Africa’s Water Struggle: Small People, Big Help

It is still an ongoing battle for Africa and the philanthropists involved with the country’s struggle in providing clean and accessible water for the masses. Water has always been an issue in Africa. In first world or developing countries, a simple twist of a faucet will provide clean water. In Africa, people fall in line to get their water supply replenish from water pumps. And they do this almost, if not, every day.

Making a Difference

While there are a lot of large organizations and powerful individuals that has made it their mission to give a helping hand to the people of Africa, there are also the little guys who also make a big difference.

Last month, civil and environmental engineering students, both graduate and undergraduate, had traveled to Kenya and Uganda as a class trip. During their visit they have applied what they’ve learned to provide aid with regards to water and sanitation.

Their stay helped them identify the needs and struggles of the community, and providing what help they can offer. They’ve visited clinics, as well as tested the sanitation of water in wells and other large sources of water.

Led by environmental and civil engineering professor Benito Marinas, he felt that having the students experience Africa’s water and sanitation problems firsthand may developed their skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. Also, having the opportunity to interact with the community is also vital for future recommendations and finding faster solutions as the people can provide other information about their current water and sanitation issues.

And the professor was right, as voiced by Gabrielle Levato, an Engineering senior. The senior stated that she really got to apply the knowledge she learned in class. “Being able to visit the homes of the people we are designing for is extremely beneficial to our future design and what we recommend in the end,” she added.

One of the places that had been visited by these students was Oruchinga. Throughout their stay they’ve discovered that the refugees in this area were using collapsed latrines due to the low quality of soil. They’ve also gone to the Nakuru Deflouridation Company and took water samples from Lake Baringo to be analyze.

The Long Term Effect

Professor Marinas’ field trip is a valuable aid for Africa’s communities and the students alike. As these students graduate and eventually join other engineers in their respective field, they’ll have more experienced with regards to helping a communities – third or first world countries alike – overcome difficulty in water and sanitation dilemmas.

This trip is also vital in encouraging the philanthropic side of the students, nurturing their love for the country and the African people, and hopefully continues on what they’ve started.

Marinas stated that the students still continues to cooperate with the Uganda Rural Community Support Foundation, as well as the Safe Global Water Institute.

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