Global Brigades is an international non-profit that empowers communities to meet their health and economic goals through university volunteers and local teams.
The largest student-led movement for global health
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What is the objective of Engineering Brigades?
The objective of Engineering Brigades is to unite students and under-resourced communities to develop and implement clean water projects through community assessment, water quality monitoring, water treatment, infrastructural development, community leader training, and hygiene, sanitation and water education.
What major need is Engineering Brigades is addressing?
In the rural communities where Global Brigades works, families often have little or no access to sufficient quality nor quantity of water. Without sufficient clean water, the health of entire communities is affected, since water is fundamental for everyday activities including drinking, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining personal and household hygiene. The goal of Engineering Brigades is to connect students with communities to implement sustainable, community-based solutions to address these dire water needs.
Who gets involved in Engineering Brigades?
Volunteers of all interests and academic disciplines are encouraged to participate in Engineering Brigades. It is helpful to have studied college math or engineering at an introductory level.
Do I need engineering or construction experience?
Basic engineering or math skills at the college level are helpful for the brigade.
How are projects/communities chosen?
We concentrate on communities with an established Global Brigades presence in order to take advantage of our already established reputation. From there, we use data collected by our research and evaluation team to identify new community water projects based on their water needs.
What does the Engineering Brigades Team do to prepare for an Engineering Brigade?
The centralized water systems designed by Engineering Brigades require a lot of preparation prior to volunteers arriving in country for the brigade. The Engineering Brigades Team works with community members to legally secure access to the water source, clear brush from possible pipelines to allow for measurement, and organize and train the water council and basic sanitation committee.
What does a community do to prepare for an Engineering Brigade?
Several weeks in advance, the community engages in a number of activities to prepare for a Engineering Brigade. These activities include, but are not limited to, establishing a new Water Council and Basic Sanitation Committee, clearing areas for the design of the new system, organizing work groups, and clearing brush that impedes measurement. They also fit their brigade project into their daily work schedules and balance it with commitments to other Global Brigades disciplines present in the community.
What does a student do on an Engineering Brigade?
A student’s Engineering Brigade experience includes hands-on design of a centralized water system, testing of existing water systems to ensure that they continue providing high-quality water, interaction and cultural exchange with community members, and meeting with the Water Council and the Basic Sanitation Committee.
What does the community do on an Engineering Brigade?
The community is an integral part to every Engineering Brigade. Whether it is helping students measure a long stretch of pipeline or marking GPS points or welcoming students into their homes, community members are involved in every aspect of a Engineering Brigade. Members of the community also complete trainings and form a fully functioning Water Council and Basic Sanitation Committee that help ensure the sustainability of the water project once it has been designed and built.
Who builds the system that an Engineering Brigade designs?
After Engineering Brigades have designed a viable centralized water system, construction begins. Water Brigaders join community members to dig trenches, lay pipeline, construct chlorination tanks, and build dams. The length of time needed to finish a project varies depending on the size of the project and ranges from 2 months – 1 year.
What does a student do to prepare for a Engineering Brigade?
For all brigade planning tools, volunteers should visit the Volunteer Resource Site. For Engineering Brigades specifics, please see “What to Expect on Your Engineering Brigade.” Be sure to reference the Engineering Pre-Brigade Curriculum.
Is there a minimum or maximum number of volunteers for groups?
For University Chapters, there is a minimum 15 volunteers. To fairly serve a community’s needs, this number is non-negotiable. There is no maximum volunteer number. Non-University Chapters- please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do the funds I raise go?
Volunteers work together with their chapter to fundraise for their individual contributions. Each individual program contribution includes everything needed for the engineering brigade: construction supplies, equipment, local masons, translators, support staff, ground transportation, food, lodging, and emergency medical insurance. Airfare not included.
Is this safe?
The safety of the student volunteers is Global Brigades’ number one priority and is the single most important consideration when entering a community or choosing a project. Each country that Global Brigades serves in has implemented safety protocols and policies to decrease any risk of danger and to ensure that any emergency can be properly handled in a prompt and professional manner. For more information on safety precautions, emergency procedures and insurance information, please visit Safety and Insurance on the Volunteer Resource Site.
This sounds great. How do I get involved?
First, find out if your school has an Engineering Brigades Chapter by searching for you school on the Chapters page. If your school does not have a Chapter, fill out the interest form and you will be connected with a Chapter Advisor.