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Patrick Sours named 2020 E4C Research Fellow

Patrick SoursPatrick Sours, Program Manager, Sustainable and Resilient Communities, and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, was awarded a five-month research fellowship by Engineering for Change (E4C).

The E4C Research Fellowship is a research-based, development program in social innovation. It serves to build engineering capacity and prepare talent to solve local and global challenges, and to create knowledge as a public good. Sours has extensive field experience from humanitarian engineering work in Tanzania, Ghana, Guatemala, and Honduras and viewed this opportunity as a natural extension of his efforts on Sustainable and Resilient Communities initiatives such as Maji Marwa. "I hope to be a leader in the engineering for global development space," he stated. "This fellowship will allow me to expand my current knowledge and experience and offer opportunities for the Maji Marwa program to establish collaboration outside the Ohio State community."

Fellows conduct targeted research assigned by the E4 organization. Sours' work will specifically address engineering technologies developed for countries where access to improved sanitation facilities is limited. His research findings will contribute directly to E4C's Solutions Library, an online database of products and services intended to serve global communities where natural or other resources are deficient. Many of these technologies would prove valuable in communities such as Marwa.

Sours will also engage in collaborations with Villgro, a social enterprise incubator based in India. The organization will share its successful strategic planning processes and education programs as it seeks deeper involvement with U.S.-based, social incubators.

Patrick Sours at work on the foundation of a rainwater harvesting tank, Marwa, Tanzania, May 2018.Currently, women and children in Marwa and neighboring villages spend several hours each day collecting water for basic needs. After the recent implementation of a robust rainwater harvesting system and the future design and construction of a water intake, filtration and distribution system for the village, Marwa residents will be able to concentrate on other endeavors that also support the community.

As a part of an international cohort of only 25 Fellows, selected from over 450 applicants,  Patrick was eager to engage in the numerous collaborations across engineering disciplines that the program nurtures among participants. Serving as an E4C Fellow also aligned with Sours’ passion for engineering and its relationship to international community development. "I hope to use my capacity as an engineer to alleviate some of the inequality and hardships that people around the world face by identifying solutions that promote equitable access to basic services such as healthcare, water, sanitation and food security," he said.

Founded in 2009, Engineering for Change's mission is "to prepare, educate and activate the international engineering workforce to improve the quality of life of underserved communities around the world."