Mar 20, 2017

Spring Semester Updates

Community Vision Board Responsible for the Systems
Community Vision Board Responsible for the Systems

Dear Friends, Alumni, Donors, and Members,

Thank you as always for your amazing and continued support. We can't do it without you! We hope all is well through the winter season.

The spring semester for our program is primarily focused on preparing our team for travel over the summer, which we do by involving all of our members in the design, fundraising, and documentation process. We look forward to finding more funding opportunities, as our trip this summer is expected to cost upwards of $12,000. 

We have decided on a team for travel, and we are very excited to have so much interest and involvement in our program. We will be sending three students (four if we can find enough money) and a professional mentor who traveled with us last summer, and they will be traveling for two to three weeks. As we hammer out the details of the summer travel, we are excited to have our travel team get to know each other and our community even better!

The time our travel team will spend in-country will be primarily focused on monitoring and evaluating the previous four implemented systems to ensure they are functioning properly and to be available for any questions or concerns the community might have. We are excited to report that there have been no issues with the most recent implementation, and after the first rainy season, the new system was able to provide several hundred more people with a sustainable source of water through the subsequent dry season. Our community has taken incredible ownership of all of the implementations and has a functioning monetary and collection system in place that allows each system to be financially self-sustaining. Furthermore, our team will assess a fifth site by the name of Kibaya for a planned fifth implementation in the summer of 2018. 

In addition to our travel plans, we are proud of our successful and continued partnership with the University Hills Elementary School, where we have just started our third semester of the after school program. Each week, we send several of our members to 1st and 2nd-grade student group to teach an interactive, internationally focused after-school engineering program. Our members all report loving the activities, and the kids have a great time designing and building their own solutions to international engineering problems in an engaging, creative way.

Finally, we always try to keep a strong focus on our own team and cohesion, so that we can ensure everyone benefits and learns from each other. Each week we have a presentation about various aspects of Rwandan culture, and we have had a speaker from the NGO we partner with come and talk more about the work that her organization does in addition to supporting our program. We're excited to continue engaging our members and recruiting more to assist us in our incredible international work.

Thank you again for you continued support, and look for another update as we get closer to summer travel!

Links:

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:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.