Boeing grant

WWU chapter of Engineers Without Borders receives grant from Boeing for power project in Peru

The Walla Walla University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (WWU-EWB) has received a $5,000 grant from the Boeing Company to help fund their solar project in Japura, Peru. Last year, WWU-EWB successfully completed a project that brought water to the small village of less than 300 people. Water was not the only thing required in the community. Due to its small size and remote location in the Andes Mountains, the village is often overlooked by the local government for improvements. After WWU-EWB completed the water project, it was apparent to the team that the people also needed a source of electricity.

The goal for this year’s project is to provide more than 70 individual homes with solar power units to provide basic lighting and power sockets. Access to power and lighting has a huge impact on how people live their lives. With no lights to illuminate their homes at night, children often have a hard time completing their studies before the sun sets, and community members can’t work on their crafts. With the new solar power units, Japura will be able to operate later into the evening, which will improve academic prospects for children and productivity for adults. Power sockets will allow small appliances, radios, and cell phones to be powered, which will better connect the community to the outside world.

The WWU-EWB project has reached the final design stage. This summer, 2016 graduate Lauren Pernu traveled to Peru and installed a test system which proved the viability of the project. Since then the design team has been hard at work designing a standardized system that can be installed in Japura homes. They are currently consulting with a technical mentor before the plans are sent for final approval by the main Engineers Without Borders (EWB) organization. Once approved, WWU-EWB will make the arrangements for workers to install the solar units in homes. Mission trips are being planned for spring and summer of 2017 to help install and finish the project.

As an official EWB project, the Japura lighting project qualified for funding from EWB and its partners. WWU-EWB filed for a grant with EWB this fall, which resulted in the $5,000 gant from Boeing. This money will enable WWU-EWB to purchase the solar panels, lights, sockets, and other equipment for the project. This is not the first time Boeing has helped fund a WWU-EWB project. They provided $3,000 in spring 2014 to help with the water project as well.

“Walla Walla University is very grateful to Boeing for supporting the EWB student chapter here at Walla Walla University with the funds needed to help us accomplish our goal,” says Simon Ionashku, WWU-EWB assistant. “This project will benefit the community of Japura as well as the students as they learn technical skills while helping those less fortunate.”

Learn more about WWU-EWB projects, watch videos from Peru, read the WWU-EWB blog, and find ways you can help at

Posted on December 14, 2016

Lauren Pernu '16 and residents of Japura under the first illuminated lightbulb
EWB-WWU thanks Boeing for their generous gift