Teaming up to improve water quality in Honduras

April 4, 2012

Kris Goddard (M.R.P. ’12), Maren Hill (M.R.P. ’13), and Ben Koffel (M.R.P. ’12) joined a group of undergraduate civil engineering students on a trip to Honduras during the winter break. The team went in support of AguaClara, a Cornell engineering organization that designs gravity-fed water treatment plants that can be built with locally available materials and easily operated. The trip was organized through Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development’s (CIIFAD) Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Teams (SMART) project.

The group’s chief tasks were to document the success of the project and to develop communications and marketing materials for AguaClara. Over the course of the two-week trip, the students visited several communities with operating plants and met with local water board officials to learn more about the governance models that have made the plants successful.

“It was a fantastic experience to collaborate so closely with engineers and to understand both the technology and the governance structures that enable successful municipal service delivery in emerging markets,” said Koffel.

Mildred Warner, professor in CRP, joined the group to investigate the governance models that go along with the technology.

SMART connects students with NGOs and government agencies working on projects in the developing world. Other students joined SMART trips to Kenya, Zambia, Dominican Republic, and Thailand.

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