June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.891.1 - 10.891.10
Lessons Learned From An International Service Learning Project
Carmine Polito and Rachel Husfeld Department of Civil Engineering, Valparaiso University/ Student President, Engineers Without Borders-Valparaiso University Chapter
In May of 2004, a group of students from the Valparaiso University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-VU) undertook a trip to the village of Nakor, Kenya with the goal of constructing a water supply and irrigation system they had designed. While the project was successful, numerous problems were encountered in its implementation. These challenges resulted in the group learning several important lessons, which will not only be applied to future trips to the village, but can also be applied to other international service projects.
After a brief explanation of the goals and philosophies of Engineers Without Borders, a description of the project and its implementation will be provided. The project description will be followed by a discussion of the lessons learned and a description of the manner in which these lessons will be applied by EWB-VU during future trips to the village.
Engineers Without Borders
The project described in this paper was conducted under the auspices of the Valparaiso University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. With its national headquarters in Colorado, Engineers Without Borders (EWB-USA) is a non-profit organization established to help people in developing areas worldwide with their engineering needs by involving, and simultaneously training, internationally responsible engineering students. EWB projects typically include the design and construction of water, wastewater, water purification, sanitation, energy, and shelter systems. Projects are initiated by, and completed with, contributions from the host community, which is then trained to operate the systems without external assistance.
Because EWB projects are intended to be self-sustaining, they are designed to be as simple as possible. Utilizing a simplistic project design facilitates the transfer of knowledge of the project construction and maintenance to the local people, who often lack even the most basic mechanical training. Additionally, the projects emphasize the use of materials that are available to the local people. This is done to simplify the maintenance of the project should replacement parts become necessary and simplify its reproduction should a nearby community desire to replicate the project. This transfer of technology to the local people and the use of locally available materials are key elements to the EWB philosophy of sustainability.
“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”
Polito, C., & Husfeld, R. (2005, June), Lessons Learned From An International Service Learning Project Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14497
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