Projects

 

Nicaragua

The City College of New York chapter of Engineers without Borders recently adopted a water supply project in Tadazna, Nicaragua.

 

Background

The community’s proposed project entails the construction of six groundwater wells located throughout the community. Each well is intended to support approximately one to five families. The design of the wells will allow for clean and safe water for daily use and consumption, decreasing the risk of contamination and disease.

Our Role

While certain sectors of Tadazna have access to a municipal potable water system, the rural landscape and sprawling community leave 46% of its population without easy access to water. Many residents often resort to collecting untreated and unhygienic water from unsanitary sources.

The student team working on the Tadazna Project draws experience from a range of engineering and science disciplines. Students are equipped with skills that aid the design, finance, and public relations aspects of this organization. The chapter is assisted by a team of professional mentors with years of experience in design, construction, and international development. Professors Beth Wittig and Michael Piasecki will be advising the team throughout the entire project process.


Expectations

We will resolve the concerns that the community holds regarding water accessibility. Aside from this project, the community has expressed other needs, such as public health, sanitation, and cooking.

South Dakota

Our current project is located on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota and involves the design and implementation of a 12,000 square foot community house.

Background

The community that we are working with is called Lakota. The people there face several challenges. The unemployment rate is 83% and the inhabitants have an average life expectancy of only 48 years for men and 50 for women. Many families practice substance abuse and their children do not receive the support they need to succeed in school. However, they are a tough group of people who stick together to overcome their challenges.

Our Role

Our project will give the members of the community the opportunity to spend more time together. The facilities at the community center will include a ceremony room, kitchen, classrooms, and a playground. These places will make this struggling community feel much more comfortable. To accomplish this project, we are partnering with the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), architect Scott Moore of Blue Star Studio Inc., and members of the Lakota tribe to ensure that the center is built to meet the needs of the community. Dominick Pilla, founder of consulting engineering firm DRPILLA and professor at the City College of New York School of Architecture, is serving as our mentor through the design process. While we will be acting as the structural engineers on the project, Professor Pilla will be guiding us in the right direction and teaching us the skills we need to successfully do our part.

Expectations

A new community house will make unifying the community a lot easier. People will be able to socialize on a regular basis and receive counseling from others to help them survive their difficult situations. As people enjoy their lives more, Native Americans should see a decrease in substance abuse and high school dropouts.

 

Honduras

 

In the past, our chapter was involved in a number of projects in Honduras.

Background

The communities of La Nueva Suiza and Las Chicas lacked sources of clean water. People would be subject to diseases due to the lack of filtration of the water they consumed. In addition, most of the homes did not have good ventilation, so the smoke coming from their cooking would cause them to have poor air quality in their homes. Further decreasing their health.

 

Our Role

We wanted to bring water closer to the homes in In La Nueva Suiza. Therefore, our chapter went there to implement a water distribution system. In another community, Las Chicas, we enhanced the community’s water distribution system and constructed greywater management systems and latrines. We were also responsible for designing a small-scale dam in Las Chicas. Since the members of Engineers Without Borders built all these water regulating facilities, the communities can now have a sufficient amounts of water to drink, cook, clean, and bath. Moreover, since greywater, relative clean water with some impurities, can now be treated to make it available for drinking, people at these communities will suffer less from diseases, that result from consuming filthy water.
Furthermore, the members of Engineers Without Borders returned to La Nueva Suiza to build chimneys for the residents because the smoke from the stoves would be trapped inside the houses and would make living there harmful to their health.

Expectations

We have planned to return to Honduras again to rebuild the water systems of another community called Milla Tres. Unfortunately, our work in Honduras was brought to a halt in 2013 due to a U.S. State Department travel warning on the country; the program was recommended for transfer to another EWB-USA chapter. Following the roadblock in Honduras, we were set to start work on a community center in Eyek, Cameroon, but this too faced delays due to similar circumstances. Shortly thereafter, our chapter was approved for the project in South Dakota.