The molecule is made up of three little atoms—two of the hydrogen variety and one oxygen. But the combined structure makes up a key element essential to life.
While water is abundant on Earth—about 71 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by it—clean, drinkable water isn’t. According to actionagainsthunger.org, nearly two billion people worldwide drink unsafe water. But this summer, two College of Idaho students are working to fix that problem.
C of I juniors Unoziba Moyo and Moha Azhar Mudaqiq have been awarded $10,000 grants to fund Davis Projects for Peace. The students’ projects seek to bring clean water to their home countries of Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, respectively. Out of 90 schools to receive Davis funding, the C of I was one of only 17 to have multiple projects funded. It is the first time the College has had two projects selected in one year.
“When I saw the opportunity [to apply for the project], I thought about one thing that is important in people’s lives, and water is important,” Moyo said. “Everyone has water needs.”
This summer, Moyo will travel to rural Zimbabwe—an area where his grandparents are from—to tackle the issue of unsanitary water. Zimbabweans have to walk long distances every day to get water, causing many children to miss school. Having a nearby water source will allow people to focus on developing their lives, and not spending so much time collecting a basic element of life, Moyo said.
His project will consist of three parts. The first part is drilling boreholes to access groundwater for wells. The second will set up a rainwater collection system so water can be collected during the rainy season and stored in 5,000-liter tanks for use throughout the year. Final stage will involve educating people about hygiene, such as how to boil the water before drinking.
“Allowing them to have clean water access, it’s going to change their lives,” Moyo said.
When Mudaqiq went home last year to visit his parents, they were talking about the issue of clean water in Afghanistan and how the Taliban is poisoning well water, especially near schools. It has caused a lot of student deaths in Mudaqiq’s province.
“I thought, ‘How can I help?’” he said.
Through his Davis Project, Mudaqiq will help by covering well openings and installing a mechanical water pump. Mudaqiq will first make sure the wells are deep enough to provide clean water. If they’re not deep enough, he’ll dig them deeper and insert a pipe into the clean water and connect it to a mechanical pump. Then a concrete plate will be placed over the wells.
“The best part is that the Taliban won’t have access to (poison) the water well,” Mudaqiq said.
With each poisoning, people are becoming more fearful of sending their kids to school, Mudaqiq said. But his project will not only help students go to school without fear, but also will help decrease illnesses such as cholera, since no foreign objects can fall into the wells.
Mudaqiq originally thought his project was nothing more than a pipe dream. After learning that his project would be the second choice submitted by the College (Moyo’s project was ranked first), Mudaqiq had little faith that his project would be selected. He tried to find other ways of funding it, but nothing worked out. Little did he know a surprise awaited.
“I can’t describe my happiness,” Mudaqiq said. “My grandmother used to tell me that if you really want to do something nice for this world, opportunities will come. You just need to start it.”
The College of Idaho has had a Davis Project for Peace funded in eight consecutive years. Students previously completed projects in Haiti, India, Malawi, Tanzania, Egypt, Ecuador and Brazil. To learn more about Davis Projects for Peace, visit www.davisprojectsforpeace.org.
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.