Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Summary of Our Project

Working through a stage-gate process, our team has been investigating two separate projects that have been presented to us, from the village of Patriensa in Ghana.

With the guidance of prestigious professors, Janet Ellzey Ph.D.,P.E. and James O'Connor Ph.D.,P.E., our team has been working through an intricate process of evaluating and planning an engineering project, to benefit a village of people in need.

In the village, inhabited by roughly 5,000, there is a church school that about 500 children attend, which has no access to running water. Our hope is to provide a water system, including a pump system, piping, a tank and spigots. These goals are the foundation for our overall plan of increasing sanitation in the school, which calls for clean drinking water and flush toilets. Due to time constraint, our team has broken the project up into 3 phases. After our year one initiative, any remaining goals to be met will be examined by the next year's Projects in Underserved Communities students.

Also under analysis, is the fabrication of sawdust waste into alternate fuel briquettes. The current options in Patriensa for fuel, such as coal, is costly for the low-income population,and cutting down trees, which gives way to deforestation. However, due to the technicalities that need to be thoroughly researched, only preliminary information will be obtained in this "Year 1 Phase" of the project.

Local contacts have been very informative and responsive, especially our our main contact, Pastor Kofi. He is personal friend of Dr. Dorie Gilbert, a professor at UT, who has volunteered as a liaizon for our international communication and travel.

Our team has planned for two of our members and Dr. Gilbert to gather needed information on a reconnaissance trip to Patriensa, in January.

In Spring Semester, our team will examine the:
travel information
and needed areas of expertise,
in order to go to Patriensa, in late May, and complete our Phase One goals.

The success of these said efforts is now contingent upon raising the necessary funds and finding professionals who can contribute advice about similar projects they have worked on (i.e. establishing a well system to support a tank and piping).

Because this is an initiative affiliated with the University of Texas, donations* made to the project are tax deductible!

Funding for our endeavors are to be handled by the fundraising managers from each team, under graduate student, Martha Bloem. Since the purpose of our class is to see through every detail that goes into creating a successful engineering project, funding cannot be excluded.

To raise the money needed to help our project go to fruition, the fundraising committee has been working on:

Planning Fundraising events,
Applying for grants
and pursuing corporate and private donations.

Also, we have partnered with the UT student organization Rural Enhancement through Education and Design (UT for REED) for our fundraising efforts! Currently, we are planning our music event, to take place in early December, with them. Their site is available at:

Further information and donating online can be found at this website!

On behalf of the Ghana team, we would highly appreciate technical help, details about the local area, and donations (in the form of money, airline miles, supplies and labor).

If you feel you can help out in any way and want to inquire, I can be e-mailed at:

or for Martha:

*Form of payment for a donation is subject to review by the university to determine credit for tax reimbursement.