Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has a strong presence in the Highlands of Guatemala and several local EWB college chapters choose to work in the area.  Our trips are a means of solidifying and honoring our partnership.

The trips foster opportunities to build and celebrate essential relationships with Guatemalan Rotarians and community members.  The people who live in the villages impacted by the projects greatly appreciate that we care enough to show up for them.  And, we do our best to ensure the projects are needed and wanted by the community, not by outsiders, which is essential for the long-term sustainability of the work.  We bear witness to the integrity of the work allowing us to assure the funders that the money was used as intended – which also supports our future efforts to fund Global Grants in partnership with other Rotary Clubs.

It is critical that we have strong and trusting relationships with the Rotarians in Guatemala – relationships that are best built face to face.  Implementing a Global Grant is not for the faint of heart.  The upfront work in preparing the grant request is formidable and can’t be done from Milwaukee alone.  We count on Guatemalan Rotarians to monitor on-going progress, pay bills and work with us to prepare and submit interim and final reports to the Rotary Foundation.

Fellow travelers find the experience of working alongside students and community members to be a very rewarding part of the trip; however, it is probably the least valuable of the contributions that we make to the community.  The Guatemalan Highlands have plenty of able-bodied men and women to work.  The people of Guatemala need the funding and the expertise that we can provide.

However, I would be remiss not to say that the projects undertaken by the EWB teams are very valuable learning experiences for the students and our club has been glad to financially support these efforts as we can.  The students raise the money, design the project, and then work alongside the community to get it done.  Working on a project near home would not provide the same level of learning.

This trip provides a chance of a lifetime to work side by side with our partner organizations and the local community in Guatemala.  You will witness, firsthand, how impactful our work has been and continues to be.