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Jacobs Volunteer Team Travels to Sierra Leone to Help Redefine What’s Possible

A team of eight Jacobs employees from the U.K. traveled to the West Africa country of Sierra Leone to develop a sustainable surface water drainage strategy for Home Leone’s Destiny Village project.

At the end of October, a team of eight Jacobs employees from the U.K. traveled to the West Africa country of Sierra Leone on a voluntary trip organized by Home Leone. The non-profit organization is developing a new community, Destiny Village, relocating more than 2,000 people from across Freetown’s 62 slums, to new secure low-cost homes.

Home Leone adopts a holistic approach —  providing jobs, education, social infrastructure, utilities and health facilities. Its community design and layout, environmental considerations, social justice initiatives and skills training ensure this innovative, community-led relocation model provides life-changing opportunity for its residents.

The new “greenfield” village in Sierra Leone will contain 344 culturally relevant homes a place where each resettled family has a job and the prospect of owning their own home in 7-20 years. Solar power, potable running water to each home and an effective sewage system means village health indicators will be above average. This initiative also develops innovative eco-friendly solutions with waste/resource management and recycling.

Challenged to develop a surface water drainage strategy that would alleviate rainy season flood water impacts on the buildings, roads and footpaths in the site, the Jacobs team set out on the task ahead at Destiny Village. Our solution involved collecting rainfall run-off from roofs and diverting the water away from structures into natural channels to a safe outlet point. We then implemented this design on a small section of the site and performed knowledge transfer of the sustainable drainage solution to the village residents, so they could continue with the work.

“This was a once in a lifetime experience for all of us in the group,” reflects Jacobs Civil Engineer Hannah Roberts. “It was very rewarding to be able to use our engineering knowledge to devise a collaborative and sustainable solution for the Destiny Village community.”

Hannah joined other Jacobs’ thinkers and doers Lucy May, Katie Moore, Cashfya Cazi, Simon Kendler, Dimitrios Bouloumpasis, Loredana Robu, Shaunette Babb and community partners to apply their civil engineering knowledge to truly make the world more connected and more sustainable for the residents of Destiny Village.

With a goal of advancing this innovative community project, the team also raised over £7000 prior to the trip to aid in the funding of further construction at the village.

Sustainable Outcomes

From the way we operate our business, to the work we perform with clients and other organizations, we continue to look at ways we can make a positive environmental, societal and economic difference for businesses, governments and communities around the world.

Learn more about our commitment to sustainability here: http://www.jacobs.com/about/sustainability

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