The staff of Arup understand the powerful impact their skill and creativity can have when it is targeted at the lives of people in need. Since 2012, Arup has maintained a strong partnership with WaterAid America, an international organization dedicated to providing safe drinking water and adequate sanitation to the developing world. As of 2014, 768 million people lack access to potable drinking water, and 2.5 billion people don’t have access to an adequate bathroom. The resulting conditions lead to the death of almost 2,000 children a day, according to the World Health Organization.
This partnership has given our staff the opportunity to directly support WaterAid’s efforts by providing knowledge and guidance in technical areas that have allowed the organization to enhance its work in the western hemisphere. The partnership began with an exploratory mission between Arup and WaterAid’s Nigeria office in 2007. That mission exposed the technical challenges involved in international development and opportunities for Arup staff to jump in and help.
Improving household sanitation in Nicaragua
The Arup/WaterAid partnership continues in 2014, with particular focus on the challenges of household sanitation in Nicaragua. The work of the staff at Arup will be documented in future design guidelines, which will be published to the international development community worldwide. It is the hope of the volunteers behind the Arup/WaterAid partnership that these documents, which bear the fruit of technical skill and creativity targeted at social betterment, will aid organizations that stand with Arup and our commitment to shape a better world.
The community has been very grateful for the ongoing support. Arup’s financial and in kind contribution has contributed to vocational training for teens, the construction of 106 rainwater catchment systems, installation of 294 toilets, manual drilling of 10 borehole wells, the improvement of 44 shallow hand dug wells, the rehabilitation of an instream catchment system, and construction of a hydraulic ram pump.
WaterAid Nicaragua has been very appreciative of our technical support. In the first two years of the partnership, Arup has responded to the needs of the WaterAid Nicaragua office by providing design guides, prepared by volunteers across various engineering disciplines, to assist in the planning and realization of water distribution systems commonly used in this region. WaterAid’s Nicaragua program was awarded the internal Outstanding Performance award in 2013, which Arup’s continued support has contributed to.
The partnership offers all Arup staff the opportunity to provide similar support to a new WaterAid office, the first in the western hemisphere that is based in eastern Nicaragua. Staff involvement has ranged from attendance at internal fundraising and external networking events to researching technical challenges and preparing case studies to aid in WaterAid Nicaragua’s hard work.