Engineers Without Borders - Boulder

We aim to empower the people of Rwanda by providing high impact, low cost engineering solutions for communities in need. Specifically, our projects are used to meet basic needs such as water collection, education, and agriculture. We work alongside the communities to design and implement something that they can maintain and operate as their own. Our projects also give university students the opportunity to develop their engineering skills in the field.
Dec 26, 2016

Winter and Looking Forward

Ntarama in the Making
Ntarama in the Making

Dear Friends, Alumni, Donors, and Members,

Thank you as always for your amazing and continued support. We can't do it without you! We would also like to wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season.

After a successful summer implementation trip, much of this semester has been spent growing our team, incorporating our new members, extending our community outreach, and looking forward to our fundraising efforts to prepare the team for our assessment trip next summer.

First and foremost, we have continued our successful partnership with University Hills Elementary School, where we send several EWB members to teach an interactive, internationally focused after-school engineering program for 1st and 2nd-grade students. All lesson plans are designed by our members, and the students enjoy the hands-on nature of the lessons. Each week, a few EWB members dive into a different international community and look at the engineering challenges and solutions the community members have experienced. Then, the students get to build their own solution! We plan to continue this partnership in the spring for the third semester in a row.

When our members aren't out in our community, we are engaging with our own team. Each week, our meetings focus on learning about our community, becoming more educated about various aspects of Rwandan culture. One of our favorite meetings has been when we built miniature versions of our systems so our newer members could get a feel for the work we do - one of the systems even stored water!

Looking forward, our plans involve extensive fundraising efforts to prepare for our travel next summer. We will be sending 3-4 members to Cyanika for about 2 weeks to check on our four current rainwater catchment systems and taking a formal assessment of the chosen site for the next system, planned for Summer 2018. Even though it's not an implementation year, the costs of airline tickets, in-country transportation, and translators add up quickly. Any help is greatly appreciated, even if it's just sharing this page! 

Thank you again for you continued support, and look for another update in the new year!

Completed  Nyarutosho
Completed Nyarutosho
A plan for a fifth system
A plan for a fifth system
Completed Ntarama
Completed Ntarama
Gasebya - it did indeed store water!
Gasebya - it did indeed store water!

Links:

Sep 26, 2016

Summer Implementation Completed

Pouring Cement for Tank Foundations
Pouring Cement for Tank Foundations

Dear Friends, Alumni, Donors, and Members,

Thank you as always for your incredible and continued support. We had an incredible summer implementation trip thanks to your support and loyalty, and we truly cannot do it without you!

Our summer implementation trip went splendidly. We had three main goals, the largest of which was to build a fourth rainwater catchment system with three tanks. We came in ahead of schedule and under budget, which is more than we could have hoped. The community with which we work was spectacular, and we are even more confident in our relationship with our Rwandan partners moving forward. We worked for nearly the full five week trip on the construction of the site, ending with a few days to spare and go over the system throughly to check our work. We started by sourcing materials from the local area and transporting wood, sand, gravel, cement, and a whole host of construction tools. We began construction almost immediately and poured foundations for the tanks and columns in the first week. While those were setting, we constructed three trusses out of eucalyptus wood and prepared all of our materials to construct the roof. After the foundations were set, constructino moved quickly and we got a total of six columns built in a week with the assistant of local masons. The masons and other workers on the site all worked quickly to put up the trusses, create crossbeams, install the roof, and finally place and pipe three 10,000 liter tanks over the next several weeks. Both our team and the local community were very happy with the final result!

Our second goal was to add two water tanks to a previous system. One of the three systems a previous team constructed was so effective at collecting water that there was significant overflow that was causing erosion in nearby agricultural areas. Toward the end of our trip we added two tanks and piped them to the existing ones, and we are already getting reports that the tanks are functioning as expected as our community approaches the rainy season. We were very excited to both provide the community with more water storage capability while reducing the negative and unforseen impacts of the initial implementation.

Our final goal for the trip was to select a fifth implementation site, planned for two summers from now. We were able to work with the community to find a location that was very technically feasible for us and met the needs of the local community. The site was selected exclusively by the community vision board members and was approved by the local committees established for many of the smaller communities within Cyanika. We look forward to working with this community next summer when we begin an official assessment, and we are already looking towards improving our design for the coming years.

All four members of our travel team, as well as our professional mentor, had an amazing and very positive experience. We spent a lot of time hanging out with local children and mothers, playing games and having translated conversations when we could. We will be sending another trip of 3-4 students next summer, but until then we can't wait to look at the data we gathered from the trip, focus on our elementary school engineering outreach here in Boulder, and continue to build our team as the semester gets started.

If you would like more information on our travels and more pictures than you could hope for, you can find the blog here: http://ewbrwanda.blogspot.com/

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about our work in Rwanda. Again thank you so much for your continued support, we so appreciate it!

All the best,

Ellis Aune

Local kids helping out by packing down dirt
Local kids helping out by packing down dirt
Travel Team with the Completed System
Travel Team with the Completed System
Preparing to install new tanks at old site
Preparing to install new tanks at old site
Assessing one option for a future implementation
Assessing one option for a future implementation

Links:

Jun 29, 2016

Summer Implementation Trip

Cyanika community members
Cyanika community members

Dear Friends, Alumni, Donors, and Members,

I would first like thank you once again for your incredible and continued support. The work we do to provide clean water to several hundred Rwandan individuals would not be possible with your contributions and loyalty.

The last few months have been a whirlwind as we’ve begun preparing for our upcoming travel! Our designs for our fourth rainwater catchment system were finalized during the last semester after consultation with our professional mentors and the technical team at EWB-National, and we are ready to go with our materials and tools that we’ll be both bringing with us and obtaining while in Rwanda. We’ve spoken to our community to clarify our timeline, and they are ready to start work as soon as we arrive in our community!

There has been a lot of work to prepare for travel on our end, from going over our designs and construction plan one more time, to reviewing surveys we plan to administer to gather feedback on our relationship and quality of work with our community, to holding meetings with Village Makeover, the NGO we partner with. We recently altered our design to be more representative of buildings and structures already standing in the community, so we have transitioned away from steel and concrete and towards wood, gravel, and lava rocks. This has saved us money and allowed us to locally source our materials, so the new plans are more culturally and financially appropriate. All of these preparations have been very exciting and our team can’t wait to head out!

Our travel team leaves on July 7th, and is comprised of four students and our professional mentor. The first few weeks of travel will be laying the foundation for our newest rainwater catchment system, which will have three 10,000 liter tanks to store water for our community during the rainy season. We will also be adding two tanks to a previous system that can store more water than expected, and at our community’s request we will be expanding that site. The following couple weeks will focus on building the structure itself, including putting up wooden beams to support the roof, allowing the columns to set, and finally putting on a steel roof to catch water. Lastly, we will install the tanks that will preserve water during the rainy season, so that our community can have clean, accessible, and affordable water during the drought conditions of the rest of the year. In total, we will be in Cyanika, Rwanda for five weeks, and we will return to the United States on August 14th.

During our travel we like to update our family, friends, and supporters with our online blog. We will post pictures and stories every few days when we find internet, and we encourage everyone to follow our travels! This blog also contains updates from all of our past travel if you are interested.

 You can find the blog here: http://ewbrwanda.blogspot.com/

Finally, preparations have begun for this upcoming semester so that we can begin work as soon as our team is back in Boulder for the semester. We look forward to debriefing our trip, reviewing data collected from surveys, discussing this most recent implementation from a technical standpoint, and beginning preparations for our next community that we will be assisting with a rainwater catchment system. We will also continue our cooperation with University Hills, again leading an after-school engineering focused program for 1st and 2nd graders. This partnership was a huge success in the spring and we are so excited to continue our interactive exploration of global cultures and engineering challenges with these fantastic kids!

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about our work in Rwanda. Again thank you so much for your continued support, we so appreciate it!

All the best,

Ellis

Professional Mentor with Storage Tanks
Professional Mentor with Storage Tanks
Discussing Plastic Piping
Discussing Plastic Piping

Links:

 
   

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