During the 2019-2020 school year, as the project in Filakit Geragera, Ethiopia, was coming to an end, students started looking for a new community to partner with. Walter Eshenaur, one of the team’s professional mentors, approached the students with an opportunity to work in Toke, Ethiopia. The community has a water distribution system that was initially designed and built thirty years ago by Walter Eshenaur for a population of 3,000. Since then the population size has more than doubled and the system no longer provides the community with enough water. In 2011, there was an attempt by the regional government to fix the system by developing a new water source, since then this system has malfunctioned.
The current system has two water sources located in the outlying community. The original source starting at a spring and the second being a borehole added from the 2011 government attempt. The two water sources lead to a reservoir built during the initial implementation, located in the community. From there the system has a series of underground piping connecting the reservoir to thirteen tap stands spread out around the community.
During the 2020-21 school year, students are starting the assessment phase of this new project, making plans for an assessment travel trip in May 2021. During this trip, students will work on developing a relationship with the community and the NGO, while learning more about the current water sources and the distribution system. Before this initial travel trip, the team is partnering with a third party organization, the Afro Ethiopia Integrated Development (AEID) to conduct a topographic survey of the current system to get a better understanding of what it looks like before traveling. Alternative analysis and initial designs will then take place following the assessment trip during the 2021-22 school year followed with an implementation trip in May 2022. The team is expecting to continue developing designs, possibly expanding the system, through the 2022-23 school year.
EWB-USA UMN has been successful at developing an initial relationship with the Toke community by regularly communicating with the community leaders and water committee via email, Zoom calls, and WhatsApp. This relationship has been made possible through a partnership with the Berhane Wongel Church Development Organization (BWCDO), the NGO for this project which is based in Addis. BWCDO is the development arm of the larger Berhane Wongel Church organization.