Andrew Cameron | January 27, 2017
Over winter break, six students from the Notre Dame chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-ND) traveled to Sangmélima, Cameroon, to complete construction of a sanitary hand-pumped well, giving the village access to a reliable source of clean water for the first time.
The completion of the well marks the culmination of over four years of fundraising, research and planning by the students in EWB-ND, whose chapter was started six years ago.
Sarah Drumm, junior and co-president of EWB-ND, said a rural women’s association in Sangmélima applied to the national Engineers Without Borders organization for a group of students to help with a water project.
“There are other wells in the area, but I’ve been there, and most of the water is contaminated with bacteria that are incredibly harmful,” Drumm said. “It’s very visible — people there get sick all the time from water-related diseases.”
According to the EWB-ND website, this is the third time students have traveled to Sangmélima. In 2014 and 2016, students visited the village on assessment trips, allowing them “to sample local water sources to gauge need, survey potential sites for the well, interview contractors, teach hygiene and women’s health programs, and build relationships with community leaders,” the website said.