Community-Based Research of Local Water Systems in Northern Uganda and St. Monica Campus Site Water Plan
In June 2016 faculty and students from the Gallogly College of Engineering, the OU WaTER Center, Price College of Business and the College of Architecture traveled to Northern Uganda for a collaborative learning project intended to expose OU students to crosscultural professional contexts, gather data regarding local water use issues, and work with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to create a water plan for the two campuses they operate. The project was interdisciplinary in nature with planning, architecture, business and engineering disciplines collaborating with local communities to better understand local water systems and opportunities to improve local quality of life. There two aspects to the project. First, In order to gain some understanding of the water systems and the cultural context of life in Northern Uganda, the project used a community-based approach that relied on community members, with a primary focus on women, in three locations to create a concept map of local water systems. This included sources, uses, and everyday challenges facing the community. The overriding goal was to establish working relationships with communities that made it possible to build knowledge and solutions together in a mutually beneficial way. The approach used for data collection and plan development reflects the desire for long-term partnership in the area. Second, students worked with students and personnel at both St. Monica’s campuses to create a water demand assessment that estimated current usage/shortfalls and projected future demand based on proposed campus expansions.