Engineers Without Borders-USA: Columbia University Student Chapter // Morocco Program

About Us

Our program is comprised of passionate students committed to improving lives abroad through creative and sustainable engineering solutions.

The Columbia University chapter of Engineers Without Borders aims to address the problems facing people both locally and overseas by leveraging the skills, talents, and passions of Columbia University students and the sponsorships formed with our organization. Our members come from many different arts, sciences, and engineering backgrounds, who collectively share a desire to do meaningful work and make a difference.

The chapter currently consists of three programs in Ghana, Uganda, and Morocco. The Ghana program, which started in 2004, used to work in the semi-urban town of Sakyikrom but now focuses on water management in the farming community of Obodan. In 2008, the Uganda program was established to install a Multi-Function Energy Platform in the Soroti region. The Morocco program, which began in 2011, finished building a bridge in the rural community of Ait Bayoud in June 2013 and is now and is now working on providing safe and easily accessible drinking water directly to the communities of Izgouaren and Ilguiloda through a water sourcing and distribution system. Each project draws from the skills of its members to provide technical solutions to worldwide problems.

Bridge Project

Ait Bayoud, a rural Moroccan community in the Essaouira region, experiences seasonal flooding of its central Tagawowt river that disrupts access to the local health clinic, school, and markets for hundreds of residents.

The Morocco program of Columbia's EWB-USA chapter began in 2011 when Nina Morency-Brassard, a Columbia alumna and Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Ait Bayoud, reached out to our chapter with a collaborative project proposal.

To address this issue, a team consisting of Columbia students as well as a U.S. Army Corps Engineers visited Izgouaren in January 2014 and began to assess the dwar's needs, the river conditions, and Ait Bayoud's current water sourcing status. We sent one additional assessment travel team in the summer of 2014 to measure the flow rate of multiple springs and the river near Izgouaren, to determine a piping path to transport water to the dwars, and to perform water quality tests on the sources of water. Using the information collected during the two assessment trips, the winter 2015 team returned and successfully constructed a shallow well along the river.

Since then, we have installed 1,500 meters of piping out of the total 3,200 meters needed to complete the pipeline. In the past few trips our teams have focused on building a temporary water distribution site, along with testing both the pipes that we have laid down so far and the water quality. Our piping team continues to analyze the best ways to prevent future leakages in the pipeline and make the system as efficient and sustainable as possible. .

Water Project

The members of Izgouaren, one of a series of dwars or neighborhood clusters that make up Ait Bayoud, spend up to 4 hours a day walking to get water.

While assessing the community of Ait Bayoud during her Peace Corps Service, Nina noticed another pressing issue to the quality of life.

Ait Bayoud consists of a series of dwars, or neighborhood clusters, that are staggered along the river. Izgouaren, a dwar isolated on a raised plateau, suffers from limited access to water. Every day, families walk back and forth down to the river to gather water from a nearby spring, spending about an hour per trip and making up to 3 trips a day.

To address this issue, a team consisting of Columbia students as well as a U.S. Army Corps Engineers visited Izgouaren in January 2014 and began to assess the dwar's needs, the river conditions, and Ait Bayoud's current water sourcing status. We sent one additional assessment travel team in the summer of 2014 to measure the flow rate of multiple springs and the river near Izgouaren, to determine a piping path to transport water to the dwars, and to perform water quality tests on the sources of water. Using the information collected during the two assessment trips, the winter 2015 team returned and successfully constructed a shallow well along the river.

Since then, we have installed 1,500 meters of piping out of the total 3,200 meters needed to complete the pipeline. In the past few trips our teams have focused on building a temporary water distribution site, along with testing both the pipes that we have laid down so far and the water quality. Our piping team continues to analyze the best ways to prevent future leakages in the pipeline and make the system as efficient and sustainable as possible.

Updates

Our work takes place both on-site in Ait Bayoud and back home in New York. Check out our updates to see what we've been up to!

Sponsors

The work we do would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: