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Where there is No Engineer “Designing for Community Resilience” National Finals 2021

Where there is No Engineer “Designing for Community Resilience” National Finals 2021

Phases: Chileya Village School by Alan Fitzgerald

Alan Fitzgerald and Mark McGinley, both third year architecture students from Waterford Institute of Technology were joint winners of the Where There Is No Engineer - Designing for Community Resilience national finals held online on 29th May 2021. Eight teams presented their concepts to four judges (including one from Irish Aid), hoping for a chance to develop their concepts further in partnership with Engineers Without Borders sponsor, Bentley Systems.

WTINE is a design initiative coordinated jointly by Engineers without Borders Ireland and the Development Technology in the Community (DTC) Research Group in TU Dublin. It encourages participants to develop creative solutions to real-life development projects under six Global Development themes, which include climate resilient infrastructure, self-supply water and sanitation, and on and off micro-grid energy systems.

This year, the students focused on designing solutions for schools in Kabwe, Zambia. Engineers Without Borders partner, Zamda Ireland run a school and emergency shelter in the urban area of Kabwe and a school in the village of Chileya about 20km away. Winners Alan and Mark came up with separate innovative and imaginative designs to expand and improve Chileya Village School, both keeping student wellbeing and sustainability in mind. As judges found it difficult to choose between them, the two designs were selected as joint winners of the award with the judges recommending that the students work together to combine their designs for the best possible outcome. Alan presented “Phases - A three cluster phased school design approach that allows for enclosed, protected and flexible teaching spaces”. Joint winner Mark presented “The Street - Where the excitement and joy of school life is reflected inwards, creating a safe haven of community”.

Other contenders for the award were engineering and product designs. A team from Technological University Dublin won the Innovation Award with H2Go Water Filtration Booklet, ascience experiment that teaches children how to purify their water through utilising waste materials such as plastic bottles, aluminium cans, plastic bags and charcoal. Using a boxed kit, students are visually taught scientific methods through infographics on how the water cycle works, the importance of personal hygiene and then finally an example project for students to design their water filtration system and measure the effectiveness of their designs.

Engineering students from Trinity College Dublin presented Windbelt, a micro-grid, localised energy solution to be used in the school and Carbon Filter, an adaptable and adjustable carbon filter that connects to water pipes, as Zambia is rich in minerals which can affect water purity. Under normal circumstances, the winning students would travel to Zambia to develop their design further but it is not certain when Mark and Alan will be able to avail of this opportunity. 

As campuses were closed due to Covid-19, judges were greatly impressed by the very high quality of the projects presented. Irish Aid is delighted to contribute to the Where There Is No Engineer initiative. Further information can be found at: www.wherethereisnoengineer.org.