Using technical skills and community engagement, a group of University of Canterbury (UC) humanitarian engineering students installed drinking water treatment systems in schools in the Kingdom of Tonga.
UC Diploma students in Global Humanitarian Engineering Tamara Stratton, Tim Danshia, Evan Kegill, George Mortlock, and Brian Avendaño recently teamed up with Associate Professor Ricardo Bello Mendoza and Technical Officer Siale Fetotonu in Tonga to design and build water filters at Taupo College, Taupo High Traveled to install the disinfection system. , and Epifo’ou High School in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.
“It was a valuable and rewarding experience for UC students; “Learning first-hand the importance and challenges of humanitarian work on an island highly vulnerable to tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes”, says Associate Professor Bello Mendoza.
He says the diploma helps students understand the challenges of working in humanitarian projects. “It develops and broadens their intellectual experience beyond technical knowledge and allows engineers to use their skills and knowledge to improve the quality of people’s lives.”
The UC team worked with staff and students at the schools to install and deliver a water treatment system consisting of membrane filters and a UV chamber to disinfect water for 2,500 students at three schools, while discussing opportunities Interacted with local authorities and institutions for For new UC humanitarian engineering programs to continue working with Tongan communities.
“We discussed water and sanitation infrastructure, renewable energy and ways to aid education and came up with a plan to study towards careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, especially engineering,” says the associate professor. Talked to high school students about UC as a destination.” Bello Mendoza.
This mission highlights UC’s commitment to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. “This is an example of humanitarian engineers working with communities and other partners to provide clean water and sanitation to improve the health and quality of life of communities in the Polynesian islands,” he says.
The mission was in collaboration with UC’s Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering, the Ecocare Pacific Trust and the Embassy of Ireland in New Zealand.
The Diploma in Global Humanitarian Engineering at UC is an emerging discipline focused on improving under-served communities by increasing quality of life, capacity and resilience.
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