The families who have a stake in the first fish pond. They will take responsibility for its upkeep and security, as the primary beneficiaries of its production.
A large portion of Eastern Uganda is characterized by impoverished, rural farmland. Minimal technical infrastructure is in place and consequently many communities are still lacking basic essentials. There is little job specialization within this region--the main source of income for families living is sustained through minimal surpluses from subsistence farming. One Ugandan NGO, the Serere Local Fish Farming Initiative (SELOCOFFI), set out to inspire members of its community to build their own fish ponds in order to supplement their income and create a community-wide specialization. While this resulted in the construction of over thirty ponds, SELOCOFFI has since partnered with the Fordham Engineers Without Borders to build a series of model fish ponds. These fish ponds will serve primarily as bases of knowledge for the community, yet they will be functioning sources of income for the community members as well.
First Assessment Trip
In the winter of 2014, EWB Fordham conducted its first assessment trip to the Omorio Village. The team, consisting of Elaina Mansley and Grace Bolan (Co-Presidents), Christopher Mazzeo (Vice President), JJ Monro (Secretary), Rebecca Borrero (Technical Lead), and Professor Gil Singco, Ph.D. (Faculty Mentor), spent twelve days in the village to gather relevant data. The team visited thirty-four fish farming sites in the surrounding area to assess the successes and failures of each venture. Land surveys and assessments of water supply were conducted to determine a suitable site for the first fish pond.
Beyond the technical accomplishments of the trip, the team successfully established a relationship with the families of the Omorio Village, the primary beneficiaries of the fish farm. The community reaffirmed its support and dedication to the success of this project, stating that the income generated from the ponds will assist it in supporting its most disadvantaged members. Local political and religious leaders also met with members of the team to graciously offer their support.
The start of the fall semester of 2015 saw the beginning of the design process for Fish Pond 1, to be constructed east of the Omorio Village. Over the course of five months, the team completed all necessary EWB paperwork--the Alternatives Analysis, Draft Final Design, and Pre-Implementation Reports--to secure approval for the first implementation trip, planned for March 2016. Under the guidance of the professional mentor team and the watchful eye of an EWB-USA project engineer, the designs reached completion and were presented to the Northeast Regional Technical Advisory Committee on January 14th, 2016.