For the past several months, Roux’s James Smyth, Senior Engineer at our New York headquarters, has been working with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives around the world through engineering projects.
James is working with a rural community in Rubaya, Rwanda, Africa to build an agricultural processing facility that will improve income and overall wellness of about 4,000 people. James has been applying his construction management and engineering expertise to develop the site civil plan. Additionally, he has reviewed the design of the facility for constructability, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness as it relates to the community’s needs; reviewed contractor submittals and contracts; and prepared the construction health and safety plan.
The Rubaya Program at the Engineers Without Borders New York (EWB-NY) Professional Chapter has been partnered with Goodneighbors, a maize farming cooperative in the northern Rwandan community of Rubaya, since July 2015. The goal of the partnership is to support Goodneighbors’ economic development by elevating existing small-scale agricultural practices into a sustainable, thriving industry.
The team has completed Phase 1 of the project, the design and construction of a maize storage facility that houses maize in proper conditions (see photos below). This allows farmers to sell their harvest at a premium price months after the season, when maize is no longer widely available.
James and his team are now working on Phase 2, the design and construction of a maize mill plant facility. This construction project will include a new access road, building, and mill equipment. This October, James has agreed to volunteer two weeks of his time to travel to Rwanda to help execute this crucial phase of the project.
The funding of this project is vital in advancing economic sustainability, food security, and entrepreneurship in a rural community with little capital but big dreams. James and his hard-working team are currently seeking financial support for the construction portion of the project’s next phase. To learn more, see EWB’s project page or donate here.