Volunteering their time and unique skills, a team of Delmarva Power engineers are making the dream of clean water for the children at Kenya’s Imurtot Primary School a reality, while demonstrating that our employees’ volunteer efforts are making a difference at home and around the world.
The team traveled to Kenya with the Newark Delaware Professional chapter of Engineers Without Borders for their Kenya Rainwater Catchment Project. Their objective: build the school a sustainable drinking water solution. The project began in 2016 when Kim Teoli, a Delmarva Power engineer, and other Engineers Without Borders volunteers travelled to Kenya to assess the school for a rainwater catchment system and design an action plan to build the project.
Currently, students must walk miles to a water source before school and bring water to the school for drinking and cooking. For the students, the Delmarva Power team’s work means they can focus on their education without worrying about where they’ll get clean drinking water. They benefit. The community benefits.
It is just one of many volunteer efforts Delmarva Power employees launched in 2017, as they gave nearly 11,300 hours of their free time helping hundreds of organizations throughout Delaware, Maryland, and in the case of Engineers Without Borders, Africa. While we pride ourselves on our commitment to community involvement where we live and work, our employees have a history of such service around the world.
Five Engineers Without Borders members made the second trip to Kenya, including two other Delmarva Power employees: Ranjit Sackey and John Cimino. This was the first construction trip and the engineers installed a rainwater harvesting system on two school buildings, including gutters, downspouts, and water storage tanks. They also designed an operations and maintenance plan for the community so they can manage the rainwater harvesting systems themselves.
“The best part about being involved with Engineers Without Borders is being on-site in the community,” said Kim, who was the 2016 Delmarva Power Volunteerism Achievement Award winner. “The welcome we received when we arrived at the school was overwhelming. We were instantly surrounded by 550 excited students. It motivates me.”
The team will make at least five follow-up visits over the next four years, installing the rainwater catchment system and teaching the community how to use and manage it. The volunteers hope that the design and construction plans can be used as a guide for the community to implement the system at other locations.
Delmarva Power supports employee volunteer activities through its Energy for the Community program, which connects employees with volunteer opportunities and recognizes their efforts. In 2016, Kim’s work helped earn Engineers Without Borders’ Newark Delaware Professional Chapter a $10,000 grant from Delmarva Power to support the Kenya Rainwater Catchment Project.