Baylor's 'Engineers With A Mission' Expands To Non-Profit

May 4, 2009

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A unique Christian organization that mobilizes engineering students to serve the people of developing countries is expanding to become a national non-profit.

Baylor University's "Engineers with a Mission" has expanded to Global Appropriate Technology Ministries. The organization will serve as a non-profit engineering consulting agency for foreign mission projects around the world.

"What we envision this new non-profit to be is kind of a sourcing agency for mission projects that if, for example, you need a civil engineer and electrical engineer to come out and build a water purification system or install solar panels for an orphanage in Africa, we can provide that," said Brian Thomas, senior lecturer of electrical and computer engineering at Baylor, who acts as the faculty adviser to Engineers with a Mission. "The engineers would usually volunteer their time and expertise, however, in some cases, the money we raise will be used to pay them at least a portion of their salaries and travel expenses."

Engineers with a Mission utilizes engineering students to serve the people of developing countries with their technical skills through appropriate technology projects and mission-oriented trips abroad. The pilot chapter was established at Baylor in 2004 by Thomas.

Thomas said the idea is that Global Appropriate Technology Ministries could provide mission trips with engineers of all disciplines, from electrical engineers to mechanical to civil engineers.

Baylor's Engineers with a Mission also is expanding its coverage on the group's latest trip to Honduras in a few weeks. With 10 students and two Baylor faculty, it will be the largest group ever to travel together to the Central American country. The group will split into two smaller groups and will travel to two separate cities.

In the first village, Danta Uno, which is located in the north central part of Honduras, Baylor engineering students will install a circuit breaker device that will allow residents to have electricity 24-hours a day, rather than just a few hours at night. Last year, Baylor students installed a micro-hydroelectric generator, which supplied small amounts of power to the village. The students also installed power lines to the homes and electrical meters, however, the metered system will no longer be used after students install the new circuit breaker device. The village will be on a fixed-rate tier system for electricity.

In the second village, Pueblo Nuevo, a group of Baylor engineering students will being installing another micro-hydroelectric generator, which should provide electricity to about 60 homes. The electricity generated will be used for home lighting. Most of the residents are poor agricultural farmers and use homemade kerosene "candils" for home lighting. The candils are glass jars of kerosene with a cloth wick cut from old clothing. They are costly, give poor light and are a fire hazard. The trip will be the third time a Baylor engineering group has traveled to Pueblo Nuevo.

For more information or to support Engineers with a Mission, contact Brian Thomas at (254) 710-4190.

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