Clean drinking water is something we can take for granted, especially living in the rainy state of Oregon. It’s hard to imagine having to hike up mountains or to travel miles away from home to bring water to your family—but this is a reality for many communities across the globe. Over the last several years, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has been working to improve access to safe and clean drinking water for such communities, having wrapped up a successful project in El Salvador and poised to start a new effort in Lela, Kenya.

Now, the group is ramping up fundraising efforts to support their latest endeavor.

On the evening of February 17th, 2012, the EWB held their annual banquet to celebrate their success in El Salvador and to fundraise for their upcoming Kenya trip. The banquet was held at the Corvallis Country Club and was complete with a catered dinner, presentations about the projects, and live entertainment.

EWB plans to travel to Lela in summer 2012
EWB plans to travel to Lela in summer 2012

EWB projects focus on building systems that bring clean drinking water to communities in need. In El Salvador, the community members of La Mercedes and El Naranjito had to travel long distances in dangerous, mountainous conditions to get clean drinking water. The EWB trips to these communities continued over several years and ended with supplying various reliable water filtration systems to improve water quality.

The goal of the current Engineers Without Borders project is to assists the 2,000 members of Lela, a small farming community in western Kenya. In addition to having no access to electricity, those living in Lela are forced to travel miles away to access clean water. EWB has already undergone assessments and planning to improve a rainwater catchment system that is on the roof of the centrally located primary school. EWB plans to greatly expand the capacity for the catchment system so community members can receive around two liters of clean water each day. By alleviating the community’s pressing water concern, Engineers Without Borders hopes the catchment system will decrease health issues surrounding unsafe water, lessen stress about water needs, and overall improve the quality of life for those living in Lela.

“Our vision is a world in which the communities we serve have the capacity to sustainably meet their basic human needs, and that our members have enriched global perspectives through the innovative professional educational opportunities that the EWB-USA program provides,” said James Teeter, Engineers Without Borders president.

Major sponsors of the Kenya project include: Oregon State University College of Engineering, Garmin, Hewlett-Packard, CH2M Hill, the Student Sustainability Initiative and other local companies. Engineers Without Borders hopes to raise $8,000 in the spring for their Kenya trip. If sustainable ways to ensure clean drinking water to those in need speaks to you, visit:



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