Sunday, May 31, 2009

Valpo's Engineers Without Borders Work in Tanzania

A team of Valparaiso University students recently returned from a 10-day trip to Tanzania, where they launched what will be at least a five-year relationship with a village facing health and land degradation due to problems with its water canal system.

Alex Williams, president of Valpo’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders and a junior civil engineering major from Fargo, N.D., traveled with seven other students and an engineering professor to the village of Masaera, where they assessed the scope of the project and sought to gain the support of its people.

Over the next year, the chapter will research the best designs for improving the canal and create an educational program so the community is prepared to maintain the canal network themselves.

Valpo’s chapter will return to Masaera next May to begin implementing its canal improvement plan and education program.

Masaera is the second community in Africa that Valpo’s EWB chapter has worked with. In 2008, the chapter completed a five-year project constructing drinking and irrigation water systems for the village of Nakor in Kenya.

EWB-VU was the first university chapter to begin a project in Kenya and it was named a Friend of Kenya by the country’s ambassador last year. Valpo’s chapter won the Engineers Without Borders-USA Educational Achievement Award in 2005 and members have presented information about its Nakor project at several conferences, including the World Education Colloquium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


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