Backtalk 12/09/2010

Rainwater-harvesting system
The Engineers Without Borders Portland Professionals Chapter (EWB) lent a hand to the people of Lashaine Village, Tanzania, by overseeing the expansion of a rainwater harvester and installing an expanded solar-energy unit at Orkeeswa Secondary School. Both were built and operated by the Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania (IEFT). The IEFT, which opened the school in April of 2008, plans on expanding school facilities and accepting additional classes until they reach the full build-out in 2013.

A 60,000-liter ferrocement tank was added to the existing 60,000-liter harvester. The tanks will be supplemented with a biosand filter, which treats collected rainwater, and a pipeline to deliver water directly to the school’s kitchen. EWB partnered with Chloride Exide Ltd. to expand the 160-W solar-power unit Chloride Exide donated the year before. The expanded 1,080-W plant can now power the entire school — classrooms, staff offices, and a newly constructed science lab, as well as a future library and computer lab.

“It was great to see how all of our efforts over the past year have come to fruition,” said Brad Ostapkowicz, EWB travel team member. “You gain a lot of perspective when you are in direct contact with the students who EWB projects are helping. It also gives us incentive to keep working through the coming year; knowing the students will be progressing in their studies, in part, due to the sustainable sources of water and electricity we helped provide.”

For more information on the IEFT or EWB-IEFT Partnership, visit or

© 2010 Penton Media, Inc.

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