Sa' Nima' Collaborative
Larissa Wermers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Anne George (email@example.com)
Project Location(s): Coban, Guatemala
Current Focus: We are a student-run organization by the University of Michigan's BLUElab. Along with our partner NGO, CasaSito, we focus on identifying and executing sustainable development solutions in rural Guatemala. This past semester, we have been working on two new projects involving CasaSito scholarship-recipients and their families. The first is focused on prototyping more efficient stoves that reduce smoke output and require less firewood. Our goal is to decrease the portion of family income going towards buying wood, as well as decreasing the risk for smoke-related illnesses. The second project is focused on developing sustainable washing machines to be used within communities. These will be portable, make the washing process more efficient, and serve as a potential source of income.
Mission: Our mission is to collaborate with communities to meet their needs by developing and implementing engineering projects that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable while striving to equip leaders to solve challenges using the principles of socially engaged design and create meaningful experiences for University of Michigan students.
Vision: We partner with families in Guatemala who spend the majority of their monthly income on basic items such as electricity, firewood, and food. Our team aims to design engineering projects that will reduce the percentage that the families are spending on these items either by reducing the use of basic items or by finding a way to increase family income overall.
Team History: Sa’ Nima’ Collaborative began as its own independent group, which worked with the community of Samox San Lucas, Guatemala to develop a biosand water filter for a local schoolyard. The group members also worked with the schools to teach English and conducted STEM workshops after school. In 2014 Sa' Nima' joined as an official project team of the University of Michigan College of Engineering's BLUELab. That year Sa' Nima' began to pursue a solar lantern project in Samox, Guatemala. The team worked for two years to design and implement these lanterns, but finances and communication led the team to reevaluate and move to the community of Primavera del Ixcán, Guatemala which shares many of Sa' Nima's values. There, Sa' Nima' worked on clean water storage solutions. Today, Sa' Nima' is expanding our reach to work with CasaSito scholarship-recipients all over rural Guatemala to implement sustainable solutions to their most pressing needs using the fundamental principles of socially-engaged design.
COVID-19: Since the pandemic began, our team has had to postpone travel to the community itself. Over the past year and a half of virtual meetings, the team has worked on ideation and virtual prototypes, while having zoom meeting with our community partner. With the shift to in-person learning, we hope to begin physical prototyping and to travel again in the upcoming year.
Partner Organization: CasaSito
For updates on Sa' Nima', follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Website!