WASHINGTON – Four smart and socially conscious engineering students are in Khartoum, Sudan to present at the Knowledge Management Capacity Conference on their grounding-breaking work to bring clean water to a village in Kenya through their work with Engineers Without Borders.
Shorma Bianca Bailey, a senior Chemical Engineering major, and the 2011 White House Champion of Change for Women and Girls in STEM recipient is leading the Howard delegation. Bailey is joined by Tena Hunter, Aleah Holt and Kristina Banks as well as faculty advisor John Tharakan, Ph.D.
“We are excited about this opportunity to showcase our work and to seek sustainable solutions that utilize appropriate technology,” Bailey said. “We are engineers and our core mission is solve problems. EWB-HU is committed to finding solutions across social, cultural and geographic boundaries.”
The team will present their paper titled Investigating the Water Quality and Quantity Issues in Choimim, Kenya. The EWB-HU members have worked on this sustainable water solution for the last three years. Choimim, a rural community of tea and cattle farmers, is about 200 miles from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The people there do not have adequate water and the shortage is dire in the dry season.
The Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs sponsored the travel to Sudan.“These young ladies are trailblazers and ambassadors,” said Barbara Griffin, Ph.D., vice president of Student Affairs. “Howard University has a growing international footprint and the work being doing by students in EWB-HU and the Freshman Leadership Academy, for example, ensure that we continue to have generations of global leaders.”
The opportunity came after the 2011 Appropriate Technology Conference held on Howard’s campus. At the conference, EWB presented their project about water sustainability in Kenya. The group also shared their research on the process and logistics behind implementing engineering solutions abroad. Participants included students from Morehouse College, the University of Maryland and Howard University. Also in attendance were faculty and staff members from Howard and visiting professors from the University of Khartoum (Sudan).
The keynote speaker, Gada Kadoda, Ph.D., spoke of her involvement and leadership with the Barefoot College, which specializes in the development of women. The program trains women to become engineers for their communities; empowering them financially, socially, and politically. Barefoot College aims to equip women with the skills to create sustainable villages through efforts such as building solar panel grids.
Because Dr. Kadoda saw sustainability as a common thread between both Engineers Without Borders and the Barefoot College, she invited the members of the Howard University chapter to be student presenters at the Workshop on Knowledge Management Capacity in Africa: Harnessing tools for development and innovation in Sudan.
This workshop is co-organized by the Garden City College for Science and Technology and the University of Khartoum in collaboration with the International Network on Appropriate Technology (INAT).
The young engineers hope to provide a foundation on how to implement international projects on sustainability, and create a partnership between the engineering program at the University of Khartoum and Howard University.