Social Issues: African Black Child Drinking Fresh Water From Tap

World Water Day and I Look Like A Civil Engineer

World Water Day is March 22. It’s an internationally observed day that focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. World Water Day (http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday) is also an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. According to the UN, 1 in 10 people lack access to safe water.
 
The goals of World Water Day align well with a new organization called I Look Like A Civil Engineer. I Look Like A Civil Engineer is an organization dedicated to increasing the interest in, and diversity of, the civil engineering profession. We humbly hope that in some small way our work on I Look Like A Civil Engineer will bring us closer to improving all people’s access to safe water.
 
Through I Look Like A Civil Engineer, we hope to attract more of the world’s brightest students to the Civil Engineering profession. In addition, we hope to provide support to those currently in the civil engineering to field. This is one way to ultimately help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.
 
Civil engineers design infrastructure and many of the world’s poor lack access to proper infrastructure. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/water-and-sanitation), there are nearly 800 million people without dependable access to clean water and about 2.5 billion people who lack access to modern sanitation, which puts them at risk for disease. Organizations such as the United Nations, and governments worldwide, recognize that in order to bring people out of poverty, all people need access to clean water, proper sanitation, and resilient infrastructure. Civil engineers play an important role in planning, designing, and constructing these basic needs.
 
The work of an organization called Engineers Without Borders (http://www.ewb-usa.org/) is just one example of how Civil Engineers are currently helping bring safe water to improvised communities. Similar to Doctor’s Without Borders, its goal is to help communities meet basic human needs. Engineers Without Borders was founded by Dr. Bernard Armadei, an innovative man who earned a PhD in Civil Engineering. About 20 years later he worked with a local community in Belize to install a clean water system powered by a local waterfall so that little children did not have to spend all day carrying water from a nearby river. The project was low-tech and cost a total of $14,000. The project didn’t make national news, but its success was the beginning of Engineers Without Borders.
 
According to their website “Engineers Without Borders USA builds a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.” The organization has identified six project types to holistically address communities’ needs, including water supply, civil works, sanitation, agriculture, energy, and structures. Anyone can join Engineers Without Borders, but civil engineers are especially qualified to assist in these areas, since these project types are what civil engineers study and design.
 
Engineers Without Borders is just one example of how civil engineers will help improve the world’s freshwater needs. Civil engineers will also help solve some of our local problems, such as how to keep our streams and lakes safe. It’s important that we attract, and retain, the best and brightest in civil engineering.
 
We hope that smart, innovative, motivated students visit iLookLikeACivilEngineer.com and realize that they belong in the civil engineering community. We also hope that our current best and brightest civil engineers find the inspiration to stay in the civil engineering field.
 
What Dr. Armadei accomplished makes us excited to think about what innovative solutions students now entering civil engineering will develop. Their work will move us closer to solving the world’s most pressing problems. If just one of these students or young engineers was inspired by I Look Like An Engineer, then we have succeeded with our mission.

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