Jessica Luo, 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Kenya team of the Princeton University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders is working on providing clean, accessible drinking water to the residents in the community of Muchebe, Kenya. As part of a five-year commitment to the local community, our team helped design and build a 67,500L rainwater catchment system that harvested water from the roof of Muchebe Primary School. This project involved installing gutters along the roofs, laying pipes around the school and excavating a pit for our storage tanks. We worked alongside community members in building the system out of locally available materials. Additionally, we taught them both how to maintain the system and also how to develop better sanitation. This trip was an immensely valuable chance for us to learn about international development challenges as well as ways to run a sustainable engineering program within a community. Looking forward, we hope that by raising awareness of the risks of poor hygiene and waterborne illnesses, community members will encourage others to share proper sanitary practices. This will, in turn, allow the members of the community to be healthier and thus be able to work and go to school.