What works in water supply and sanitation projects in developing countries with EWB-USA.
| ID: mdl-26812847
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports some progress on the global problem of a lack of improved water and sanitation. Between 1990 and 2012, the number of people that gained improved access to improved drinking water reached 2.3 billion people, while the number of children that have died from diarrheal diseases has fallen from 1.5 million deaths to just above 600,000 deaths (1, 2). However, it is estimated that there are still 1.8 billion people using a fecally contaminated source of drinking water (3). In addition, 748 million people continue to lack clean water, 1 billion continue to practice open defecation, and 2.5 billion people still lack adequate sanitation (3). In response to this global issue, Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) began with a mission to build a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world's most pressing challenges. Their 15,000+ members work with communities to find appropriate solutions to improve water supply, sanitation, energy, agriculture, civil works and structures. Their development approach is based on standard engineering methodology, including problem identification, assessment, alternatives analysis, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. EWB-USA began in 2002 and currently has members working in over 40 countries around the world. The majority of their work is focused in Latin America and Africa, but their programs are expanding to Asia and the Pacific Basin. Currently, EWB-USA members are working in 17 programs in six countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Nepal, and Fiji. Success in these programs is defined by measuring overall impact and learning from failure. Impact is measured through Standard Monitoring Indicators and learning is accomplished by documenting failures and lessons learned. Through this work, the organization has impacted 2.5 million lives through primarily water supply and sanitation projects by focusing on sustainable engineering solutions, community-education, capacity building, and appropriate technologies and local resources.