The Guatemala program works within the municipalities of Joyabaj and San Martin, which are located in a mountainous region in western Guatemala, approximately 55 miles northwest of Guatemala City. The original water distribution project of the EWB-Guatemala program, the Pajuya Water project, was in large part implemented in January of this past year, and was completed by the community this spring. Currently over 400 community members in Pajuya are enjoying clean, potable water from a reliable source.
The project we are doing is in Tabuga, Ecuador, which is a community of about 400 people on the northern coast. As of now, the community does not have access to clean drinking water, and obtain their water from streams that feed two open cisterns, which are highly contaminated with e-coli and dead animals. Over the next few years, we will be implementing a spring box system to bring their community potable water.
Five years ago, Rotary club came in and built a pump house to eventually give Camarones, a neighboring community, potable water; however, the government of Camarones never followed through on funding the installment of pipes to connect the pump house and the community, so neither the people of Tabuga nor those of Camarones ever reaped the benefits of the Rotary Club's work.
The Uganda project is working in the community of Lweza, a village that is just south of the capital city of Kampala. We are working with the organization Village Health Project to provide the citizens of Lweza with clean water. Currently, the two main water sources in the community are contaminated with E. Coli and other harmful pathogens. Our goal is to install a water purification system at these sites and educate the community to improve their public health. We plan on traveling in January of 2015 to conduct our first assessment trip and create a foundation for a long term commitment to the community.
Engineers Without Borders Domestic Chapter’s project partnered with another student org, Edible Landscapes, to design a pergola to catch rainwater and aquablox to store the water. Edible Landscapes recently built several box vegetable gardens in the lakeshore area near the tennis courts. These gardens are open to anyone who wants to plant or harvest the vegetables. They came to EWB Domestic with the problem that they don’t have a convenient way to water their garden, as they currently have to carry a long hose out to reach the plants. EWB Domestic’s plan to help is to build a system involving a pergola to catch the water and aquablox to store the water. This way, students using the vegetable gardens will be able to conveniently pump the water right on location. The pergola will provide an environmentally friendly way to water the vegetables. Additionally, the pergola itself will be able to hold fruit and vegetables that grow on vines such as squash or watermelon.
Our group is teaming with Rotary International to construct a wastewater collection system in two communities in El Salvador. Along with construction, two very important aspects of the project are educational workshops that teach local children and community members basic sanitation and health practices, as well as water testing to assess the pathogens that threaten the health of community members. There are many ways to get involved in our group and lots of work to be done, so come join us!
The Rwanda project is currently working to bring water to the community of Gashonyi which includes the site of a clinic to soon be constructed there. During phase one, we will be working on finishing repairs on a pipeline that will bring water to the new health center site as well as the town center. Phase two will be developing two other spring sources in the area and running a pipeline from them to the clinic site and town center as well to provide the people with the much needed water source. We will also be looking into the possibility of building rain water catchment tanks which will also serve as a water source to this community. We are excited to be working on this project because providing clean water to the clinic and the people is an important part in improving health care in the area.
Over the summer our professional chapter partners in San Francisco completed construction of a brand new clinic. Seen in the picture is EWB-UW alum Kyle Akenbauer along with the clinic staff just after the completion of the foundation. The clinic symbolizes hope as an organized source of medical care.