Detroit Professional Chapter

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Our vision is a world in which every community has the capacity to sustainably meet their basic human needs. Your financial support makes this vision a reality!

The Detroit Professional Chapter currently have four international projects - two in El Balsamar, El Salvador and two in Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua.

El Balsamar, El Salvador: Sanitation Project

The Detroit Professional Chapter, in partnership with our Michigan State University student chapter, is planning for our final monitoring and evaluation trip this coming New Year (Jan 2018).  This will be the final stage and close-out for the five year project focused on implementing 30 composting latrines in the community of El Balsamar, El Salvador. 

 

Over the past 18 months we've been able to travel on three separate occasions to implement, monitor/evaluate, and finalize our promise of improving sanitation in the homes of the community.  Each trip has provided us the opportunity to improve the project design as well as build our expertise in international development work.  On our trips we've investigated the success of technology transfer and seeing how the composting latrines function under the ownership of individual families. Our travel teams of professionals and students have mixed concrete by hand, practiced building structural rebar grids, and are all bricklaying journeyman with CMU blocks.  With the mentorship of the Detroit Professionals, the Michigan State University students developed a testing procedure to evaluate how well the composting latrines are breaking down harmful pathogens. Each trip has also given the team the opportunity to practice Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) education outreach to preK - 8th grade children of the community...and some of our rusty Spanish speaking skills!

 
El Balsamar, El Salvador: Grey Water Project
 
We have been approved for a new project in the community of El Balsamar, El Salvador this past September. Earlier this year, the community residents of El Balsamar voiced a concern on wastewater disposal, understanding that downstream residents and the greater municipality could be affected by upstream pollution. With the help of their resident non-government organization, GAIA, El Balsamar and the EWB Detroit Professionals will focus on assessing the affect of home wastewater disposal on the El Balsamar watershed. Specifically, members of EWB Detroit will be travelling to El Balsamar this December to perform an initial survey of wastewater disposal and to map likely affected natural water systems. The Detroit Professionals will utilize gathered preliminary data for a comprehensive assessment trip slated for Spring 2018. It is the direct support of our sponsors that allows DPC to confidently plan trips such as these, and, in turn, directly impact the communities we serve.
 
Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua: Sanitation Project
 
In March 2017, EWB Detroit Chapter completed the Assessment trip for the Nicaragua Sanitation Project in the community of Laguna de Apoyo which included 8 members in the travel team. This Assessment trip was needed to gather community input of the EWB proposed sanitation alternatives and gather site information from the community including GPS info for mapping. Trip preparations included the development of literature and images that described some of the most commonly used sanitation improvements available.
 
 
During the visit, the community  members were interviewed by team members with local and NGO support. We discussed existing sanitation practices and reviewed potential options that EWB Detroit could implement for the community. The next portion of the data gathered at the community members location was GPS coordinates and images of existing wells, sanitation and dwelling.  This information has been uploaded into an ESRI mapping application and can be referenced with images for future use during design and implementation. The interviews conducted by the EWB Detroit Chapter during the visit concluded the most desired solution would be a composting toilet. This solution was endorsed by community members.
 
The current progress in the project includes completion of the Alternatives Analysis report which will require approval from the EWB National Board prior to implementation. Additionally, EWB Detroit is working with the local NGO and local community members in obtaining permits for implementation. The implementation phase of the project is expected to be 25 latrines at total cost in the range of $40,000.00. 
 
Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua: Water Project
 
EWB Detroit has completed an initial assessment that identified multiple concerns with drinking water in the community. The major concerns identified are shallow wells with high bacteria and arsenic levels in the community's drinking water. The next stage of the project has progressed through the Alternative Analysis step; which is the overall review of the identified concerns, the development of the best alternatives, and cost for implementing the different solutions. The Alternative Analysis report has been submitted and reviewed by the EWB National Board and has been approved. This approved solution is to drill a well deep enough to reach the local aquifer and is the most sustainable for the communities drinking water problems. EWB Detroit has been working closely with the local NGO and community members to implement the well solution.
Drilling the well will cost approximately $100,000. 
 

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