In January, Kristofer Goddard (MRP’12), Maren Hill (MRP ’13), Ben Koffel (MRP ’12), and Stefanie Levner (MBA ’12) traveled to Honduras to participate in this program. Their client was AguaClara, a Cornell engineering organization that designs gravity-fed water treatment plants, built with locally available materials, and operated by technicians with less than a high school education. The primary task of the group was to document the success of the projects and develop a public relations plan and associated collateral that AguaClara could use to communicate with potential partners and donors. Throughout the two weeks the students were in Honduras they visited several communities with operating plants and met with local water board officials to learn more about the governance models that have made the plants successful. “The trip was a fantastic experience to collaborate so closely with engineers and to understand both the technology and the governance structures that enable successful municipal service delivery in emerging markets,” said Ben Koffel. Professor Mildred Warner also joined the students for a few days to investigate the governance models that go alongside the technology. Students also recorded and conducted approximately forty interviews with users about the impact that clean water has on their health. This information will be used to help AguaClara communicate its successes.
(Information provided by Ben Koffel)