This year, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has a vision to create change for the people living in Darmang, Ghana. Run by President Emma Janisch, EWB held their first meeting this past Thursday from noon to one. “This is the first year Mines has really had a club so it’s really impressive that we have 25 people here,” Janisch said.
The main problem in Darmang, a town of about 2000 people, is lack of water during the dry season. During the wet season, plentiful rains fill the water wells, providing an ample water supply. However, when the dry season comes around, the shallow wells quickly dry up. Children are often sent on three-hour walks to find water, causing them to miss school. “They need a clean, stable source of water that is accessible to the entire village… if they have the time to start doing the things they need to, the kids can start going to school again… and it’ll definitely have a big impact on their life in general,” Janisch said. EWB is partnering with the University of Seattle to engineer a solution to this problem.
Even though the engineering aspect of this project is important to helping these people get out of poverty, Janisch believes that “the main thing about all these projects is getting to know the people… the engineering is still there… but it’s so much more of a cultural aspect we need to focus on.” Thus, one of five committees will be dedicated to learning more about the culture in Ghana and making it the peoples’ project, not the club’s project. “They need to know how to run these wells and do everything long after we leave, otherwise if what we do is only good for a year then it won’t really help them that much,” notes Grace Bernard, Secretary of EWB.
Madeline Hatlen, a freshman this year, was president of the EWB chapter at her high school and plans to continue working with the organization as a student at Mines. “I’m really looking forward to the project that Engineers Without Borders has to do because it’s a combination of engineering skills plus working with communities around the world.”
Molly Roby, Treasurer of EWB, sums up why she believes it is important to get involved. “I think it’s important that engineers don’t focus on getting money but focus on the bigger picture of helping the human race. And there are so many people in the world that don’t have things that we take for granted, so it’s really important that we promote that.”
Regardless of engineering background or specialty, everyone is invited to get involved with EWB. “I really encourage anyone at Mines to come and look into EWB… I think it really gives you a perspective on the world knowing that these people are living off $2 a day while we spend $2 like it’s nothing,” Janisch said. “I think it’s important even if you just come to one meeting and listen to one of our speakers.”
If you are interested in EWB, contact Molly Roby at email@example.com.