Student engineers bring solar energy and clean water to Ugandan village

April 27, 2011

By Marisa Simmons
Course 1 Sophomore

Ddegeya, Uganda, a community of about 1,000 people spread over five square kilometers, relies on a single pond and one working well for water. The people there have no electricity and limited access to healthcare, because the local clinic faces the same constraints as the community. 

The Engineers Without Borders (EWB) MIT chapter has worked with the Engeye Health Clinic in Ddegeya since 2008, and in summer 2010, EWB MIT made its third trip to Ddegeya. This trip was the first large-scale implementation of the EWB plans and it was highly successful in helping the community make small steps toward improving access to water and power. But much remains to be done.  

At MIT, Engineers Without Borders works in two teams to address the main problems of the community: energy and water. 

Energy team

During the 2009-2010 school year, the energy team worked on a project to electrify the Engeye Health Clinic. Before this, the clinic had operated on a few hundred watts of power supplied by two small solar panels. Through a donation from British Petroleum, EWB MIT secured six large solar panels for the clinic, and during the summer 2010, the team rewired all the clinic buildings to accommodate the panels. The students also installed a data logging system that sends weekly updates&nbs