In spring 2007, the people of Makili, a small agricultural village in Mali, approached their local Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) about creating a year-round fish farm. With the support of the village chief, the villagers proposed that a seasonal watering hole on the edge of the village could be used as the project site. The local PCV, Kyle Lotier, submitted a 501 project application to Engineers Without Borders (EWB-USA), and in October of 2007 the University of Pittsburgh Student Chapter (EWB-PITT) were approved to work on the project. In May of 2008, EWB-PITT sent a team of four students and three professionals to Makili to perform a site assessment and determine the feasibility of the fish farm project. During March of 2009, a professional mentor went to the village to show the villagers the initial pond designs and get their feedback. The villagers informed us that the proposed pond was too small, and as designed it would flood. Based on this knowledge, we chose not to implement, and planned a second project assessment instead. In May of 2009 EWB-PITT sent a second team of four students and two professionals to Makili to perform an additional site assessment to gain further information on the watershed. They additionally conducted a health assessment of the villagers.
In March of 2010, a team of three students and one professional went to Mali to oversee the construction of the fish farm. In August of that year, another group of students returned to oversee the training of the village fish farm management committee and the stocking of the fish farm. A second monitoring trip was conducted in May of 2011, at which time the pond seemed to be successful. The peace corp volunteer, Mike Thibert, who was present during the last monitoring trip was working with the villagers to help them correctly maintain the fish farm. Pitt-EWB has officially closed out the Makili Fish Farm project.
- To enhance the quality of life of the villagers of Makili
- Impart the practices of fish farming on the villagers of Makili
- To gain meaningful engineering experience and use our knowledge to give back