of International Experience
The town of Shirati in the Tarime District of Tanzania
located in North Central Tanzania on Lake Victoria bordering
Description of Partners and Discipline/Research
U.S. Partners include the University of Cincinnati
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and
the UC student chapter of Engineers Without Borders.
Additional U.S. partners include the Cincinnati-based
Non Government Organization (NGO) Shirati Health Education
and Development Foundation (SHED). The focus of the
research is environmental health engineering and appropriate
technology to deliver drinking water, sanitation, and
to improve nutrition.
As part of prior NSF GK-12 STEP funding, Ms. Sarah
MS candidate at the University of Cincinnati, has visited
Tanzania, for two weeks in October 2005, October 2006,
and June 2007. During each of these visits, Sarah progressed
in her research to identify appropriate technology
to provide safe drinking water and
access to sanitation for the villagers of Shirati.
Sarah used her
experiences in Africa to develop a STEM lesson for
High School students who built materials for sifting
sand which were
subsequently taken to Tanzania and used by villagers
to construct slow sand filters for drinking water.
Working in Africa as part of a research project is
challenge because the individuals from the United States
must invest significant
effort to comprehend the local context of engineering
would be easier to simply apply Western solutions to
problems in Africa,
but this approach ignores the complex societal context
of Africa. Thus,
a major challenge for this research is to invest time
effective partnerships with local villagers in Shirati
so that a two-way
dialogue is established and the local villagers assume
ownership of appropriate technological solutions to
their self-identified priorities.
Ms. Sarah Pumphrey, a recent NSF GK-12 STEP Fellow,
work in Shirati from October 2007 through April 2008
as part of her
ongoing MS thesis project to examine appropriate technologies
drinking water and sanitation in and around Shirati.
advisor, Dr. Daniel B. Oerther (STEP-Co-PI),
will travel with Sarah in
October, and Dr. Anant R. Kukreti (STEP PI)
will lead a group of two NSF
GK-12 fellows, and two STEP teachers to visit Sarah
in January 2008.
The purpose of the group visit is for exchange of STEM
from Cincinnati to Shirati and the development of authentic
STEM teaching modules using Shirati as an example to
energize the local classrooms in Cincinnati Public
Schools. Another NSF program will
provide NSF REU support for an undergraduate engineering
student, Ms. Elizabeth
Dixon, to spend October 2007 through April 2008 in
Tanzania to accompany Sarah.
Profile date: August 2007