Environmental engineering staffer Mary Lou Romero (Walnut Creek) and the San Francisco Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) successfully completed the drilling of a well to provide clean, safe water to the Masara community in western Kenya, a community of 3,700 where household income is $10 per month and a cholera outbreak struck in 2014.
Romero is the Kenya team project manager.
Romero, Kenya team project manager, said this success in Masara was set up when the San Francisco Chapter had worked with the Arombe community in Kenya, near Masara, to provide clean water for six years. Bringing the same experience to Masara entailed monitoring three community wells in Arombe to make sure they were functioning. Since EWB’s installation of these three wells, there have been no cholera outbreaks.
There was also a large educational aspect to the chapter’s far journey. Many other communities and the Kenyan local and state government became aware of EWB’s work in Masara, reaching out to partner with EWB for future work. Additionally, schools in the area asked the team members, who are mostly female, to come speak to the children about the importance of education and encourage the girls to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. The team also visited a nearby community, Lela, to assess their request for wells. Since the team’s return to San Francisco, they have agreed to work with the community of Lela to provide two wells.
The team is hitting the ground running preparing for the new project but still, much more work is yet to be done in Kenya, Romero said.
“Infrastructure projects revolving around access to clean water are making a big difference in the daily lives of these communities in Kenya. The San Francisco EWB team is motivated to form more partnerships and continue empowering these communities to sustain these projects long-term,” Romero said. “Seeing the impact of clean water support on a global scale makes me very proud to be part of a company that supports organizations such as EWB and Water For People.”