Our partnership with the communities of Sindowe and Simulunda in the Southern Province of Zambia was approved by EWB-USA in December of 2017. Our goal in this project is to create a bridge that connects the communities of Sindowe and Simulunda that will allow pedestrians to cross the Kalomo River during all months of the year, especially during the rainy season.
During the rainy season, the Kalomo River becomes impassable, cutting off markets and medical care from the members of Simulunda and surrounding communities for approximately four months every year.
One member of EWB talked about why this project is important to her: "When we first arrived in Zambia, we met with the councilman of the Zimba District, Mr. Grave. Mr. Grave said something that struck me deeply: that at least one person dies every year trying to cross the Kalomo River during the rainy season. He made it clear he wanted our team to complete this project as soon as possible, because every year that we don’t complete the bridge, at least one more person dies. They die because they would rather risk death getting to the hospital than stand helplessly ill on the other side of the river. There are human lives at stake. It was that moment that it struck me how truly important this project is. We are working with real people, with real challenges, with real lives. It is amazing that we have the opportunity to work in this community all the way from Nebraska. I don’t think any other experience has ever taught me more explicitly why engineers do what engineers do. To me, there really is no greater purpose than empowering others, and I am grateful for my experience in EWB-NU that allowed me to do just that."
In the summer of 2018, our team took our first assessment trip to Zambia to learn more about the project and desires of the community. Our team collected preliminary bridge design data, information about the surrounding communities, and examples of other projects completed in the area. We have spent the past year using this preliminary data to start our design with the help of professors and professionals. We are currently planning and looking forward to our next assessment trip.
Located in the southcentral Africa
About 3.7 times as big as Nebraska
Population of 18 million; the average age is 17 years old
60% of the population lives under the poverty level, and 42% are classified as extremely poor
Zambia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, but this barely affects the poor rural population
Copper mining is instrumental to the country's economy, consisting of 85% of their exports
Zambia is home to Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world