Last week UOW's Faculty of Social Sciences (SOC) Associate Dean Research, Professor Lisa Kervin and Executive Manager, Katrina Gamble travelled with the Executive Manager of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences (EIS), Lorelle Pollard, Dave Walker, a Humanitarian Engineer from EIS, and three humanitarian engineering students to Babati, Tanzania. This visit is hopefully the start of a long and fruitful collaboration for SOC, EIS and local partner So They Can to deliver impactful humanitarian engineering outcomes for the schools and communities of Babati District.
During the trip the group travelled through adverse conditions to reach Manyara School, a school which Lisa and Katrina had the chance to visit in February 2019. It was as a result of their visit in February that they identified Manyara Primary School as a potential site for a SOC and EIS collaborative humanitarian engineering experience. This amazing and definitely under-resourced school services an isolated community with a significant number of the students coming from the nomadic tribe, Barabaig. Many of the students live at the school during the term and have had to fight for the right to be educated. Conditions are challenging with classrooms, living quarters, etc. of limited numbers and poor quality.
Throughout the jam packed two days in Babati they were able to engage in a number of high-level consultations with the school community, staff of So They Can and Government officials (ward and district) to establish a clear list of three priority areas for Manyara School. These are:
- Additional classrooms
- Renovation/restoration of girls dormitory
- Solutions for water harvesting to secure water supply to the school and the local community
Further discussions between SOC, EIS and So They Can will develop the feasibility of how we might further our engagement. It is hoped that we can run a joint student program which will see us contribute to the realisation of one or more of the school priority areas. This program is slated for late June 2020.