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THE PHILIPPINES

Philippines Project Overview

In 2014, the EWB-UD chapter learned of a potential project in Ubujan, Inabanga, Philippines.  After careful deliberation and an organization-wide vote, we decided to choose this project based on many factors such as health, safety, need of the community, strength of the connection with the community, and sustainability of the project.  Our connection to the community is very strong through a former member of the organization, and her grandmother, Concepcion Muneses. Concepcion Muneses is originally from the Philippines, lived in the United States for many years, and travels frequently between the US and the Philippines.  She came to us with the community’s need for safe, potable drinking water. The typhoon seasons, from November to April and June to September, leave the region especially vulnerable. The significant number of large storms causes damage to property and floods the public water sources with salt water. In addition, all water sources in Ubujan are contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria. Water quality concerns and seasonal susceptibility are the main motivations for this program. 

There are approximately 1,200 people in the community who would benefit from the assistance of EWB-UD. Their main sources of income are farming and trading. The average monthly income in the community is around $116/family.

 Assessment

Since learning of this need in Ubujan, we have put a great deal of time and effort into fostering a relationship with the community, and learning more about the island of Bohol it resides on. In addition, the Philippines program has gathered a strong Technical Advisory Board including a design engineer, construction lead, international development lead, sustainability adviser, and hydrology & geological sciences expert to aid us through the design process. The organization took its first trip to Ubujan in August 2015 to begin learning about the community and its specific concerns. EWB-UD again travelled in January 2016 for a second assessment to further assess water quality and begin educational programs for the community. A third and final assessment trip was conducted in January of 2018 to finalize the pipeline route, perform a yield test on the well, and meet with potential contractors. These assessment trips allowed the team to create a suitable design to address Ubujan’s needs.

Implementation  

The team then conducted two implementation trips: The first implementation trip in January of 2019 allowed the team to start construction of the water distribution and disinfection system and conduct household surveys about rainwater catchment in the community. The household surveys are helping us prepare a proposal for a rainwater catchment system in the community. 

The second implementation trip is the team’s most recent trip taking place in January of 2020. This trip included wrapping up construction and making sure the design was working as intended. The completed design includes a shed which houses the chlorination system, supplies, and access to the borehole. The chlorinated water is stored in an elevated reservoir which distributes potable water to four different tap stands to half of the community using over 1000 meters of piping. The system is designed to provide clean drinking and cooking water to an estimated 500 community members.

Typhoon Odette Relief

In mid December of 2021, the Philippines was hit by one of the most powerful typhoons in recent history, Typhoon Odette. EWB-UD’s partner community of Ubujan laid directly in the path of the typhoon, which caused the destruction of homes and damage to the sensitive power grid. After receiving news of Typhoon Odette, the Philippines team reached out to the government officials of Ubujan to assist with recovery efforts. Initial updates showed that the water system developed over the previous years is undamaged, but not functional without electricity.

The Philippines team and members of Ubujan worked together to form a disaster relief plan that would assist the several hundred families that live in the community. Disaster relief funds provided by the project team went towards a generator and diesel fuel that would power the water system while the power grid is offline. Additionally, bulk quantities of rice were purchased to be distributed between the families. Ubujan was able to distribute the rice and get the generator running in mid February, nearly two months after Typhoon Odette made landfall. Members of EWB-UD are happy to hear about the steady recovery of Ubujan, and look forward to working with the community more into the future.

Travel Blog

Photos from our 2020 implementation trip

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