“Engineers Without Borders”

By: Maureen Connelly

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is an organization that creates sustainable engineering solutions for communities in need across the globe. My EWB story begins in the Gulu District of Northern Uganda.

As a member of the Notre Dame chapter of EWB for 3 years, I have become very passionate about their mission, and want to do my part to contribute to their growth and influence. After learning about the involvement of Notre Dame Global Development with Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach-Uganda (BOSCO-Uganda), I knew the communities in Gulu would benefit from the introduction of an EWB program as well.

The purpose of my travel was to identify problems faced by the community, and assist with the community-submitted application to become an official EWB program.

Through collaboration with Akiteng Stella (Project Coordinator for BOSCO-Uganda) we found the Coope Information ICT center fit the criteria for a successful program. The Coope community has struggled since 2007 to keep a permanent residence for their ICT center, but have been donated land for such a purpose. With support from EWB, and collaboration with the Bardege ICT for Education & Research Centre-Bardege Division, Tam Pi Diki Child & Youth Support Organization in Bungatira Sub County, and the Acholi Muslim District-Layibi Division, the community will be able to construct a permanent center on this land.

This ICT center will be open to all members of the communities to learn basic ICT skills (such as internet, Microsoft Office, and other computer software). It will also act as a central point for livelihood activities for the community, and will be a vital resource to mobilize the youth in the area and encourage them to become social advocates for themselves.

One of the most important aspects of EWB is sustainability. To this extent, all programs must be largely community driven to ensure success and future development. The Coope community has proven their determination for this project, and I am excited to see the benefits this new ICT building will bring for them in years to come.

I am very excited that I will be able to leave after my short 10-day trip having helped to complete and submit their application. Upon approval by EWB, the program will be open for a chapter to adopt, and collaborative efforts will begin between BOSCO-Uganda, EWB, and the Coope community.

This project will enhance the lives of this community, and I am very glad that EWB will be able to assist them with their future development.

For more information on the Coope community and/or Engineers Without Borders please visit the following sites: http://coope-information-centre.bosco-uganda.wikispaces.net/www.ewb-usa.org

(Special thanks to Father Joe and the BOSCO-Uganda staff, Akiteng Stella, Patrick Murphy from Notre Dame Global Development, and the Notre Dame College of Engineering for making this trip possible)

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Stella and I hard at work on the 501 application for program approval

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BOSCO and EWB Collaboration

Coope Information Centre

The room (right) previously used to house the ICT center in Coope

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About sakiteng

Stella is originally from Kumi District, North Eastern Uganda. I enjoy taking advantage of every opportunity to learn towards positive development. I love traveling; nature, art & craft; and I am a fun of country music. I am currently pursing a Masters of Arts Specialisation in Communications from Atlantic International University, US State of Hawaii. I have an Honours Bachelors Degree in Arts (Arts) majoring in Communication Skills and English language studies; acquired from Makerere University. The several years of practicing social work have earned me experience and a series of trainings on Child Protection, Youth HIV/AIDS & Reproductive Health, Refugees & Internally Displaced People, Leadership & Management, Forum Theatre, Networking & Correspondence to mention but a few. I am also able to use participatory methodologies like:- (1) Forum Theatre, an interactive theatre for development that evokes emotions & promotes active participation of the communities/spect-actors in providing possible solutions to the problems affecting them thus holding their destiny in their hands; (2) The Youth Cooperation Programme (YCP) that incorporates work camps (Short term volunteer projects), advocacy, intercultural cooperation, information & documentation, capacity building and poverty alleviation. Altogether, this has enhanced my abilities in building the capacities of others through Training, Facilitation, and Mentoring.
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4 Responses to “Engineers Without Borders”

  1. Peter 'Ladiro' Havrilla says:

    I am happy to hear this, and hope that Coope will soon get the support they deserve.

  2. Ashlee says:

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep
    it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future.
    Cheers

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