Yale University Partners with Nicaraguan Non-Profit to Deliver Clean Water to Rural Coffee Producing Communities
Students from Yale’s Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering Conduct Field Research with Comunidad Connect.
A group of six undergraduate and two graduate students from Yale University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences spent 4 days collecting water samples for a clean water project operated by Comunidad Connect, a community development not-for-profit organization that hosted the students. The testing, conducted in the Los Robles community, a significant contributor to Nicaragua’s coffee production, will provide insight into effective filtration techniques and technologies that stand to benefit hundreds of families and several schools in the region.
The students are currently enrolled in the Environmental Technology in the Developing World course, led by professor Jaehong Kim of Yale University’s Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. They collected water samples and fragments of the Filtron brand ceramic filters, which Comunidad Connect provides to residents of Los Robles, after 16 hours of community service; through its Nica Agua project. Students tested some filter samples on-site and transported other samples back to Yale University for more detailed analysis. The results of their problem-based, service-learning project will help Comunidad Connect and other users of the ceramic filters to better understand this technology’s benefits and limitations in reducing pathogens in drinking water.
“This has been an excellent and rewarding opportunity to bring my students into a community where the knowledge and technologies that they have been learning from this class can directly impact real people,” states Kim. He adds, “Working with Comunidad Connect on its Nica Agua project has provided our students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give back to an organization focused on providing for a community in need.”
The collaboration between Yale University and Comunidad Connect represents a growing trend in research institutions working with international non-profits to further advance their causes and contribute to their communities. In the coming months, Comunidad Connect will also host students from Emory University, Valdosta State University, Georgia State University, the University of Colorado, the University of Virginia and Kennesaw State University.
About Comunidad Connect:
A 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization working in Nicaragua to promote sustainable community development, cultural exchange, and civic engagement through programs in rural healthcare, water access, youth development, and service learning.
About Nica Agua:
A Comunidad Connect health initiative that encourages community engagement and local leadership via access to clean drinking water. To earn low-tech, user-friendly, water filters and combat illnesses such as diarrhea, parasites and kidney infection, local participants must contribute service hours in community projects like road repair, bridge construction, and school maintenance, in addition to attending health seminars.
For additional information about Yale University’s Environmental Technology in the Developing World class, please visit: http://www.eng.yale.edu/enve410/
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