An EWB-USA Program is, at minimum, a 5-year commitment to a community where several projects are implemented within the area.
These projects are meant to be:
Beneficial to the communities affected
Here at the Stevens Chapter of EWB we have our plans set within the rural heart of Thailand, in an area known as the Phrao District, which is a part of the Chiang Mai Province. More specifically, we are working with the district’s northernmost region of Long Khot. The Phrao District lies within the northern portion of Thailand, and it is completely surrounded by mountains and wilderness. While the surrounding area may be beautiful, the isolation caused by the terrain and a lack of main roads has created many serious problems within local communities. For example, four doctors serve all 54,000 people in the area. A huge majority of these individuals survive on less than $.75 per day. Without access to nearby markets and cities, these citizens of Long Khot are almost completely on their own.
The only economic prospects within the area come from local agriculture, which is entirely dependent on nearby water supplies, which is where we come in!
A collapsed water shed within the region has seriously hampered the lives of the people in the Long Khot region. Most farmers do not even have enough water to yield more than two crops of rice, and potatoes are rarely grown during the dry season anymore. Our first project, which is just beginning is going to try and solve the problems of replacing the broken watershed. So far, our ideas to accomplish this include a catchment on a stream and running pipe several kilometers from the pong to the main road, where it will connect to the community water system.
In future projects, we hope to develop a micro-hydro system that harnesses the energy of the water to generate energy. The proceeds from the generator will help fund a local organization dedicated to the maintenance of water supply in the district.
The initial project is expected to last 1-2 years, while the entire program is set for 5 years. Our preliminary trip to Thailand is expected to occur this year. The plan is to send 5 of our best and most dedicated engineers and managers to the community and obtain information as to the project and how much it will cost to complete it. Each of our trips to Thailand will last approximately 2 weeks, during which we will not only help construct the necessary watershed/pipelines, but to also educate the communities about how to use the new facilities. After we assist the community, we plan on watching them closely for another 1-2 years to ensure our solutions meet the community’s needs. The program’s success is based on how we can best solve the communities’ issues efficiently.developing these projects with the strong dedication to sustainability, we can make a difference on the lives of these people that will last a lifetime!