Located in Southwest Kenya, Kolunje is a cohesive and well organized community of over 7,200 people. Our local partner, Endelevu Community Development Services (ECODS) has been working in Kolunje since 2003 on health and education projects. However, the lack of reliable sanitary water has crippled progress in Kolunje. Partnering with ECODS, the Rutgers student chapter is designing a sustainable water system meant to provide reliable, sanitary, and nearby water for the community of Kolunje.
The lack of access to clean water is a plaguing problem in Kolunje, Kenya. The community currently relies on a series of intermittent streams, shallow wells, and other unprotected sources of water. During household health surveys administered on the first assessment trip, cases of cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, and other waterborne disease were widespread.
The Kenya project has begun designing a tank and piping system to key locations in the community. The catchment systems and borehole that were previously implemented are also being monitored. The project continues to work closely with our REIC/hydrogeologists, to create a system that will work best for the community.
In Chi Elias, Guatemala, about 180 students ranging from pre-K to 6th grade attend the local school, which requires students to walk up to 2 miles each way, every day. When the school was originally built, several different organizations contributed, leaving the structure in substandard conditions. The school building has proven to be a safety hazard, as two of the classrooms have contributed to respiratory problems in the children, and the fence around the school is only half completed. The school also lacks a meeting place for the principal, often resulting in canceled classes to accommodate meetings. These circumstances take away from the education of the schoolchildren and prevent them from learning in a safe, healthy environment, which this project aims to alleviate and improve.
The Guatemala project has designed a foundation for two classroom buildings that satisfies the community’s needs. Going forward, other alternatives will be investigated and presented to the community for final approval. The project will start actively searching for structural engineers with concrete block experience to help in the process.
Camden, NJ has 77,344 residents according to the 2010 Census. The per capita income for the city is $11,967 and 35.4% of the population live below the poverty line. Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Camden has been ranked the nation’s most dangerous city in 2004, 2005, and 2009, based on crime statistics in the six categories of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft. In recent years, the lack of grocery stores and supermarkets has contributed greatly to the food and health crisis among residents of Camden, NJ, not to mention its struggling economy and poor standard of living.
The Camden project continued to work on their smart irrigation system and has contacted our professors to test the prototype. The final implementation trip to finish our lot on Beckett Street was also planned. In addition, the project began a collaboration with Rowan EWB to create a chiller room for stored produce for local organization, Vietlead.
The Tanzania project is EWB-USA Rutgers’ international project which officially began in December 2015. The project partners with an NGO called the Karatu Villages Water Supply (KAVIWASU) which is responsible for providing and maintaining clean water sources in the community of Karatu, Tanzania.
Karatu is a primarily rural region with a population of approximately 180,000 people spread across a total land area of around 3,300 square kilometers. Within this district are six different villages that the Karatu Villages Water Supply (KAVIWASU) supplies water to, including Tloma, Ayalabe, Gongali, Gykurum Arusha, Gykurum lambo, and Karatu Mini village.
The Tanzania project has finalized a well design and received technical approval from HQ, and created a WhatsApp group to facilitate planning for travel and other questions with our Tanzanian partners. Furthermore, signatures were drafted and received for a well ownership MOU with the purpose of protecting the community’s rights to the well and its water.
The Tanzania team is currently in its implementation phase of constructing a borehole well. The project aims to serve the sub-village of Tloma Awak which only meets about 5% of their water needs in the dry season. With the onset of the pandemic the team has switched to an online implementation strategy to continue its construction.