Rainwater Catchment - Kenya (Boston Prof.) / Sustainable Water System - Honduras (Lehigh Univ.) / Multifunction Platform & Water System - Uganda (Columbia Univ.)

Rainwater Catchment in Kenya - Julie Gagen (Boston Professionals):
The Nuru project is a collaborative effort between the EWB Boston Professionals and Nuru International.  Nuru International exists to eradicate extreme poverty by holistically empowering rural communities to achieve self-sufficiency and inspiring the developed world to confront the crisis of extreme poverty.  They do this through a five-part program which involves water & sanitation, microfinance, agriculture, education and health.  The Boston Professionals' role is to assist the water & sanitation program through the development of a prototype rainwater catchment system which can be scaled up to serve more than 400 households. 

While the nature of the relationship between community, NGO, and EWB is unique in itself, the Nuru project is also distinguished by its EWB project members.  There are 10 professionals located in 5 cities across the country:  Seattle, Austin, Denver, Tampa and Boston.  And this unique characteristic has changed the nature by which we develop a professional program. 

Rather than traveling abroad for assessment, the group was able to meet with their Nuru partners in Vail, Colorado this past August to develop scope, scale, and a memorandum of understanding for a fraction of the time and cost generally required for an assessment. 

We welcome other groups to consider the nature of their NGO relationship, and learn more about the media and tools that have come to support this program through design.

    Biography - Julie Gagen (Boston Prof.):

Julie Gagen, M.EWB, M.ASCE (Chair)

Julie has been involved with Engineers Without Borders since 2005.  She has served in the chapter leadership for the UMass Amherst student group as Chapter President and as Project Manager for their western Kenya drinking water project.  She has traveled to Kenya three times, both through the EWB program and to work with a Kenya-based drilling NGO that designs and implements small scale community water supply systems for USAID.  After graduation, Julie became State Representative for Massachusetts as a member of the Boston Professionals.  She serves as the lead state representative in the Northeast, and has developed regional guidance and best practices for the role. 

Julie has been involved with ASCE since 2005 as well.  She served as Secretary of the UMass chapter and attended a regional chapter leaders conference in 2006.  She currently attends Boston ASCE Professionals events regularly.

Julie works for CDM, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts as Environmental Engineer in the Hazardous Waste and Remediation Division.  She is currently serving as Co-President of the Northeast Region of EWB-USA and sits on the national Strategic Planning Committee.

Engineering a Sustainable System for Clean Water in Pueblo Nuevo, Honduras - Holly Canada, Mike DeCrosta, Nick Shumacher (Lehigh Univ.):
    Lehigh University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (LU-EWB) has been working on a water project in Pueblo Nuevo, Honduras, since 2005. Pueblo Nuevo’s current water system is unable to serve the entire population with an adequate supply of water at all times. The water that is supplied is contaminated with bacteria and other pathogens. According to the town doctor 50% of visits to the local medical clinic are due to water-borne diseases. The goal of LU-EWB is to improve the well being of the town through helping them meet their need for safe water. The chapter is accomplishing this by solving both the technical problems and the sociopolitical problems that face the town. The technical design consists of a 20,000-gallon water storage tank, an improved transmission pipe with a pump and a chlorinator to treat the water. LU-EWB has learned that a water project cannot be solely an engineering project to succeed. In conjunction with the technical side, the project’s success also depends on ensuring that the town understands the importance of clean water and how to maintain the water system once it is complete. To accomplish the tasks of building a better water supply system and then maintaining it, LU-EWB has helped the town to create a water board with the authority to raise funds for labor to build the system and for future maintenance costs. For the social/political aspects of this endeavor, the club has relied on expertise from faculty and students in many of the social sciences. Another aspect to this work involves student interaction with professional engineers in the Lehigh Valley to give students hands-on experience with experts to work to create effective, sustainable technical solutions. LU-EWB's project has truly been a transfomative educational experience, for all involved: students from all disciplines and backgrounds have been able to apply what they learn in the classroom to helping create a sustainable water distribution system for Pueblo Nuevo.

    Biography - Holly Canada, Mike DeCrosta, Nick Shumacher:

    Holly Canada is a senior civil engineering major who was able to travel to Honduras during the summer of 2008 as part of the technical implementation team for the water tank. She is currently the Fundraising Manager. Mike DeCrosta is a junior Sociology major who has taken on the challenging role of LU-EWB's current President. Due to the timing of the political situation in Honduras, Mike has not been able to travel to Pueblo Nuevo, but he plans to do so as soon as possible. Nick Schumacher is a junior civil engineering major who traveled to Honduras last January with a social development team. He is currently the Lehigh-EWB Project Manager.

MULTIFUNCTION ENERGY PLATFORM IN UGANDA - Stephanie Quinn (Columbia University):

    The Columbia University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (CU-EWB) is developing a pilot program for installing multifunction energy platforms (MFPs) in the Soroti region of Uganda.  CU-EWB’s partner in this project is Pilgrim, which is a Ugandan non-governmental organization that provides training, education, and support for a network of forty-two farming cooperatives.    The MFP consists of a Lister diesel engine which uses a belt and pulley system to drive different attachments such as a miller, grinder, generator, or water pump. The engines have been modified so that they will run on jatropha straight vegetable oil (SVO). 

    This presentation will give an overview of the MFP program, which started in 2007 with prototype MFPs at Columbia University and at Pilgrim’s demonstration lab in Soroti.  In May 2009, two MFPs were installed at farming cooperatives and Pilgrim began training the coop members in running and managing the MFPs.  As a recipient of an IEEE Humanitarian Fellowship, Stephanie Quinn traveled with CU-EWB to Uganda in August 2009 where she had the opportunity to learn about the goals and challenges of implementing MFPs in rural communities.

    Biography - Stephanie Quinn:

    Stephanie Quinn received her B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Ohio State University,  B.S.E.E. from University of Maryland, College Park, and  M.S.E.E. from Northeastern University, Boston.  Her work experience includes developing fiber optic communication systems at GTE Government Systems, hardware design at Raytheon Company, and FPGA design and development at Fibersense Technology Corporation.  While at Fibersense, she was project manager for two programs which developed and build prototype fiber optic gyros.  She is a co-author of two papers on fiber optic systems.    

    A recipient of an IEEE Humanitarian Fellowship, Ms. Quinn was selected to participate in the Columbia University-Engineers Without Borders (CU-EWB) Multifunctional Platform (MFP) Pilot program.  In August 2009 she traveled with CU-EWB to Uganda where they followed up on the implementation of  MFPs in two villages.  They also conducted site assessments for rainwater harvesting and a computer lab at a secondary school.   She is a member of IEEE and Engineers Without Borders.