Water for the school

The Hope Integrated Academy is a secondary school and community center in Masaka, Uganda. As the academy began to grow, it faced a serious problem: no clean water. With no infrastructure to have clean water delivered for washing and drinking, students resorted to carrying heavy cans of pond water to the school—a difficult task just to get small amounts of murky water to the academy.

Partnering with the Uganda Rural Fund, students and engineers from the University of Minnesota chapter of EWB began developing plans to get clean water to the school in a way that would be inexpensive and wouldn’t require complicated maintenance.

The engineers decided that the best way to start getting water to the school was to use the school itself—the smooth metal roofs of the buildings could be used to funnel clean rainwater into huge tanks located on the campus. Using simple, low-tech parts, the students of Engineers Without Borders and the Hope Academy built a system that can harvest enough rainwater to meet the needs of hundreds of people every day. And as the population of the school increases, EWB has plans to increase the water supply; this summer, students from the University of Minnesota will be returning to Masaka to install a groundwater pump powered by solar panels. Even without access to an electrical grid, the system should supply enough water for 500 people every day.

Projects at the Hope Integrated Academy will provide clean drinking water for hundreds of students.
Projects at the Hope Integrated Academy will provide clean drinking water for hundreds of students.
Courtesy EWB-UMN
Students from the Hope Integrated Academy and the University of Minnesota help move into position a massive new tank for collecting rainwater.
Students from the Hope Integrated Academy and the University of Minnesota help move into position a massive new tank for collecting rainwater.
Courtesy EWB-UMN