On February 25, 2017, volunteers from the EWB-San Diego Professional Chapter joined a group of other engineering organizations and companies to celebrate National Engineers Week by spending a Saturday teaching kids about engineering. The annual event, hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers Younger Member Forum (ASCE YMF), was attended by almost 200 children and featured activity tables from multiple engineering disciplines.
This was EWB's first time hosting a booth, and our goal was to highlight the connection between public health and engineering. Using glitter to represent germs, our team demonstrated how easily germs can spread, and explained how access to clean water is essential to human health.
It was a great day seeing kids make the connection between clean water and clean hands. Kids and parents alike left the booth with a better understanding of how engineers around the world are working to help communities meet their basic human needs.
This Thanksgiving, the EWB-San Diego Professional Chapter has a lot to be grateful for! Two of our projects have just been awarded grants from Boeing through EWB-USA. Our Water Supply project in Marripudi, India has been selected to receive a $5,000 grant award, and our Caserio La Chiripa project in El Salvador has been selected to receive a second $5,000 grant award. Both of these projects have teams traveling soon, so this funding can be put to good use right away!
We're thankful for all of the donors, sponsors and volunteers who are working together to realize our vision of a world where every community has the capacity to meet their basic human needs. Together, we're building a better world!
by James Harper
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 EWB-USA West Coast Regional Conference in Las Vegas. One of many productive and interesting conferences put on by EWB-USA, a few presentations stood out as being particularly helpful and applicable to our work here at the San Diego Professional Chapter of EWB-USA. Here are a few highlights:
Sarah Moore of the University of Arizona presented on community participation in a sanitation project that provided latrines and showers in a mountain town of Bolivia. She noted that community members sharing showers did not seem to affect their sustainability, but sharing latrines did; people seemed more willing to repair and clean showers for each other than latrines. Additionally, issues such as heated water, especially in the cold Andes Mountains, was shown to be a critical component of a successful shower project; community members reported that they thought that sickness was likely caused by showering in cold water. However, the main takeaway from Sarah's presentation was how critical it is to identify red flags (i.e., likely insurmountable problems that will affect project success) in a project before going ahead with implementation. Some of the red flags that she encountered on this project included the community scheduling a festival during their implementation trip; a lack of leadership in the community due to rotating leaders too frequently and only among men; poor communication between the NGO and the community; and the community trying to get out of their 5% cash contribution before implementation began. Identifying these red flags before implementation begins is critical to prevent project failure.
On October 6, the EWB-USA San Diego Professional Chapter held our annual fall fundraiser. This year's topic was “Defining Sustainability,” in which we explored the concept of sustainable design and its centrality in each of EWB’s three project phases: Assessment, Design & Implementation, and Monitoring. The program focused on utilizing local resources to solve problems, with solutions designed around the communities’ needs and strengths.
The evening featured three presentations and a Q&A session with the presenters. Cody Hooven, Chief of Sustainability for the City of San Diego, presented on the Assessment phase. Her presentation focused on sustainability planning and policy for San Diego, exploring how transportation, green buildings, renewable energy, climate adaptation and resilience, and social equity are included in the city's approach to sustainable communities.
Brandon Reynante, Professor of Humanitarian Engineering at UCSD, presented on the Design & Implementation phase. His presentation highlighted the importance of appropriate technology and cultural understanding to the long-term sustainability and success of projects.
Dr. Harold Bailey, a local leader in the water industry and active member of Water for People, presented insights from his trip to Peru with a Water for People Impact Tour in 2014 to discuss the Monitoring phase of projects. His presentation emphasized the significance of maintaining relationships with communities beyond project completion to ensure their ongoing success.
The event was catered by Kitchens for Good, a San Diego social enterprise aiming to break the cycles of food waste, poverty and hunger through innovative programs in workforce training and healthy food production.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this year's fundraiser! Click here to view photos from the event.
Our Fifth Annual Kickball Without Borders Tournament was held on April 9, 2016 at Los Penasquitos Ranch House. Eight teams from local engineering companies competed for the trophy and embraced this year’s theme: “Cult Classics.” Team themes included Top Gun, Napoleon Dynamite, The Big Lebowski, and The Sandlot, among others.
TSAC came out on top, taking first place just before the rain clouds rolled in.
Thanks to all of the teams and players who helped make our annual fundraiser a success!
by James Harper
The water situation in Flint, Michigan is scary. Not being able to drink tap water is something most of us can't imagine happening in America. The situation highlights some bad decisions made by government officials that will have health effects on an entire generation for decades to come. The problem will also require hundreds of millions of dollars to fix.
Luckily, there is money to fix the problem and provide care for those affected. Hundreds of millions of dollars are currently being made available to fix the problems associated with this crisis. Those in Flint are lucky enough to live in the USA, where such an enormous amount of money can be made available when the need arises.
But, what if there wasn't money to fix the problem? What if those in Flint had to continue drinking bottled water because the problem couldn't be fixed? Or worse yet, what if there were no bottles of clean water available to drink due to a lack of funding? Everyone in Flint would be forced to drink contaminated water because they had no choice.
Unfortunately, this nightmare scenario is exactly what 700,000,000 people (that's twice the population of the United States!!) in developing countries around the world live with every day. There are no water bottles available, no help provided by their governments, no plans to fix their water supplies, and no millions of dollars available. They have no choice but to drink contaminated water, which causes similar health problems to those caused in Flint recently.
The problem of clean drinking water is critical in today's world, particularly in developing countries. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should go without clean drinking water, but they do! We have the technology and money to solve this issue worldwide; we just need to step up and solve it.