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Oct. 27, 2015

MSU students working on rainwater containment project in Tanzania

A team of Michigan State University engineering students who are assisting in the building of a rainwater containment system at a school in Tanzania has received a $25,000 grant to support the work.

The funding comes from the 2015 Ford College Community Challenge and will assist the student group Engineers Without Borders at MSU with the project.

EWB-MSU is one of 10 student-led sustainability projects in this year’s $250,000 challenge. The Ford C3 grants are part of more than $1.7 million in new and ongoing global educational investments by the Ford Fund, which contributes more than $8 million annually in scholarships, grants and other initiatives.

The students are working with a community in Buyuni, Tanzania, to design and build a rainwater collection system at an elementary school currently under construction.

The school, which is being built and will be run by the Salvatorian Sisters of Tanzania, is expected to grow to more than 500 students in the next few years.

The system is expected to reduce the demand on the local water well and provide safe and affordable drinking water during the dry season.

Four students from EWB-MSU and two professional mentors will travel to Tanzania in December for an assessment trip and to build relationships with the community. The results of this assessment will allow EWB-MSU to update the design of the rainwater catchment system to best meet the needs of the school.

The group will then return next summer to build the system and complete the project.

Ford C3 recognizes colleges and universities for utilizing school resources and student participation to address an urgent community need under the theme: Building Sustainable Communities.

MSU’s chapter of EWB is a student organization that works to implement sustainable engineering designs in developing countries. It currently has projects in El Salvador and Tanzania. It also hosts Alternative Spring Break projects and volunteers locally.

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By: Tom Oswald

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