For this year’s “Penetron International’s Fall 2014 EWB-USA Grant Award Contest,” Penetron carefully selected three extraordinary projects that provide clean water access to remote rural villages in East Africa and Central America. Voting was done on the Penetron Facebook site and closed on Tuesday, November 11th. All three projects are managed by Engineers Without Borders USA; the winning project will receive a grant from Penetron.
Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that supports community-driven development programs worldwide, through partnerships that design and implement sustainable engineering projects. EWB-USA’s vision is a world in which the communities they serve have the capacity to sustainably meet their basic human needs. Today, more than two billion people lack access to the most basic necessities – clean drinking water, adequate sanitation, reliable passage to local markets and more. EWB-USA’s projects create transformative experiences that enrich global perspectives and promote responsible leaders.
Penetron has supported EWB-USA chapters in various ways for the last seven years. This year’s grant contest reached out to the college community and general public to help increase awareness and select a winner from three deserving finalists:
Tufts University/Shilongo, Uganda – create a single borehole for a community of 2,300 to provide additional drinking water; the current single hand-operated pump causes long wait times. EWB-USA is implementing an automatic pumping system to allow up to four people to fill up their jugs at once, drastically reducing wait times (final stage of a five-year project).
University of Minnesota/Xiquin Sanahi, Guatemala – the community relies on a deteriorating water distribution system that makes multiple daily trips necessary to get enough water. The project will replace and upgrade the pipeline to increase water flow and build a new storage tank with a gravity-fed distribution system to every household for year-round access to potable water.
Rice University/Sadrach Zeledon, Nicaragua – this small barrio of 1,200 people currently has no access to potable water and relies on water from weekly water trucks; this is often unsanitary, leading to frequent illnesses. EWB-USA is implementing a system to pump water from an existing national water pipeline to multiple storage tanks (with a day’s reserve of water) that feeds water to spigots outside each home for access to potable water.
And the winner is…
While all three candidates will receive grant funding, this year’s winning project – for a new water pumping system at the Shilongo village in Uganda by the EWB-USA Tufts University Chapter – was a clear favorite among voters at the Penetron Facebook page, winning by a margin of over 200 votes.
“We are very excited to be named the winners of Penetron International’s Fall 2014 EWB-USA grant award contest. Our team has put a lot of time and effort into this project over the past couple years,” said Aaron Forrest, who served as Uganda Project Co-Leader with Emily Gosselin. “After spending most of the group funds during our two implementation trips this past year, this grant is very important in allowing us to return to Shilongo Village to strengthen our relationship with the community and ensure our clean water access system is working for them.”
“Using sustainable technology and engineering know-how reflects the Penetron philosophy,” adds Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “Congratulations to all the chapters and the students’ efforts to help bring sustainable engineering solutions to the communities in need.”
The Penetron Group is a leading manufacturer of specialty construction products for concrete waterproofing, concrete repairs and floor preparation systems. The Group operates through a global network, offering support to the design and construction community through its regional offices, representatives and distribution channels.