ETHOS wrapped up this summer with successful trip for 28 students to 11 different countries around the world. ETHOS was excited to send students to Kenya, Ethiopia, and Malawi for the first time. The 28 ETHOS immersion students enjoyed experiencing new cultures while getting hands on learning with different appropriate technologies. Some of the technologies students worked on this summer included water systems, solar cookers, water deposits, water filters, stoves, solar PV panels, and more.
ETHOS also enjoyed their ongoing 10 day Breakout trip to Nicaragua with a group of 15 students and two professors in May. The Breakout group got a taste of a full summer immersion trip by living with host families in Sabana Grande, Nicaragua and by getting hands on construction with solar cookers, solar powered battery chargers, and a solar PV panel installation.
2009 finished as another successful summer for the ETHOS program! 27 participants traveled to 11 locations in 9 different countries. Some of the highlights this year included the addition of two Asian placements as well as a domestic placement right here in the USA. The ETHOS teams worked for 10 weeks with our host organizations and lived with host families!
The ETHOS 2009 group worked on a variety of appropriate technology projects including: water systems in Cameroon, roof structures in Togo, wood stoves in Guatemala, solar auto-claves and solar PV panels in Nicaragua, industrial stoves and dryers in Bolivia, computer systems in Peru, water purification systems in Bangladesh, wood stoves in India, and solar ovens in North Carolina! Students returned from their trips safely and with new perspectives on engineering. Please see our Success Stories and Media link for pictures and reflections of the ETHOS experience from our 2009 participants!
The ETHOS Breakout trip in May hosted 13 students for a 10-day immersion trip in Nicaragua with our partner organization Grupo Fenix. The students lived with host families and were introduced to Nicaraguan culture and appropriate technologies in rural Sabana, Grande. Be sure to check out our ETHOS Breakout link to hear first-hand how the students enjoyed their ETHOS experience!
Barombi Water Project:
Justin Forzano traveled to Kumba, Cameroon in 2006 as the first ETHOS intern to set foot on the African continent. During this summer he worked for various organizations as well as evaluated possible placements for ETHOS. In 2007 he returned with three fellow civil engineers Liz Kovalak, Mark Ewalt, and Hayley Ryckman, who were equally inspired by the engineering opportunities in this vast and impoverished continent. They visited a small village, Barombi, on the other side of a lake dividing them from the larger city of Kumba. The students learned that during the rainy season the stream near the village supplied water to the community, but in the dry season they were forced to walk and retrieve water from the nearby lake. Because of this water borne illnesses were prevalent in the community. During the last weeks of the summer, the Cameroon team performed a site assessment from a stream 1.5 km from the village as a possible source to supply the village’s water needs.
Throughout the 2007/08 school year the team prepared to return to Barombi village by creating a civil engineering class specific to water systems in rural areas headed up by Dr. Denise Taylor in Civil Engineering. The team also picked up two more civil engineers Katie Burgei and Marissa Dolle. Throughout both semesters, this six person team studied and designed both a water system specific to the situation in Barombi, as well as point of use filters that families in the community could use to clean their water within their own homes. On top of all this the team generated an astounding $20,000 through grant writing, presenting to professional societies, and asking for donations from family and friends.
In the summer of 2008 ETHOS civil engineers Justin, Liz, Mark, Hayley, Kaite, and Marissa headed back to Barombi with $20,000, a design, and a dream. What they accomplished was nothing short of success. From the catchment to the point of use filters, the team accomplished everything they had hoped. Of course none of these successes could have been possible without the volunteered time and labor given by the villagers, but the team of engineers proved that 6 students could inspire and change the lives of this small community in southwest Cameroon. The final day came and the village had a celebration and anointed the students as members of their tribe. They turned the valves at the distribution stations and out it came… water!
Solar Autoclave Project:
In the summer of 2006, ETHOS student, Lori Hanna, did an ETHOS service-learning internship with Grupo Fenix in Sabana Grande, Nicaragua. While working with Grupo Fenix, she identified the need for more convenient methods to sterilize medical equipment in rural clinics that often lacked electricity. One alternative identified by Lori was a solar autoclave. She brought the idea back to campus and was encouraged to pursue this idea through class projects in several of her classes. Furthermore, she was provided the opportunity to do some of the background research and modeling as part of her under undergraduate thesis. A bulk of the design and development work was done through the two semester capstone design course that is facilitated through UD’s Design Clinic. Here Lori joined with four additional students on this project sponsored by the ETHOS program. The design was developed with the input and assistance of the head nurse of a medical clinic in Nicaragua and international partner, Grupo Fenix.
A business plan for transferring the technology to develop a micro-business in the Nicaraguan community was developed as part of UD Business Plan Competition which is run through UD’s School of Business Administration. The solar sterilizer business plan team, Salud del Sol, consisted of two undergraduate engineering students and two undergraduate business students. The engineering students that were part of this team included Lori and another member of the Design Clinic project team, Dan Hensel. The business students included Anna Young and Lauren Dokes. The business plan was developed with input from the local community as well as from representatives from Grupo Fenix, to market solar cookers and solar-powered sterilizers and to set up companies in Nicaraguan villages to produce the equipment. Salud del Sol was established as a nonprofit business which aimed at bringing the "health from the sun" to medical treatment in developing countries. The Salud del Sol team pitched their business plan to a panel of judges in April of 2008 and placed first in the BPC, giving the students approximately $10,000 to invest in this micro-business. The students plan to initiate this venture in the summer of 2008.
The Bolivia Project:
The Bolivia Project started when Ruth Whitfield of Cedesol and then ETHOS undergraduate participant, Mike Vehar, discussed the need to subsidize the cost of solar ovens in communities in Bolivia. It was the goal of this project to help make the solar ovens affordable to the poor people to help prevent health problems associated with indoor air pollution and burns from cooking with biomass, to cut down on deforestation and the associated land erosion and to help reduce carbon emissions resulting from cooking with biomass. Mike Vehar with the assistance of Collin Whelley initiated a fund raising project that included creating a promotional video and seeking donations from family, friends and local businesses who were so generous with their support.
While in Bolivia, Mike and Collin with help from Chris Phillips worked with Sobre la Roca to prepare material, facilitated cooking demonstrations and courses to raise awareness and teach the people in Bolivia about the advantages of cooking with the sun, and how to manufacture and use a solar cooker. Through this project, the student were able to raise enough money to subsidize half of the cost of the solar cookers for 360 families, bringing the price of these cookers down from 50 dollars to 25 dollars.