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 and providing them with the skills to solve their future demands. 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. At the moment we have two international projects, one in Bolivia and one in Ecuador, along with local projects in Midland, PA and Washington County, PA. Historically, our organization has been largely composed of engineering majors. While our projects are engineering in nature, we have always recognized the necessity for a public health sector of our organization to ensure our projects address the needs of the community. These steps not only ensure sustainability but help to positively impact the quality of health and life in our partner communities.
Engineers Without Borders at the University of Pittsburgh (EWB-Pitt) partnered with the community of Carijana, Bolivia in the Fall of 2018. The community is located 9 hours from one of Bolivia’s capitals, La Paz. Specifically, the community is 20 miles east of the border of Peru and 50 miles north of Lake Titicaca. Carijana consists of about 50 households. The main languages spoken in the community are Quechua and Spanish. The community’s economy and workforce focus largely on cash crops and subsistence agriculture. We are working alongside the community on a sanitation project with a focus on the construction of latrines and updated sanitation education. Carijana requested approximately 50 personal latrines, one per household. After an assessment trip to the community and many discussions with the people of Carijana, we have agreed that an offset pour flush latrine is what is currently needed to sustain the community. These specific latrines function very similarly to western style toilets, where water is poured into the bowl until the toilet flushes. Waste is then piped to a sealed pit. In October 2020 and in September 2021, our team was able to coordinate remote implementations of twenty latrines. We travelled and implemented an additional 15, making 35 in total with the help of our partnered non-governmental organization, Engineers in Action (EIA). Looking forward, our team plans to conduct an in-person implementation trip in August of 2023. We plan to send four engineering students and one travel mentor, travel guidelines permitting. Travel plans are subject to change, keeping in mind the safety of the community and our travel team. If in-person implementation isn’t feasible we will plan to transition to remote implementation, which will be closely monitored by our project team in collaboration with the community of Carijana.
This is Engineers Without Borders at the University of Pittsburgh’s first partnership with the communities of Tambanal and Ayaloma in Ecuador. The partnership between EWB-Pitt and the two communities was approved on September 27th, 2021. In Spring 2022, the Pittsburgh Professional Chapter of EWB (PPC) officially adopted the project, and we now work collaboratively with them on it. The communities have requested EWB’s assistance in implementing a new water filtration and distribution system. Out of the 48 documented families in these two communities, 24 of the families have signed on and applied for the project so far. In the community, there exists the Tambanal-Ayaloma water board, the CBO that supports this partnership. In addition to partnering with these communities, EWB-Pitt will also work closely with the in-country EWB office and our NGO Proyecto Dulcepamba, who works on water projects in Ecuador as well. The original water system in the community was built in 1963 by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MIDUVI) and reportedly never worked well due to poor design. This system has since been destroyed and their current methods of water obtainment are to transport water from the water sources to their homes via hoses or by carrying buckets. During the dry season (June-December), these water sources can dry up, leaving the families without access to water. Additionally, water from these sources is unfit for human consumption and has led to health problems in the community, especially among children and older adults. An assessment trip was conducted in December 2022 focused on collecting public health, surveying data, and building a relationship with our partner communities and in-country partners. The project team was made up of three students and five professional members. Our team is currently in post-assessment data analysis and will be soon moving into alternatives analysis in partnership with our community partners.
Where Your Donation Will Go
Your donation will go towards our team members traveling to their respective communities, and accomplishing their goals. For the Bolivia project, it means the cost of materials, the shipping of materials, travel costs, travel mentors, a translator, and our project engineer that works for our partnered in-country NGO (in this case, Engineers in Action) to collect all of the construction materials and equipment to be transported to the community. Since the community of Carijana is so remote, the shipping and handling fees for the materials are very costly. Additionally, the project engineer stays in the community for a few days, and returns once every few weeks, to monitor the construction process. The NGO also hires a mason to help with professional brickwork to ensure the safety of our structures. Your donations will directly cover the cost of sending the project engineer to oversee construction and the cost of providing the materials to the community. In Ecuador, the donation would go towards travel costs for the team members. In preparation for our implementation trip in Summer 2024, we are fundraising for student travel costs. Since we are partnered with the Pittsburgh Professional Chapter of EWB, we only need to fundraise for student travel costs through the EWB-Pitt Student Chapter. However, these costs are vital to student participation and benefit from this project.
Contributions received for this project shall be used in accordance with the purpose described herein, the terms in the FAQs and applicable law. For questions that cannot be answered in the FAQs, please call 412-648-4658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.