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Entering the new year of 2014 has given us a chance to re-evaluate the progress of our student chapter and development of our program in Naluja, Zambia. Recounting the successes of 2013, we were fortunate to send a travel team to Zambia during the month of August in order to implement the Cell Phone Signal Amplification project. During that trip, we were also able to complete an assessment for the water filtration system we are working on, as well as strengthen the bond with our many friends in Naluja, Zambia. We have made great strides in project development and growing our student chapter at Boston University. It has been a time of more learning, planning, and building as we look forward to another potential trip during the summer of this year.
The preparation necessary for another trip involves more thorough project prototyping, development of education manuals for local villagers, correspondence with our NGO partners on the grounds (ZCHARD), day-to-day itinerary, equipment management, lodging, and much more. All these steps are necessary for a smooth and successfully trip. However, the two most important that come to mind are project development at BU and raising funds for sending students and mentors to Zambia. The first is essential for effectively installing the most sustainable and cost-efficient design for any particular project we are working on. Our goals for this next trip are to implement the water filtration system, monitor and improve the Yagi Antenna that was implemented last year, and continue to collaborate with our partners on any additional projects such as undergoing a more thorough health assessment.
The fundraising aspect of our organization is the second pillar that enables us to fulfill our goals and help bring development to the Naluja catchment in Zambia. With the ever-growing prices of airfare, gas, lodging, and project equipment it is always a struggle to raise the necessary funds for our trips. Therefore, we make it a priority to have fundraising events, such as Project Mailbox and our annual Silent Auction, to help with the allocation of funds for our projects and trip. Indeed, without the support from our large EWB family, comprised of several departments at BU, ZCHARD, partners, and members and their families – we would not be able to achieve all that we have done so far. Currently, we are in the midst of our Year-End Campaign – a season long effort to help our student chapter acquire the necessary funds to make this year’s trip possible and goals met. We are excited to embark on another journey of development and relations with our partners in Zambia, as we are sure that this year will also bring successes. Finishing the holiday season, we ask you to contribute to our campaign and joins us as we GEAR UP to finalize projects and plan a summer trip. Any small donation, letter of support, or technical advice has a significant impact, so we are more than happy for you to join our cause to help bring global health to some remote areas of Zambia!
Please feel free to read more on this campaign on our EWB-USA page and contact us with any questions!
Our Boston University chapter of EWB made significant progress towards raising funds for our next implementation trip after hosting a ninth annual silent auction on Thursday October 24th. This wonderful event featured many exquisite and fun items to bid on, which can be categorized into three very different categories:
Many of the items up for bidding were generously donated by corporations or restaurants from the greater Boston area. These include a discounted stay at the Hyatt Harborside hotel, the newly opened Pavement Coffee House, exhilarating passes to skyzone, and much more. The range of items auctioned and the affordable prices, made many of these appealing items to those who attended.
Boston University faculty
We were very happy to showcase delicious assortments of pastries prepared by several of the faculty at BU, who have supported our organization for many years. Their help and dedication is always appreciated as we are a growing student organization that is always looking to reach out further into the BU community.
Items from Zambia
The travel team that returned to Boston in august was able to acquire several authentic items from the local regions where our partner community is located. These include wood-carved penholders, beautiful and colorful paintings, and a fierce lion figure, among others.
Along with the bidding of the items, we were fortunate to have a guest lecture from Dr. Christopher Gill, a faculty of international health and infectious disease. He has worked on maternal health projects around Zambia for the past several years, undergoing clinical trials for improving neonatal survival in developing regions that are prone to early child mortality due to a range of diseases. His presentation focused on CGHD’s Lufwanyama Neonatal Survival Project (LUNESP), for which he was a principle investigator for, which sought to teach local birth attendants proper techniques to take precautions and treat infants to reduce neonatal mortality in the region of Zambia. This gave us a wonderful perspective on another aspect of global health development near our partner community of Naluja.
The students and professors who were able to attend and support our work in Zambia demonstrated our success at the event. Ultimately, after finalizing our finances, the $1200 we were able to raise from the event pushed us forward in our efforts in planning a third trip to Naluja, Zambia during the summer of 2014. We are currently undergoing design modifications and prototyping to determine the most applicable and sustainable water-filtration system that we will be able to implement in Zambia during the summer of 2014. Furthermore, we are looking into improving the Yagi antenna that was implemented this past August in order to maximize the impact it can have by increasing cell signal to support project Mwana and local communication.
We would like to thank all of our sponsors, companies that donated items, professors, and students in our organization for helping make this event possible and successful in moving us one step closer to our goals of improving the community health of Naluja, Zambia! We would like to note a special thank-you to Saana McDaniel and Kara LeFort, our fundraising chair, for putting all their efforts in organizing this event. We look forward to working with all of you in the future, as we continue to move forward in our partnership with the local community of Naluja, Zambia.
Making a profound impact in today’s developing world takes more than just one skill set, but rather the collaboration between groups to achieve success. In his book “The World is Flat”, Thomas Friedman vehemently claims that the world is smooth and the playing field of the world’s different countries has been flattened to a one-dimensional plane. Of course, this is just a metaphor to explain the global mechanism of today’s developing world in the twenty first century. Now are the days of increased competition for resources and knowledge. With that must come interpersonal connections and collaborations for optimal success.
The nature of Engineers Without Borders maintains a principle of multidisciplinary teamwork. Especially in our chapter at Boston University, we collaborate with a wide range of students, ranging from English majors to health professionals and mechanical engineers. As we look to make an impact on the world, currently focusing our efforts on the community of Naluja in Zambia, we must collaborate. However, the interactions do not stop here. As we move towards our goals of fulfilling humanitarian work, we must build even more “bridges” in this flattened world. Our partners in Naluja have become some of our closest allies in helping us achieve and implement our models for sustainability.
Moreover, donators and philanthropic sources are another set of people to whom we feel close to and must maintain relationships with. In order to successfully implement our projects, our multidisciplinary knowledge is not enough. The funds are needed to help us achieve and actualize our goals. As we have been discussing for the past month, the Year-End Campaign for EWB is a fantastic way for any person to become a philanthropist and take action to be part of EWB-BU’s success and change in the world. Any new teammates would be greatly appreciated, so if you are interested please check out our Year-End Campaign website. Our mind set is not limited in scope, but rather comprehensive and universal in nature as we strive to help native people ameliorate the lifestyle of their communities around the world. We are all global engineers that should unify and collectively, through collaborations, make a positive change.
We’ve been approved by Project Mailbox for a February fundraiser! As a “charity for other charities”, Project Mailbox is a new organization that was founded on Boston University’s campus. Each month it helps raise both awareness and funds for different non-profits. Luckily for us, we’re partnering with them for this month! If you’re wandering down Comm Ave, you’ll notice a red and white mailbox standing by Warren Towers that’s right outside of University Grill at 712 Commonwealth Avenue. You can drop in change, cash, or checks to support our work in Zambia! So if you find yourself jangling with spare coinage in your pockets, swing by the mailbox and drop it in! Every bit helps, and we are so excited to see the small acts of generosity total up as we roll into March. You can also donate online directly to our chapter here (just make sure you select “Boston University Chapter” under the “Allocate your funds” section!)
So, before you toss your change onto your dresser where it’ll be lost in the chaos of your room, think about swinging by 712 Comm Ave to help out the Naluja community in Zambia.
It’s all over folks! Our Silent Auction was super successful and we were so happy to see faculty, members, and students coming out to join us as we shared a little bit about what our mission is as a non-profit and our newest project in Zambia. Our spectacular faculty advisor, Professor Muhammad Zaman, gave us a peek into what engineering global development looks like and whythese projects are so important to those living in places and conditions so unlike our own.
Our Executive Team also gave a short presentation on their history and current direction as a group. An emphasis was placed on our effort to strengthen our bonds with groups like the EWB Boston Professional
Chapter and the Millennium Campus Network. Plus, the Center for Global Health and Development was recognized as a critical partner for our newest project in Zambia. However, our Co-President was quick to remind the crowd that we are a student organization made up of 19 and 20 year olds. Sowhile we may be “saving the world” we’re also trying not to take ourselves too seriously.
After the final call for bids was made, the winners were announced and we had some great prizes including a $100 Best Buy gift card and an overnight stay for two at Hotel Commonwealth. Our final tally was a $1000–that’s money we can now dedicate to funding our project! Just like every year, we could not have done this alone. The generosity of our donor
s and supporters never ceases to humble us: Saana McDaniel, our mentor and cheerleader as we planned this event and took a few risks, the BU Engineering Alumni Office who was kind enough to add us to their Alumni Weekend events, and all of the guests who attended to hear a little more about us. Finally, we’d liketo recognize our Treasurer and Silent Auction Chair, Grace Wang, who dedicated hours and hours to the planning of this event. From the catering menu to the background music, she did an incredible job–way to go! We’re so excited for next year and we hope to see you all there!
We’ve been horribly negligent in updating this, but we’re back and ready to renew our blog’s web presence. Hopefully, you haven’t completely forgotten us
To get you up to speed:
We closed our project in Peru and are working to open a new program. Students from the BU School of Public Health continue to work with the community and were just finishing up some more health surveys this past spring. For our newest program, we’ve been building connections with clinics in the Mazabuka district of Zambia via the Center for Global Health & Development (CGHD) and its local representative the Zambia Center for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD).
CGHD has started a pilot program in these rural Mazabuka district clinics to speed up the transmission of infant HIV/AIDS test results from dried blot spot (DBS) tests. By using SMS messaging, 1-3 weeks of waiting time can be trimmed. This means a quicker turnaround for a treatment plan, and acts as an incentive for mothers to return to the clinics for post natal care while their test results are arriving. The problem is cell phone reception. Because the clinics are rural the reception is very weak and unreliable. If we could offer a method to increase the reception, this program would be much more successful and relevant.
We are extremely excited at the prospect of collaborating with ZCAHRD. However, we still need to work with EWB-USA to be sure our project matches their mission and gets approved. Until then, we cannot ‘officially’ start any work on a project.
While we continue to work through the red tape and talk with national, our technical lead, Saeed, has been working to find a mentor on our campus with knowledge of cell phone reception.
The next item on our agenda is to throw our Annual Silent Auction Reception. This will be held on Thursday, October 27 at 6 pm on Boston University’s campus. We’d love to have all of our supporters turn out, so save the date!
Boston University-EWB Executive Board