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Elizabeth Trybula and Monique Long

Elizabeth Trybula and Monique Long

This past spring, ESE students, Elizabeth Trybula and Monique Long, were awarded several travel grants including the Blosser Environmental Grant, D. Woods Thomas Memorial Fund to Support International Studies, and funding from the Global Engineering Program. They also received funding support from their home departments, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Agronomy to conduct an exploratory study with ABEnviroSolutions out of Calgary, Canada to document current conditions influencing water resources and food security in rural Western Kenya. Their trip involved discussions with farmers, elders, committee leadership, small businesses, nongovernmental organizations, partnering universities, and extension agents. Visits took them from the city streets of Nairobi to the foothills of the Embu District; from the lush shambas (small farms) near Lake Victoria to the very edge of the vast Nakuru Crater. They also had the unique opportunity to watch Kenyan democracy in action, as they witnessed the 2010 referendum on a new Kenyan constitution.

Monique and Elizabeth planned this opportunity to serve as a first step towards a long-term relationship with the village water committee. Through this exchange, they hope to assist the committee as it addresses increasing nonpoint source impacts on drinking water supply, while learning from Kenyans in complex conditions including the ongoing issue of food security and land fragmentation. They are grateful for the kindness, hospitality, and support they received from Kenyan partners and Purdue University programs.

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