Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh—Building a Better World

Engineers Without Borders USA  is a non-profit humanitarian organization that partners with developing communities, both international and domestic, to implement projects that improve their quality of life. Projects mainly fall into water supply, civil works, sanitation, agriculture, energy, and structures. There are 16,800 members and 290 chapters in the United States working in 42 countries.

“Poverty is not about weakness. For the 800 million people who go hungry each day, poverty is an absence of opportunity.”

Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh Professional Chapter

Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh Professional Chapter

Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh Professional Chapter (EWB-PPC) has approximately 25 members comprised of engineers, health care workers, business professionals, and university professors who are passionate about improving the lives of others. Currently, EWB-PPC has international projects in Ecuador, Haiti, and Panama, and one domestic project in Pittsburgh’s Southside neighborhood. EWB‑PPC’s mission is to empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh—Supplying Potable Water to Tingo Pucara, Ecuador

EngineersWithoutBorders_01In 2012, EWB-PPC completed a water supply project with Tingo Pucara, Ecuador to provide potable water to each household. Since the project’s completion, the community has experienced significant quality of life improvements. For example, residents no longer have to spend 20 hours per week, per household to collect water. The new water system affords children with a resource for better hygiene, which could have lasting benefits for their health and well-being. In addition, the community has built a hostel with a bathroom and shower, constructed a trout farm, and purchased a tractor used to provide farming services to neighboring communities.

Personal Experience in Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh

I have been involved with EWB since 2010 in multiple roles. I previously served as President of PPC and currently, I serve as Membership Coordinator; Responsible Engineer-in-Charge for the Curingue, Ecuador Project; and Technical Team Member for the Southside Esser Plaza Project. In October, I will make my seventh trip to the Cotopaxi Province in Ecuador in the Andes Mountains.

Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh—Trip Roles and Responsibilities

On the EWB-PPC trips, I served multiple roles: identifying locations for the water supply facilities, supervising construction of water supply facilities, training water system caretakers on operations and maintenance, participating (via a translator) in community water committee planning meetings, and troubleshooting water supply system problems. Unrelated to work, rewarding experiences abound—like having a “goddaughter” in the community, making s’mores for and playing soccer with the children, and having the honor to turn on water for the first time at an elderly widow’s home.

EWB membership offers unique opportunities to make a difference in the everyday lives of people using engineering training, and it provides rewarding personal experiences that may not be possible at an everyday engineering job. To learn more about Engineers Without Borders Pittsburgh Professional Chapter, please contact Assistant Engineering Manager Craig Johnston, PE at 412.476.2000, or visit http://ewb-pitt.org/.

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