Engineers Without Borders

Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at 10:21 AM

"With Engineers Without Borders (EWB), you can travel and impact people's lives around the world! This page describes and EWB project that was completed in 2007 in San Bernardino, Nicaragua with professional engineers from New Orleans along with students from Rice University in Houston."

Engineers Without Borders

PostedWednesday, August 22, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Engineers Without Borders

Explore the world and help others through Engineers Without Borders (EWB)!

Through organizations such as Engineers Without Borders, university students and professional engineers come together to complete a variety of projects in developing communities. Many of these projects are related to water supply, sanitation and water treatment, structures and construction, energy, agriculture, and bridges. Learn more about the programs of EWB-USA on their website.

The following EWB project was completed in San Bernardino, Nicaragua in 2007 with professional EWB members from New Orleans and students from the Rice University EWB Chapter in Houston.  This project accomplished the following goals:

  • Built a rainfall catchment system to collect rainfall from the roof of the church for handwashing at the school and church.
  • Built a system for pumping and treating water from a local well for use at the school and church (community areas).  The system will be used when rainfall catchment is not sufficient.
  • Drinking water is now safer in the community due to installation of Potters for Peace water filters in each home!
  • Health surveys were conducted at each home to better understand the health and needs of the community


Rice University EWB students watch a local contractor measure the drinking water well which will eventually be fitted with a rope pump.  The contractor taught the students about local technologies, such as rope pumps and why they work well in Nicaraguan communities like San Bernardino!


Installation of the rope pump on the drinking water well.  The pump is used to pump groundwater to a tank where it then flows to a water treatment area.  The groundwater must be treated due to high concentrations of bacterial contamination. 


Rice University students and local children visiting a home in the village of San Bernardino to conduct a health survey and deliver a Potters for Peace water filter.  Students spoke with the women in the home to better understand the illnesses they and their family experience most frequently.  Women were shown how to use  the filter and how to properly maintain and clean the filter to ensure safe water is available for their family.   


A Potters for Peace water filter!


Rice University students teach elementary school children in the community about the importance of clean, safe drinking water and safe hygiene practices.  Children also learn about the new Potters for Peace filters and how they can help maintain them.


The community church before installation of the rainwater catchment system!


EWB students and professionals constructing the rainfall catchment system for San Bernardino.  Gutters were hung along the church which then collect water as it runs off the church roof.  Water is then stored in tanks beside the church.


Due to the very hectic schedule, EWB students and professionals worked late into the night by using light from their rental trucks!


The tanks and biosand filter which are used to store and treat water for the community.

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