The Village Aid Project at Fort Lewis College, formerly known as Engineers Without Borders, began its journey in 2005. This student-centered initiative focuses on solving engineering challenges in developing communities. Partnering with these communities, VAP designs and constructs sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene systems.
Under the guidance of professors, professionals, and mentors, students are deeply involved in every phase of VAP. They acquire extensive knowledge and gain awareness of each project’s social, economic, environmental, political, ethical, and cultural impact. This program trains the new generations of students to understand the value of creating sustainable systems and practicing responsible global citizenship.
VAP is generously supported financially through charitable gifts from the FLC Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit.
Since its inception, more than 425 students, 75 community partners, and ten faculty have volunteered thousands of hours giving back to these communities. Projects occur in remote, underdeveloped areas that frequently lack reliable potable water, sanitation and energy systems, and other essential services. These communities consist primarily of subsistence farmers with little access to financial or technical support for building fundamental infrastructure.
VAP volunteers work abroad in Ecuador, Laos, Myanmar, Nicaragua, and Thailand. As a Native American-serving, Non-Tribal institution, FLC is uniquely positioned to expand VAP’s mission to address the critical energy needs of Indigenous communities in the American Southwest, including the Navajo Nation.
students participate in VAP projects each year
hours volunteered at VAP projects in 2022-23
communities served by VAP projects in 2022-23
Over two billion people worldwide do not have access to clean and safe drinking water, and approximately 3.6 billion people–46% of the world’s population–lack adequate sanitation services, according to the 2023 United Nations World Water Development Report.
Upgraded water and sanitation infrastructure are the first steps communities must take to improve lives. Provide water, and improved health, economic development, and education will follow.
VAP Water and Sanitation International works with some of the neediest communities in the world to develop sustainable water and sanitation systems.
According to a 2023 American Public Power Association statistic, 27% of households in the Navajo Nation lack access to electricity. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Navajo Nation is supremely situated to benefit from a clean, renewable energy source: solar power.
The VAP Solar Initiative launched in 2022 to design and install off-grid photovoltaic solar systems for families with critical energy needs in Indigenous communities. In its first year, the VAP Solar Initiative designed, installed, and commissioned three off-grid Photovoltaic systems. Each system included eight PV modules, four lithium-ion batteries, a 3000-watt inverter, a Charge Controller, an integrated generator charging function, and onboard system diagnostics.
Don May, Professor of Physics & EngineeringPhone: 970-247-7545Email: email@example.com
Laurie Williams, Professor of Physics & EngineeringPhone: 970-247-7160Email: firstname.lastname@example.org