Interns Working In Central America
Leah Amstutz and Braxton Jenkins
CoCoDA was honored to host two interns this summer. Leah Amstutz, a Master's degree student in Medicine and Public Health at Indiana University, and Braxton Jenkins, a junior Mechanical Engineering major at Valparaiso University, supported projects that CoCoDA carries out in the communities in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Improving Water Chlorination
Leah Amstutz' work focused on evaluating and making recommendations to several community based water systems in communities in El Salvador. These systems presently use chlorination as a method of water disinfection. However, a frequent complaint by the people in this communities is that the chlorine taste is too strong. Maintaining a stable level of chlorine that is adequate for disinfection, but not so high as to discourage the water's consumption, has been difficult in some of these communities. Leah's work looked at best practices for proper chlorination.
"I hope that my internship has helped to encourage the communities to continue chlorinating and that the suggestions I am developing can help the communities to better manage their water systems." Leah says.
Exploring Residential Solar Power
Braxton Jenkins traveled to El Cacao, Nicaragua. He evaluated a dysfunctional residential solar panel system that was installed 10 years ago by the government. He discovered most community members were not trained to monitor the components in their systems or address complications. He also determined the necessary repairs to improve the system. CoCoDA will be seeking funding to assist with the renovation and expansion of this project in 2020.
According to Braxton, "My recommendations included components that have successful track records in solar panel systems as well as sustainability guidelines. With a little work, these systems can function again."