Cameron McKenzie, 2019, Chemical and Biological Engineering

The Princeton University Engineers Without Borders Kenya team is beginning their fourth year working with communities in the Kuria West district, in the southwestern region of Kenya. The team’s mission is to provide sources of readily accessible, potable water to their partner communities. Over the duration of the program, we have designed and implemented three rainwater catchment systems—two in the village of Muchebe and one in the village of Komosoko. The rainwater catchment systems direct rainfall onto the roof of community buildings through a filtration system and into storage tanks, where it is readily available to local people. The rainwater catchment systems that have been implemented by the Kenya team provide 187,500 liters of water storage capacity in total. The team has also worked to teach each community about good maintenance and water management practices that will allow them to preserve their current water sources. Each rainwater catchment system is partially purchased by the community, and locals provide much of the construction labor. A committee of locals is responsible for the sustainability of the project, ensuring that they feel a sense of ownership over their systems.