With hopes of bringing clean, running water to those in need, the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) club on campus is sponsoring a benefit concert to raise funds for its work in Nicaragua.
Sunday’s “Agua for Nicaragua” concert will feature four bands that have agreed to play free of charge.
The club is attempting to raise money for an upcoming project that involves going to a small village in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, to create a reliable water source for village members.
“The poverty is really great over there (in Nicaragua) and usually the biggest thing is water. These villages don’t have access to clean, running water,” said mechanical engineering senior Daniel Silveira, an EWB member and benefit concert coordinator.
Kevin Toqe, a communications senior and acoustic artist, starts the show at 6 p.m. in Chumash Auditorium. Other performances include The Kicks, a reggae group comprised of Cal Poly graduates, the Fresno-based rock band Jellyfish Tree, and Rademacher, another rock band from Fresno, to close out the show.
Tickets for the event are $7 in advance and $9 at the door and can be purchased at Boo Boo Records.
EWB members finished a project this summer in Nicaragua that involved developing a water storage facility for a clinic in the village of Nueva Vida. The club was able to build water tanks to store excess water because the village does not have running water throughout the day; water is usually only available to the villagers between midnight and 6 a.m. The water tanks are now hooked up to the clinic and allow villagers to have access to water during the day.
“We try to find projects that will help the community as a whole,” said civil engineering senior Otto Melara, an EWB member and public relations coordinator.
Silveira added, “We don’t go over there to do the work for them – we do the work with them. We educate them on how to use the material and the key is that these are developing communities. They are not able to grow as a community because they have to focus so much on getting the most bare necessity, which is water.”
Club members stay five years with a certain community to ensure their work is truly serving the people. EWB plans on returning to the village of Nueva Vida this spring to assess the old project and make sure everything is running smoothly in the community.
“We go there; we use engineering to help them solve this problem and then we teach them how to use it and maintain it,” Silveira said. “We stay in contact with them – it’s a relationship. We don’t just go and leave.”
Cal Poly’s EWB club is broken up into three teams – Nicaragua, Thailand and Southeast Asia – to better serve the developing communities in these areas.
The club begins by taking an exploratory trip to a given area, where club members evaluate the needs of various communities. Then there is an assessment trip after a project idea has been developed. The club figures out what is needed and how the details of the project will work out. Finally, an implementation trip begins the execution of the project.
The club relies heavily on grants, scholarships, sponsors and fundraising events like the benefit concert Sunday, because EWB members have to finance the projects themselves.
Melara said, “We try as hard as we can to get money from outside sources, but sometimes we are, of course, going to fall short of our target financial goal.” In these cases, club members have to “pay out of their own pockets” to fulfill their plans.
All proceeds from the concert will benefit the efforts of the club and help support their work in Nicaragua.
In addition to the concert, T-shirts will be available for purchase along with a raffle sponsored by Three Ink Screen Printing, Starbucks, Planet Beach Tanning Salon and Trader Joe’s.