UMCOR assists engineers in Bolivia


UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, recently awarded a $20,000 grant to Engineers in Action projects in Bolivia.

Rebecca Dobbins of UMCOR said, "With this support, Engineers in Action will provide potable water to communities in need, build sanitation facilities, and provide education to the communities on the use of eco-latrines, among other projects."

This is the third year for UMCOR to support the work of Oklahoma’s Engineers in Action (EIA). The 2011 grant amount was $9,800. The new grant is for 2012-13.

EIA, a nonprofit organization, has been successful with potable water and sanitation projects in more than 40 Bolivian communities, helping more than 40,000 people.

Clergyman David Stephenson of Tulsa is appointed to serve as EIA executive director and as OKVIM liaison for the Oklahoma-Bolivia Partnership Committee.

The UMCOR grant specifically will fund about 80 percent of the support for two EIA engineers, Milton de la Cruz and Marcos Robison.

Cruz works on three projects. His primary project is in southern Bolivia. On the outskirts of the major city of Tarija, 100 homes are being constructed for people who have been homeless. Electricity, water, erosion control, and sanitation are being provided. The work includes completing a deep well for water supplies.

Cruz also is responsible for the Konani Water Well, initially developed by the Stephenson family in 1993.

Robison is responsible for the Contani Project, which will provide eco-latrines to that village, and several irrigation and potable water projects.

EIA hires Bolivian engineers to build partnerships to provide potable water, sanitation, irrigation, bridges, erosion control, and acid mine waste treatment to remote Bolivian villages.

In addition to UMCOR, other EIA partners include: The University of Oklahoma School of Engineering and Environmental Sciences, Habitat for Humanity Bolivia, Engineers Without Borders, the Methodist Church of Bolivia, and various Bolivian government entities.

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