The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has announced a grant of $9,600 to Tulsa-based Engineers In Action (EIA).
The engineers group was formed out of the partnership between the Evangelical Methodist Church of Bolivia and the Oklahoma Conference. David Stephenson leads the Bolivia-Oklahoma ministry committee and is pastor at Skiatook UMC.
Rev. Stephenson said, "11 Bolivian children die every hour from a water-born disease. There was a deep need expressed to bring potable water, sanitation, and irrigation to the remote villages of Bolivia, which often have Methodist congregations."
In 2007 the Skiatook church stepped up to the challenge and hired a Bolivian Methodist engineer, in Bolivia, to develop projects, form partnerships for implementation, provide logistics, and guarantee sustainability for engineering water projects in that country. The effort grew dramatically, and in January 2008, Engineers In Action became an autonomous non-profit organization in both Oklahoma and Bolivia.
Today the organization fields four full-time engineers in Bolivia and plans to add four engineering interns this summer. Stephenson reported that EIA operates 17 projects, bringing approximately $1 million in developmental aid to provide clean water, sanitation, irrigation, and bridges for more than 60,000 people. Find more EIA information on the Web.
The Water and Sanitation Department of UMCOR announced the grant on Nov. 24. The funds will allow EIA to hire one engineer. Each engineer is responsible for about five projects and raises approximately 20 times his or her salary through in-kind engineering from U.S. engineering groups, labor, and donations for materials.
Stephenson said this grant of $9,600 will result in about $200,000 in developmental aid for remote indigenous communities in Bolivia.
He also noted that UMCOR’s work is funded solely by donations, especially through "One Great Hour of Sharing," one of the Church’s Special Sundays. This year, that date is March 14.