• Courtney Kauffman

CU Meets KU: A Global Partnership in the Making

Prabin, Megan, Ashna, Courtney, Samita, Anurag, Dipak

Four students from Kathmandu University arrived in Kalinchok Ward 1 on the night of January 3rd. Anurag Adhikari, Prabin Dhakal, Samita Rimal, and Dipak Timalsina showed up ready to engage in engineering field work, drone mapping, and educational workshops with us. These fourth year engineering students all had insight to share with our team and helped us tremendously.

On January 4th, Samita and Courtney worked on preparing the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) workshop for the older female students at Balodaya Secondary School while the rest of the KU clan worked with John, Ashna, and Megan to survey six different ground control points in order to verify the drone surveying done in the area. By using a Trimble Zephyr geodetic antenna connected to a Trimble GPS receiver, the team surveyed the precise GPS location of each painted control point for an hour. This data can then be used to snap the drone survey maps into place for accurate measurements and distances on the drone data for assessment of future project sites. The KU and CU student teams also spent some time trying to solve the water piping mystery at the school… Since last summer when our travel team connected the tap stands at the school to the water tank up the hill, the community and new road building has cut and jumbled the many pipes in the water system. We all worked to sort out which pipe went where and which pipes were cut by the road construction.

Megan and Ashna painting a white X on one of the six ground control points.

The KU students enjoyed watching and flying the drone near the NCDC office and the water system at the school for assessment and surveying purposes. Our meeting with the Balodaya School Management Committee and our MHM workshop with the female students both got pushed back so the KU and CU teams worked together on latrine assessment and water flow rate data at the school tap stands.

Samita conducted a MHM workshop in Nepali with twenty-seven girls in grades 9 and 10 at the school. She presented a PowerPoint presentation and video to the girls, had all of them complete written surveys which our team wrote and the KU team translated, and led a conversation with all of the girls about the school facilities and MHM resources. It was awesome to see how interested and engaged the students were during the workshop. The girls expressed a need for more workshops like this and resources like sanitation pads and soap at the school. This workshop was the most successful one that our team has conducted to date and we are looking forward to translating the completed surveys to English and diving into the girls’ answers. These students are excited to learn and deserve the resources and facilities to do so—one of them even said she wants to be an engineer like us when she is older!

Samita conducting the MHM workshop to the girls at the school in one of the temporary learning centers (TLC).

Meanwhile, Anurag, Dipak, and Prabin interviewed some of the school boys and teachers about sanitation, water, and facilities at the school. These interviews gave us a lot of very useful information such as most of the boys don’t know what menstruation is or why it happens, they all use and appreciate the tap stands which our team constructed last summer, and they were taught by Bhupal how to correctly wash their hands but could use more workshops on WASH topics (water, sanitation, and hygiene). Thanks to all of the KU students, our team will return back to the States with more documentation about the students and school than ever before.

The CU-KU collaboration is only just beginning and we are all excited to work together in the future. Both teams have so much to contribute to one another and we all had a great time getting to know each other while we worked, played, and stargazed.

Go team!

Courtney, Ashna, & Megan

The whole gang at our homestay/tea house by the school: Madhu, Anurag, Dipak, Samita, Courtney, Ashna, Megan, Prabin, John, Bhupal

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A student chapter of Engineers Without Borders at the University of Colorado Boulder​

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