The Global Brigades is an organisation that identifies communities where there is a lack of basic needs around the world. To address these needs, they rely on volunteers from universities around the world to help implement solutions in order to alleviate the existing issues. The Jack Petchey Foundation supported three University College of London (UCL) students, Eva Bianchi, Sayid Salim and Hicham Ameur, with an Individual Grant for Volunteering to help cover the costs of their volunteer work. This allowed them to volunteer in Nicaragua with the Global Brigades and undertake vital projects within the community.
The brigade consisted of 16 volunteers from UCL who collaborated with 10 volunteers from San Diego State University. The community that emerged from these diverse volunteers was at the core of their experience. Dynamic relationships were formed as volunteers got to know new people, working together towards a common goal. The group were involved in building a hybrid pump-gravity system that would transport water from a nearby water source to a holding tank in the community. From here a distribution network was installed to provide water to each of the households in the community.
When they first arrived, Eva, Sayid, Hicham and the other volunteers were trained in how to use the work tools they would need and the safety procedures of the water system. They were then given detailed information of the project stages and were provided with their individual work assignments. Then their work really began! The group dug 252 metres of trenches that were 3 feet deep and 15 inches wide. They then continued to install an incredible 252 metres of pipes to fill the length of the trenches. Once they had finished this; they moved onto the construction on three Public Health Projects; the construction of a septic tank, the mixing and laying of a concrete floor and the construction of a sanitary unit. These projects had an incredible impact on the La Coreneta community of Nicaragua, giving 93 families easy and reliable access to clean drinking water.
Eva, one of the volunteers that the Jack Petchey Foundation supported in this project said; “This project really comforted me in my career goals. I had always been drawn towards volunteering as an engineering student, and seeing the gratitude the locals have towards us is one of the best feelings. You can feel how important this project is to them. It is not about building a new cutting-edge bridge or a super-fast Tube, but it is really about enabling people to have access to things that are considered standards in Europe. This includes having access to water you can safely drink without being scared of getting sick.... Thanks to Global Brigades, I now know exactly what I want to use my engineering skills for.”
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