Global Brigades is an international non-profit that empowers communities to meet their health and economic goals through university volunteers and local teams.

Engineering Brigades FAQ

What is the objective of Engineering Brigades?

The objective of Engineering Brigades is to unite volunteers and under-resourced communities to develop and implement clean water projects through community assessment, water quality monitoring, water treatment, infrastructural development, community leader training, and hygiene, sanitation and water education.

What major need is Engineering Brigades addressing?

In the rural communities where Global Brigades works, families often have little or no access to sufficient quality nor quantity of water. Without sufficient clean water, the health of entire communities is affected, since water is fundamental for everyday activities including drinking, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining personal and household hygiene. The goal of Engineering Brigades is to connect volunteers with communities to implement sustainable, community-based solutions to address these dire water needs.

Who gets involved in Engineering Brigades?

Volunteers of all interests and academic disciplines are encouraged to participate in Engineering Brigades. It is helpful to have studied college math or engineering at an introductory level.

Do I need engineering or construction experience?

Basic engineering or math skills at the college level are helpful for the brigade.

How are projects/communities chosen?

We concentrate on communities with an established Global Brigades presence in order to take advantage of our already established reputation. From there, we use data collected by our research and evaluation team to identify new community water projects based on their water needs.

What does the Engineering Brigades Team do to prepare for an Engineering Brigade?

The centralized water systems designed by Engineering Brigades require a lot of preparation prior to volunteers arriving in country for the brigade. The Engineering Brigades Team works with community members to legally secure access to the water source, clear brush from possible pipelines to allow for measurement, and organize and train the water council and basic sanitation committee.

What does a community do to prepare for an Engineering Brigade?

Several weeks in advance, the community engages in a number of activities to prepare for an Engineering Brigade. These activities include, but are not limited to, establishing a new Water Council and Basic Sanitation Committee, clearing areas for the design of the new system, organizing work groups, and clearing brush that impedes measurement. They also fit their brigade project into their daily work schedules and balance it with commitments to other Global Brigades disciplines present in the community.

What does a volunteer do on an Engineering Brigade?

A volunteer’s Engineering Brigade experience includes hands-on design of a centralized water system, testing of existing water systems to ensure that they continue providing high-quality water, interaction and cultural exchange with community members, and meeting with the Water Council and the Basic Sanitation Committee.

What does the community do on an Engineering Brigade?

The community is an integral part to every Engineering Brigade. Whether it is helping volunteers measure a long stretch of pipeline or marking GPS points or welcoming volunteers into their homes, community members are involved in every aspect of an Engineering Brigade. Members of the community also complete trainings and form a fully functioning Water Council and Basic Sanitation Committee that help ensure the sustainability of the water project once it has been designed and built.

Who builds the system that an Engineering Brigade designs?

After Engineering Brigades have designed a viable centralized water system, construction begins. Water Brigaders join community members to dig trenches, lay pipeline, construct chlorination tanks, and build dams. The length of time needed to finish a project varies depending on the size of the project and ranges from 2 months – 1 year.

What does a volunteer do to prepare for a Engineering Brigade?

For all brigade planning tools, volunteers should visit the Volunteer Resource Site. For Engineering Brigades specifics, please see “What to Expect on Your Engineering Brigade.” Be sure to reference the Engineering Pre-Brigade Curriculum.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of volunteers for groups?

For University Chapters, there is a minimum of 10 volunteers. To fairly serve a community’s needs, this number is non-negotiable. The maximum number of volunteers varies per country.

Where do the funds I raise go?

Volunteers do not pay to participate in an Engineering Brigade. Instead, volunteers fundraise to support Global Brigades’ Holistic Model. Once a volunteer meets a set Donation Goal, they are eligible to join us on-the-ground to see their fundraising efforts put into action by participating in an Engineering Brigade.

When a volunteer participates in an Engineering Brigade, the volunteer’s ground transportation, food, lodging, and emergency insurance are all covered. The funding that the volunteer raised also supports all the necessary costs for program implementation, such as construction supplies, coordinators, masons, translators, and support staff.

Visit our financials page to learn about how donor funds are utilized.

Is this safe?

The safety of the volunteers is Global Brigades’ number one priority and is the single most important consideration when entering a community or choosing a project. Each country that Global Brigades serves in has implemented safety protocols and policies to decrease any risk of danger and to ensure that any emergency can be properly handled in a prompt and professional manner. For more information on safety precautions, emergency procedures and insurance information, please visit Safety and Insurance on the Volunteer Resource Site.

This sounds great. How do I get involved?

First, find out if your university has an Engineering Brigades Chapter by searching for your school on the Chapters page. If your school does not have a Chapter, fill out the form below to get connected to one of our staff members.

This DONATION is non-refundable

This DONATION is non-refundable Global Brigades, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your donation will be used to further Global Brigades' mission and will be allocated toward the program you selected. This donation will not be utilized to fulfill a chapter or a volunteer's fundraising goal. Read Global Brigades, Inc's full Donation Refund Policy here.

Looking to donate to support a volunteer's fundraising goal? Find their Global Brigades Chapter by searching our Chapters map and then selecting their upcoming brigade. If you need help finding their chapter, you can ask the volunteer to send you their brigade's specific website link or you can contact us.

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