Who We Are
Engineers Without Borders USA is a non-profit international service organization that aims to build a better world by empowering communities to meet their basic human needs. The University of Pittsburgh Student Chapter has had two previous projects in years past including a fishing farm in Mali, Africa and a water distribution project in Tapagem, Brazil as well as several other local projects in Pittsburgh.
Historically, our organization has been largely, if not unanimously, composed of engineering majors. While our projects are engineering in nature, we have always recognized the need for a public health sector of our organization to ensure that projects are created according to the needs of the community, to not only ensure sustainability but help to positively impact the individuals health and quality of life.
EWB-Pitt partnered with the community Carijana, Bolivia in fall of 2018. The community is located several hours north of La Paz. Carijana consists of about 50 different households. The main languages spoken in the community are Quechua and Spanish, while the community’s economy and workforce focuses largely on cash crops and subsistence agriculture.
Alongside the community, we are working on a sanitation project with a strong initial focus on the construction of latrines. Carijana requested approximately 50 personal latrines, one per household. The people of Carijana are also interested in the construction of eco-latrines, which are constructed differently from the typical pit latrines and require a bit more operation and maintenance. However, eco-latrines may be especially beneficial to Carijiana because the compost and fertile soil by-products of the latrine can be used for agricultural purposes. Although we are not certain that eco-latrines will be chosen as the best alternative, our chapter and the community are both excited about its possibilities.
Where will your Donation Go?
Our student chapter will be sending five members and one engineering mentor from the Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh Professional Chapter to Carijana this summer. The main focus of this trip will be to gather information such as technical information such as water or soil testing. The team will also be working to collect public health data through a variety of methods including a community survey, focus groups, and a public forum. Donations will be used to cover expenses such as airfare, ground travel to the community, purchasing of equipment such as water testing supplies, training expenses (CPR/first aid, wilderness first aid, etc.), in-country expenses like a translator and food, and general administrative costs.