Kenya Project

2007 To Present

During the 2017-18 school year, the Kenya team had just come back from a Monitoring trip in Luanda, Kenya. The team had worked with the community to gauge the success of the most recently well installation site, and plan for the expansion of the water distribution system. Over the 2017-18 year, the team worked on planning a Assessment trip for a 1 km extension of the piping to reach another densely populated neighborhood. Additionally, the team began surveying the nearby community center as a location for a rainwater catchment system that could contribute to the well’s distribution system. Unfortunately, due to protests in the capital city during the summer of 2018, the team’s travel plans were cancelled by both the university and EWB USA.

Starting in September of 2018, the team decided to begin it’s Monitoring trip remotely, as to not be set back by the travel delays. The team sent the community requests for information that included inquiries about the technical feasibility of the system and the community’s interest in such installations. Additionally, the team began looking at other projects sponsored by EWB USA that the UCSB chapter could take on to accommodate our growing team. In the first half of 2019 we plan preparing to travel to Luanda for our delayed Monitoring trip in which we will be able to address all of the requests and propositions by the community for expanding their water distribution network. Additionally, we hope to apply for a new international project, and when accepted will begin the initial phases of contacting the partner NGO and determining the scope of the project, with hopes to travel in the summer of 2020.

Completed Projects

  • Community assessment (2008)
  • Electrification of three clinic buildings (2009 & 2010)
  • Rainwater catchment system at clinic (2009)
  • Medical waste incinerator (2010)
  • Electric pump, storage tank, and fluoride filter at Opanga well (2010)
  • Route survey for Nyatemba community water distribution pipelines (2011)
  • Well for Nyatemba water distribution system drilled (2011)
  • Phase I implmentation of Nyatemba water distribution project (2012)
  • Nyatemba, Opanga and clinic project monitoring and evaluation (2014)
  • Phase II Nyatemba waster distribution system (2015)
  • Repair of well sites, retrofit and repair of medical waste incinerator, and evaluation of future project alternatives (2016)

Current Effort

  • Evaluate alternatives and plan installation of our largest rain water catchment yet
  • And of course, fundraising and grant writing to facilitate these goals

Project Manager – Brian J Clark

Faculty Advisor – Roy Smith

Professional Advisor – Don Freeborn

Professional Advisor – Adam Kanold


In Luanda, Kenya, EWB-UCSB is implementing infrastructure projects to provide access to clean water and improve health care facilities. The team has been in existence since 2007 and has completed several ambitious projects in the past several years. Collaborators for this project include Santa Barbara-based Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care and the African Children’s Project as well as VIAGENCO, a grassroots organization in Luanda that started the health clinic.

Viagenco (representing the words Lake Victoria Agricultural & Environmental Conservation) was started in 1997 by three men from the Gembe region of Kenya with a vision of improving their community. Gembe is a very poor, rural area of subsistence farmers and the idea was to improve farming practices while conserving the environment. The founders soon discovered, however, that the community was so devastated by health issues such as HIV/AIDS and malaria that there could not be a focus on the environment until these health issues were addressed.

While interacting with the clinic it became apparent that long term goals of improving community health could not be realized until all members of the community had access to a safe, affordable water supply. The team investigated various options for developing clean water sources including filtering lake water and improving groundwater sources. The decision was made that treating groundwater was the easiest way to supply safe water. An existing well was upgraded by installing an electric pump and storage tank with a fluoride filter, allowing residents to access drinking water free from harmful biological and mineral contamination.

Thus, a small health clinic was established in conjunction with nearby government agencies to attempt to meet the needs of the community. EWB-UCSB’s first interactions were with this clinic and focused on improving the infrastructure to enable expansion of the clinic. The clinic buildings were electrified to connect to the grid, enabling vaccine refrigeration and the operation of electronic lab equipment. The team also installed a rainwater catchment system on the clinic roof to provide clean water for the clinic operations and built a medical waste incinerator to safety dispose of contaminated waste.

In July 2011 EWB-UCSB drilled a new, 100 meter deep well in the Nyatemba area. We began design of a distribution system to enable to construction of several access points, significantly reducing the distance water must be carried. This has increase clean water usage in the area. In August of 2012 the first phase of the construction of the water distribution system was carried out. From 2013 to 2015 we worked with the community to understand how to best maximize usage of the well system, and worked to establish economic models to enable the community leaders to maintain and repair the well system. The EWB Kenya team focuses on educational seminars that teach water chlorination, pump and generator operation, and proper record keeping during our trips. Sustainability is always the central focus of our implementations.

In 2016 we sent a team of 7 students and our professional mentors to Kenya to facilitate repairs of the well systems. We retrofitted the medical clinics medical waste incinerator to increase longevity and safety. In addition to this, our team investigated several future projects in the area. We will be fundraising in 2017 to add another rainwater catchment system to the new town hall, and a potential further expansion of the Nyatemba well system.