Engineers Without Borders Installs Solar Systems in Burkina Faso

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Front row: in-country contact M. L'Abbé Thomas Hien and Professor Jungho Kim; Second row, L to R: Thierry Some (ME), Tammy Perrin (EE), Jaganath Sankaran (Masters in Engineering and Public Policy), Leonard Goff (Physics), Maria Stoica (EE); Third row, L to R: Jason Lee (MBA), Christen Hartnett (MBA), Jason West (Aerospace, EWB team leader), Bob Hayes (ME).

The University of Maryland chapter of Engineers Without Borders visited the west African country of Burkina Faso in early January to install eleven solar panels and lighting systems in village schools surrounding the town of Dissin. The installation of the sustainable energy sources will enable evening classroom activities, community meetings and other gatherings for the Burkinabé citizens. This tour follows up on a project evaluation trip conducted a year ago.

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jungho Kim accompanied the team as a faculty advisor to the student volunteers, most of whom were from the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Other students were from the Department of Physics and the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Civil Engineering Associate Professor David Lovell also joined the tour to assess future projects that will automate the public water pumping process for storage in a tank.

To show their gratitude for the efforts of the team, village elders presented them with six live chickens, a live pheasant, one bag of onions, and lot of memories for their efforts.

Other campus Engineers Without Borders projects include improving water sanitation in Ecuador, advised by Mechanical Engineering faculty Elias Balaras; potable water and irrigation enhancements in Thailand, advised by Civil Engineering faculty Deborah Goodings; and the improvement of potable water availability in Brazil, a project advised by Peter Chang from Civil Engineering.

* Thumbnail image by Elisabeth Smela

Published February 1, 2008