Engineers Without Borders South Central Florida Chapter

EWB-USA's mission is to support community-driven development programs worldwide through the design and implementation of sustainable engineering projects, while fostering responsible leadership. The South Central Florida Professional Chapter of EWB-USA strictly adheres to this mission and works toward a world where all communities will have the capacity to satisfy their own basic human needs.
Jul 24, 2013

Taking Lessons from Honduras to Haiti

The EWB-SCFL chapter is pleased to be able to close its program of work with the community of Ocho de Octubre (a.k.a. Segovia), Honduras. After several years of partnership with the community, culminating with the construction of a water distribution system, it has become apparent that the community’s active partnership with the neighboring municipality of La Esparanza is yielding rapid improvement of the community’s infrastructure and will more effectively address the community’s future needs than can EWB-SCFL. 

Having designed, constructed, and conducted a one year follow up trip to assess the operation of the well, water tower, water distribution system, and pila projects, our chapter’s focus has been for most of the last two years on what other needs in the community could be addressed. The most pressing need is sanitation, followed by the need for electricity, garbage disposal, and possibly drainage improvements. The selection of sustainable technologies to address any of these needs, sanitation in particular, quickly proved problematic as it became increasingly clear that the community’s residents were simply too cosmopolitan to accept the relatively crude sanitation technologies within the reach of an EWB project. Combined with the ongoing destabilization of the political situation in Honduras (punctuated by the full withdrawal from the country by the U.S. Peace Corps, without whose assistance we could not have accomplished the projects to date), the loss of an active role from our in country NGO, the lack of a direct contact in the community to communicate with, and the realization that the community’s partnership with the neighboring municipality is yielding rapid results to address their needs, these factors have made it clear that the appropriate action for the EWB-SCFL chapter is to close our program in Ocho de Octubre and apply all of the lessons learned and remaining funds to our other program in Corail Lamothe, Haiti.

We would like to thank all of you that have contributed to our efforts, and the community of Ocho de Octbubre extends its gratitude for the life altering improvement that their water system has brought. We hope that as you look towards targeting your future giving that you will consider once again partnering with EWB-SCFL.

Sincerely,

Andrew D Eiland, Jr

President - Engineers Without Borders, South Central Florida Professionals chapter

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Dec 28, 2012

Continuing to explore our next phase of work

With the loss of the Peace Corps involvement, we continue to explore what our future involvement with the community of Segovia might be.

While rainy-season flooding and standing water are reported issues, we are working to get the communities "buy in" before tackling a project to address this need so that we may increase the long term success of any project we might undertake. Right now we are awaiting response to our communication asking for the community's aid in documenting the problem so that we might best craft a solution.

We are also exploring what the impact of acquiring and NGO to replace the Peace Corps role in our program with the community might be, and if this could allow us to begin moving forward again.

Oct 4, 2012

Looking to the future

While we are continuing our planning for our future work in the community,  We have also been reflecting back on the amazing progress this community has made through the efforts the past years of EWB, other NGOs and missionaries, and, of course, the great people in Ocho de Octobre.  The community has completed construction of their pilla's and has been doing a great job on maintenance of their potable system.  A reliable source of clean water has had such a huge impact on the overall health of the community.  The community is also finishing  building latrines for each home and has now even received electricity!  

There is so much positive to talk about with this community and yet we are still planning for a few more items;  An improved ditch network could eliminate standing water that breeds insects that carry disease and frustrates proper sewage disposal as well as basic hygiene,  assisting with safety improvements on their water tower, and basic needs such as mosquito nets, shoes, and food.  All your donations are appreciated!