This semester, the Ethiopia team has been working on the assessment phase for the Toke project. At the beginning of the semester students decided to continue working on the project completely remotely after a travel ban was reimplemented in Ethiopia due to the political conflict and Covid-19. To facilitate this shift, the team has partnered with in-country engineers from the Woreda government. At the beginning of March, the Woreda engineers traveled to the community for the first assessment trip. Now the team is working on finalizing the project scope and preparing a second assessment trip before the semester ends to collect any data that was missed during the first trip. Since the project with the Toke community is now completely remote, a new community search focused in East Africa also started at the beginning of the semester. A group of students is looking into potential communities in Malawi, Uganda, and Rwanda. They have narrowed down their search through a decision matrix and risk analysis, and will be selecting a community in April.
The project continues making progress on construction with the oversight of the EWB Guatemala Country Office. The spring catchment box has been entirely built, and the lower tank retainment is almost done. The community is happy to be seeing substantial updates with the system. Concurrently, the water committee is receiving training and is working on establishing rules and best practices with the country office’s social worker. With the in-person help of the country office, the project has been able to run more smoothly. We still rely heavily on our Long Way Home contact, Roberto, to coordinate construction and be the bridge between the community, the country office, and EWB-UMN.
Unfortunately, our travel plans in January were canceled, but a small team plans to visit Chirijuyu during the team’s May trip to Chi Chokon.
The Guatemala team has been working hard to develop alternatives for the water distribution project and prepare for travel to Chi Chokon in May. Students have started receiving data as a part of our remote assessment plan, which includes water quality reports and flow rate information. This will give the Springs subgroup the information they need to look at water treatment options and to ensure the capacity of the springs can meet the community need. The Tanks subgroup has been putting together a plan for an in-person construction seminar at the beginning of April, which will help students develop concrete and masonry skills. The Pipelines team has been busy researching alternatives for reconstructing the five existing aerial crossings with more robust and sustainable designs. Meanwhile, the CAD and EPANET subgroup has been developing the skills to process the data and start designs once the assessment trip is complete. We are excited to be planning our first full-force trip to Guatemala since spring of 2020 and look forward to meeting our community partners in-person soon. Learn more
During the spring semester, Victoria Garden subgroups, Seating & Lighting, Water Distribution, Landscaping & Accessibility, Composting, and CAD, have been working diligently on their final designs. Students received feedback on their alternative’s analysis from the Community Engineering Corps (CECorps). CECorps is the equivalent of the role of EWB-USA for domestic projects. Additionally, students received feedback via an Independent Review Board, which contained four professional engineers who gave technical feedback on designs. Using this feedback, subgroups are finalizing their designs and will be presenting their designs to Victoria Garden Gardeners this Saturday at the Victoria Garden! Once designs are finalized students will begin preparing construction drawings for the implementation of the project which is scheduled to start during the middle of April. We are looking forward to getting hands-on experience and are very excited to collaborate with gardeners and Ujamaa place during construction. Learn more
As the Local Collab team wraps up its first project with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, we are excited to look to the future! Our primary focus at this time is our partnership with Division of Indian Work. Meanwhile, we are continuing to reach out to Twin Cities organizations with demonstrated need to start a conversation around how EWB-UMN can have a greater impact in our community. We look forward to seeing what comes next for this team!
Division of Indian Work
We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Division of Indian Work (DIW), an organization that provides resources and support for the Twin Cities American Indian population. Our project addressing infrastructure needs at their Lake Street headquarters is well underway. We are wrapping up our assessment of the solar system and heading into the alternatives analysis phase for compost and rainwater catchment systems. It’s been great to see our DIW team grow this semester! Learn more