dhamrai operated by Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation and Nijera Kori training center at Noongola, Bogra. By the end of 1990 eight more pilot photovoltaic systems were installed across Bangladesh. These are: Energy park of the department of Applied Physics and Electronics of Dhaka University; UBINIG's rural school in Tangail; the school/community center of the Centre for Mass Education in Science in Rangpur; Nijera Kori's training center at Char Jabbar, Noakhali; Deepshikha, Protibondhi Foundation's school for children and vocational centre for women at Malibagh, Dhaka and a village market place at Mahmudpur, Pabna as a part of the village development project of Dhaka Rotary Club.
Initial expenses for installing such project came from Dr.Sajed Kamal and his wife Dr.Rosie coupled with a grant from the Overtook Foundation of Massachusetts. Dr.Rosie also holds doctorate degree in Humanistic Education from Boston University and they met first when they were students in late 1960's.
In 1997, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) invited Dr.Sajed Kamal to serve as the consultant to plan, train and launch a renewable energy programme. During the consultancy period until 2000 “BRAC Solar Energy Programme for Sustainable Development” had succeeded to install over 30,000 40-50 watts stand-alone PV systems across the country, growing at the rate of about 750 systems per month. That was a phenomenal achievement by BRAC. Since Bangladesh is facing energy crisis this innovative project could be installed by non-government and government agencies to overcome the crisis.
In 2004, Sajed and Rosie Kamal and some friends from the United States contributed PV systems to Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan (BPA), Muktijodha Jadughar, Bishwa Shahitto Kendro, the South-Asia school of photography in Dhaka and the Wetland Research Centre of the Bangladesh Centre for Advancement Studies in Gopalganj and Rokeya Sadan, a shelter for girls and women operated by Bangladesh Mahila Parishad
On an experimental basis Sajed Kamal introduced stand-alone photovoltaic system at his residence at Fenway, Boston in Massachusetts in 1986 with a 50 watt solar panel sitting on a south facing window sill. The system has been generating clean electricity for two fifteen watt fluorescent lights, a small energy efficient table lamp and a record player round the year since it was installed.
With the motto of thinking globally and acting locally Sajed Kamal initiated in 1999 Solar Boston, a partnership of renewable energy experts, community organization and business communities committed to promoting solar technologies throughout Boston. Solar Boston became a partner of the US Department of Energy's million solar roofs initiative in 2000. Solar Boston helped install over fifty grid connected photovoltaic solar electric systems in the region.
Sajed Kamal distinguished himself as an international educator on sustainable energy and an adjunct lecturer in the Sustainable International Development Programme at Brandeis University. Sajed Kamal by now helped setting up pilot projects in the United States, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Armenia and El-Salvador.
As one of the participants Sajed Kamal presented a scholarly paper in the conference on 'Bangladesh in 21st Century' at Harvard University in June this year. The theme of the paper was 'the untapped energy mine' which, interalia gave the impression that Bangladesh, which is endowed with renewable energy sources including sunshine and wind, is truly an exceptional renewable energy mine. If judiciously planned and implemented, this energy mine has an inexhaustible capacity meeting the country's annual 4000 megawatts electricity need.
Dr. Sajed Kamal is the president of the International Consortium for Energy Development, a Boston based non-profit corporation. Apart from this, he is involved with many energy and environmental related projects and associations. Sajed Kamal received Mayor of Boston's first annual green award in 2007 and Life time Achievement Award was given to him in 2008 by US Environmental Protection Agency.