International Service Project - Nicaragua, Water for Waslala (Water Aid)

Service Learning - Nicaragua

Since 2004, faculty and students have partnered with Water for Waslala (now part of Water Aid) to evaluate water resources in Nicaragua’s low-income rural communities, and incorporate potential development projects into the undergraduate senior design curriculum. Students on these trips are expected to identify areas of need, and also build relationships with local partners and organizations in this central mountain region.

In addition to the design and implementation of 17 water supply networks and the improvement of water quality for 10,000 residents, multidisciplinary engineering work is also being done in the areas of renewable energy and communication systems (see Nova Mobile Health).

More recent work has included:

  • Technical support for water supply projects
  • Sustainable WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) and capacity building
  • Selecting pipe sizes for a new system in Los Mangos based on population elevation changes and distances between homes
  • Designing a suspension bridge for a stream crossing to support a network pipe

The local implementing partner for water supply projects in Nicaragua is ADIS: Asociaciûn de Desarrollo Integral y Sostenible. 

Service Learning - Nicaragua

Student Reflections

“The students are the real beneficiaries of this work. Not to downplay our role, but we have the chance to discover a new culture, apply our engineering skills and help the community execute this project; it’s a humbling experience.” – Andrew Golato, PhD candidate, 2017
(Read more about Andrew’s experience)

“It was interesting to discover the huge number of obstacles that stood in the way between a community and the construction of what would seem to be an extremely simple and small scale water system. My trip to Waslala was indeed an eye opening, enriching and rewarding experience. Trips like these really are once in a life time opportunities and the only regret I have is not going on one sooner.” —Philip Arets ’13 ME 


Water for Waslala, Fall 2014

Learn More

For more information or to help support international service projects, contact Director Jordan Ermilio at or 610-519-6859. You can also make a donation through the University website, designating your gift to “Engineering Service Learning.”