Who are the volunteers behind the projects?
Meet our longtime team member of the Yamabal and Usalama projects, Marc Santos. Marc moved to Texas in 2014, but we're happy to say that he's still very involved with our chapter.
Marc Santos with community leader Jackson Maweu in Usalama
Marc, what's your day job?
I'm a consultant at an Environmental Engineering Consulting firm called Hazen and Sawyer
. I work on drinking water system planning, design, and operations.
I've been involved with EWB since 2005 and have had several project roles over the years including task lead, project manager, and technical lead. For Usalama
I was the technical lead for the water components of the project.
What got you started with EWB?
I started with EWB as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst
in 2005. I believe there was an announcement in one of my classes and I decided to check it out. Once I got involved, I was hooked to the idea of development work through appropriate design. My first project was designing decentralized spring boxes in a remote community in the Brazilian Amazon.
What’s your favorite thing about EWB?
There are many favorites, but in general I would say it is the people. Whether it is working with my fellow peers on the project team or the community members in-country, collaborating with a variety of people has given me a greater perspective and helped me to be a better engineer and steward. I'm grateful for the meaningful interactions and lasting friendships I've made through EWB.
What’s the biggest challenge about EWB?
On a fundamental level I would say that the most challenging part to virtually every project is fundraising. It is a critical part of how we implement projects, but can take a tremendous amount of effort. Luckily, EWB teams tend to plan fun and creative fundraising events, which engage our supporters and educate them on our efforts, so the challenge is often rewarding. Beyond that every project has its own specific set of technical challenges, but EWB members are always up to the task.
As the Usalama project wraps up, what’s next for you?
As the Usalama project wraps up, I'm looking to find a local university chapter of EWB to mentor.
What would you say to people who want to get involved?
If you are looking for an opportunity to meet interesting, dedicated people and collaborate with them to implement impactful projects that change the lives of the community members we work with, then EWB is for you! If you are already involved, then I would say be empathetic and truly listen to the community members that you are working with. As designers we must first understand the needs of the community before we can help to develop the right solution for them.
Donate today to help the Usalama team conduct final evaluations and complete this project.