[Andrew Vild, UOW Alumni, Director Project Everest]: Project Everest is an organization that believes in the power of enterprise to solve social issues. So rather than give handouts, if we can create a business within a community that provides a good or service and the inherent operation of that business provides that good or service then it's more sustainable than a handout. And so Project Everest involves University students in developing projects and developing social ventures. And then those social ventures develop and involve into something that generates a profit and that profit will always go back into the communities.
[Andrew Vild, UOW Alumni, Director Project Everest]: Uganda was a completely different experience to anything I've ever experienced, to anything I've ever seen. The poverty is just gut-wrenching.
[Maddison Steele, UOW student, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health]: Uganda completely blew all in my expectations out of the water. Um I'm not really sure what I was expecting. I think I was expecting like a savanna like no… no greenery or anything. But the one thing that really struck me about Uganda was how green everything was.
[Nicolas Kerr, UOW student, Faculty of Engineering]: So when we were coming in on the plane, it was incredible actually looking at the window. The landscape was entirely green and we were actually coming in near Lake Victoria. So having the greenness and the water there was really special to me, coming from a country background.
[Andrew Vild, UOW Alumni, Director Project Everest]: So essentially our roll when we get onto the ground is just figuring out what the situation, what the situation is. Is there a place for us? Are we going to be doing more damage than good having, you know, eight westernized foreigners walking into a community? And that's why our process is really important of setting up relationships with the chairman of the local councils. Setting up relationships with the local universities so that, you know, local university students can actually take us through the communities. Part of our process is also getting the scientific facts and data on the situation. So actual water testing results. Do they have bacteria in their water? Do they have abnormal levels of nitrates or ammonia or heavy metals?
[Maddison Steele, UOW student, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health]: So on the program we started off in Kampala which is the capital city. So we went into the slum communities. There we assess the water, the water quality and accessibility there.
[Andrew Vild, UOW Alumni, Director Project Everest]: Working with the communities is the next step once we've identified a problem. And working with them to identify what solution works best for them financially and what solution works best for them culturally. We don't want to go in there and create a 12 month or an 18 month or a five-year solution.
[Andrew Vild, UOW Alumni, Director Project Everest]: When we went over to Uganda, it's a very bureaucratic place. You have to go through a lot of official pathways. And so because of that we were involved with major government ministries, major government organizations, you know, some of the most prestigious universities in Uganda.
[Maddison Steele, UOW student, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health]: And the reason why I decide to go in this program, it wasn't so much to get the professional experience that engineering students can get, it was more, um it was more to develop skills that I couldn't get in my lecture halls. I learned how to hold a business meeting. I learned how to pitch a business idea to a board, to an individual. I learnt how to have better leadership skills. I learned how to work in a team in quite a different circumstance, like in a just intense circumstance.
[Nicolas Kerr, UOW student, Faculty of Engineering]: The kind of student that should get involved in this project is someone that's looking for a meaningful act. To undertake this program is more than just volunteering. It's more than just positive sustainable impact. It's about personal and professional development.
[Andrew Vild, UOW Alumni, Director Project Everest]: The kind of students that we're just looking for are the ones that have the attitude that they want to make an impact. They want to make a difference and that they're prepared to learn whatever it is they need to do to actually yeah get the job done.