Filakit, Ethiopia

“All of the people in this room are smiling”


In the Spring of 2016, prominent members of the Ethiopian community in the Twin Cities area approached EWB-USA UMN with the opportunity for a potential collaboration with a rural community in Ethiopia. At the time this agricultural community, Filakit Geragera, Ethiopia, requested insight into the improvement of current irrigation water supplies, agricultural practices, and the creation of new water sources altogether.

In May 2017, a team of University of Minnesota students and professional mentors traveled to the community to assess and discuss their needs. The assessment yielded personal insight into community desires and requests for an improved, efficient drip irrigation system, efficient water catchment system, and solar-powered injera cooker.

During the 2017-2018 school year, the Ethiopia Project Team designed an innovative multi-stage drip irrigation system, an open-spring water catchment device, and a solar injera cooker prototype. All systems were designed with materials available in Ethiopia, ensuring the accessibility and maintainability of the systems. In May 2018, another team departed to Filakit Geragera to work with the community to develop these systems. The trip yielded the completion of a drip irrigation tower in a field previously unused during the dry season, the burial of supply piping to the drip irrigation tower towards the source, the installation of the Muzit Spring Catchment System (MSCS) to improve the efficiency of current hand-dug dirt canals, and an installed prototype of a solar injera cooker.

During the 2018-2019 school year, the Ethiopia Project team continued developing designs for the pump and pipeline portion of the multi-stage drip irrigation system and a second iteration of a solar injera cooker prototype. In May 2019, a team of six students and three rotating mentors implemented the majority of the piping from the water source to the drip irrigation reservoir, repaired the reservoir for the planned system, and installed a second prototype of a solar injera cooker. By the end of the 2019 calendar year, a solar pump will be installed at the source for the drip irrigation system to direct water to the reservoir.

EWB-USA UMN will spend the 2019-2020 school year finalizing the supplier for the drip irrigation system, continue developing prototypes for a solar injera cooker, create plans for introducing potential crops to be planted in the community in the newly irrigated field during the dry season, and design a pipe bridge to increase accessibility to water for irrigating fields in the outlying community.

NGO Collaboration

EWB-USA UMN communicates regularly with Filakit Geragera throughout the year. This is accomplished with the assistance of local partners within Ethiopia. The Ethiopia Project works closely with a local chain of monastery leaders in the Filakit area to provide communication, materials, skilled labor, transportation, lodging, and board assistance during the design process and trips abroad. Furthermore, the breadth and influence of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is a profound asset to the trust and safety between EWB-USA UMN and travel team members. This connection to local partners is vital. EWB-USA’s projects are most effective when the project trinity – collaboration between individual chapters, communities, and NGOs – works together and communicates regularly to develop sustainable projects in the best interest of the communities requesting the services.

Where We Are

For more information, contact:
Sneha Sinha at or Nate Twardock at

Ethiopia Project Meetings are held every Tuesday from 7-8 pm.

Muzit Spring Catchment System

Check out the work we have been doing to harness spring water using a catchment system. A similar system was implemented in the community in May 2018.