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Burkina Faso to Sierra Leone

We would like to publicly announce that the EWB-DC Chapter has launched a new project with a partner community of Dumangbe, Sierra Leone! Dumangbe is a predominantly Muslim village in the Makpele Chiefdom of the Pujehun District; a Southeastern province of Sierra Leone. The community was heavily affected by the most recent Ebola crisis, recording 23 out of the total 31 confirmed Ebola deaths for the entire district due in part to the poor infrastructure to access the community. Dumangbe was officially declared Ebola free by the WHO in April 2015. The lack of a reliable stream crossing negatively impacts the community’s ability to access medical aid, markets, primary and higher education, and employment opportunities. Our team will work to assess the community’s need for a stream crossing to better connect the community to the surrounding region.

We are excited to begin working with this new community – but also want to provide some context on how we recently came to work on this project. For those who have been following the blog posts on the EWB-DC site, you might remember the announcement of a project in Dierma, Burkina Faso in the Spring of 2018. Over the course of approximately a year and a half, the Burkina Faso Project team had been working towards making an assessment trip to help plan the construction of a bridge in the town of Dierma. However, over this time the security situation in Burkina Faso became more and more unstable and unfortunately it was not clear if and how long it would take for stability and safety to return. Ultimately, this made travelling to the community and attempting to implement a construction project unfeasible. Through the summer and fall of 2019, the Project team debated on the best course of action, and finally decided that it would be best to transition to a new project due to the uncertainty of when it would be safe to travel to Burkina Faso.

If you’d like to learn more about the Burkina Faso Project, its background, and additional details on its closure, we recommend you listen to the EWB-DC Professional Chapters’ Podcast episode titled “Burkina Faso” and can be found here.

The Burkina Faso team determined that there was still significant interest in taking on another bridge project, and found a similar opportunity in Sierra Leone. After applying for its adoption, the team was awarded the project in Dumangbe, Sierra Leone in mid-January 2020.  The newly minted Sierra Leone Project team has hit the ground running with research and is preparing to conduct an assessment trip later this year during an appropriate travel window (rainy versus dry season). 

Want to help? We’re always looking for volunteers familiar with developing international programs, conducting community needs assessments, bridge design, and an array of other expertise. Volunteers with all backgrounds and skill sets are welcome and encouraged to participate! You don’t need to be an engineer to join either. The team meetings are every other Tuesday evening and details are posted on the Chapter Calendar. New volunteers are invited to attend the project meetings or join the Chapter meeting for an overview of EWB, the DC Professionals Chapter, and more!

For more information about the Sierra Leone – Dumangbe Project, check out our Project Page.