Mapili – Research Task 1

At the start of the year, I knew for my research project that my goal was to find a culturally-sensitive technological solution to a specific problem in the world today.  While gaining general background on the world’s issues, I came across the water scarcity issue in Ethiopia due to Egypt’s historical claims to the Nile River, and found that it was very ironic that over 80% of the Nile River originates in Ethiopia, yet Ethiopia struggles to quench the thirst of its people.  Part of what is contributing to this issue is that Ethiopia does not have the economic nor the political power to fight for water.   This is an extremely important issue, since it has been predicted that the populations for both countries are expected to increase dramatically, causes more strain on water resources.  A war over water between the two countries is definitely possible, and will become more likely if this issue is not solved properly.

I have a list of topics which I have found information to be used in my final paper, such as what specific resources and the kind of power Ethiopia currently has and does not have, the government’s role in the situation, and coverage of various water harvesting techniques.  Other topics I plan on covering but have yet to find information on are the people’s role in this situation, Ethiopia’s lifestyle, culture, and values, and the engineering design process.

The goal of my project has changed recently, and it is no longer to find a specific solution to this problem, since there are already many solutions out there for this problem and similar water scarcity problems, and many of them work well.  However, for the solutions that are not effectively solving this issue, I will analyze why they are not working well, as well as address some factors for problems like these that are constantly forgotten about.  With this project, I am challenging the engineering design process in order to alter it a little so that more effective and sustainable solutions could be created in the future, not just with this particular issue or others like it, but for all issues which use engineering to solve.

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