EWB Uganda: Volunteers Bring Access to Water to Local Communities

April 1, 2016

Access to water is a global issue that effects over a billion people around the world and the lack of clean, safe drinking water is an even bigger issue. According to a recent Pacific Institute study 3.4 million people, mainly children, die as a result of preventable water-related diseases every year. 

Bechtel volunteers have partnered with Engineers without Borders (EWB) to go into communities to improve access to safe drinking water in Uganda, Honduras and the United States. 

In Uganda, Maryland-based volunteers are working with EWB to help the village of Mikomago with their water needs. In this community young children are often walking long distances to collect water, which is contaminated with bacteria, from open pits and shallow wells. 

"Very often the solutions to obtaining clean water are not overly complex but are beyond the reach of rural populations with limited financial and technical resources.” Said Bob Voss, a Bechtel civil engineer and volunteer on the project.  

“Engineers Without Borders seeks to apply both know-how and funding in such circumstances."

The team is working with the Mikomago Water Committee and the Mwangwe Rural Development Association to assess needs and develop, design, and construct a sustainable water system. This system will include a deep well and submersible pump that will be managed by the community. 

Voss also shared that meeting with the Village of Mikomago, Uganda, Water Committee was an eye-opening experience.  

"They recognize the future benefits of a reliable source of clean water which include a positive impact on public health, personal cleanliness, sanitation, and reduced labor to haul water by hand." 

He also shared that the community will also benefit with increased home garden production and the ability to have livestock (chickens, pigs, goats, etc.). 

This video shares some of the behind the scenes of this project.

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