As each day goes by, our world continues to grow into a global community. We can no longer ignore what is going on in China, Africa, or even in the next state. The biggest challenge of globalization is its effect on the poor and uneducated. They are the first to be taken advantage of and the last to benefit. In fact, so many people have been left behind that our global community seems to be more of a curse than a blessing.
I have joined the ranks of BYU’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a chapter of EWB—USA, to reverse the negative effects of globalization through capacity building. According to Henry J. Hatch, a member of the Advisory Committee of EWB—USA, capacity building is, “the building (or strengthening) of human, institutional and infrastructure capacity to help societies develop secure, stable and sustainable economies, governments and other institutions.” He suggests this can be accomplished “through mentoring, training, education, physical projects, the infusion of financial and other resources, and most importantly, the motivation and inspiration of people to improve their lives.”
The number of people dying from AIDS worldwide increased to 2.9 million in 2006, and prevention measures are failing to keep pace with the growth of the epidemic.
For those who have clearly been ignored or forgotten, EWB—USA is working to help them obtain their share of the progress that has been made toward a better life. In other words, EWB is dedicated to capacity building in community-based projects. In April, our chapter left for Cuzco, Peru, to implement a five-fold community project. I have been preparing for this project for over a year now, and I am just about ready to “go forth to serve.” This spring our plan is to:
1. Make clean water accessible to the community.
2. Provide a storage system so water can be accessible throughout the yearly drought.
3. Get the smoke out of the kitchens by making cheap, efficient stoves.
4. Provide means by which water may be heated for bathing and washing.
5. Teach the community about the importance of hygiene and provide hygiene kits for each family.