Fairfield U. grad helps turn tide for safer water supplies in Tanzania
Published 5:40 pm, Thursday, March 10, 2011
After earning an engineering degree from Fairfield University last year, Christina Klecker headed to Africa where the 22-year-old is using her knowledge to improve the water collection and purification systems in Tanzania.
"I want to incorporate my education and background in engineering, because that is a valuable resource in the world," Klecker, a native of New Fairfield, said in a statement issued by the university. She said Fairfield U. had an influence on her decision to take that trip.
Her ultimate goal is to provide sustainable water availability to rural communities suffering from drought and plagued by disease from unclean water sources.
While Klecker said there are many organizations at work in Tanzania installing expensive water systems, there's still an unmet need and that's where she thinks she can help.
"They do not include people in the plans," Klecker said. "Once the system needs repairs, the people realized that no one in the town was trained to fix the complicated equipment. That is why I intend to work with the community members to solve the problem."
Now nearly fluent in Swahili, Klecker's mission involves trying to build bridges of communication with residents and educating them on how to operate, service and repair the water systems, traveling from village to village to do so.
"This will allow me to learn more about their resourceful methods of problem solving while developing a stronger relationship and improving cross-cultural understanding," she said.
While at Fairfield U., Klecker took service trips to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and another to Belize that laid the groundwork for moving to Tanzania. She received a scholarship from Rotary District 7980 for the Africa project.
People can follow Klecker's project via her blog at http://ckleckerinafrica.blogspot.com/.
State Rep. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), ranking member of the legislature's Government Administration and Elections, said the panel is evaluating the efficiencies and possible savings recommended by the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes.
Hwang's committee now will schedule public hearings on the matter.
The recommendations range from consolidating state economic development entities to consolidating back office operations of various social-service agencies to reducing postage and paper costs by using electronic filing.
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