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The EWB Iowa Professional Chapter is only able to implement projects through charitable donations, sponsorships and grants. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to DONATE TODAY.



Read About Our Trips

Every time we travel, we have some great experiences. We share some of our stories in our blog. You can also learn about upcoming local events as well as plans for future trips.

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Engineers Without Borders Iowa Professional Chapter


EWB Iowa Professional Chapter spreads both the vision and the mission of EWB-USA by partnering with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects. The Chapter engages developing communities in resolving particular infrastructure needs that the community itself has identified. Projects include, but are not limited to, the design and construction of water distribution, wastewater treatment, sanitation, energy, and shelter systems. The overall objective of every project is to incorporate and train the community in all phases of the sustainable projects to ensure ownership, appropriateness, and long-term effectiveness.


EWB involves professionals and students from a variety of professions including engineering, public health, anthropology, geology, business, communications, and graphic design. EWB Iowa Professional Chapter works together with EWB-USA, EcoViva and other university chapters  to improve the quality of life in partner communities. Students are involved in every step of the process, enabling them to learn firsthand about solutions to the problems of the developing world.


The Mangrove Forests of El Salvador

About 110 species are considered "mangroves", in the sense of being a tree that grows in such a saline swamp.  For comparison, the tropical rainforest biome contains thousands of tree species, but this is not to say mangrove forests lack diversity. Though the trees themselves are few in species, the ecosystem that these trees create provides a home (habitat) for a great variety of other species.

Mangrove swamps protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surge (especially during hurricanes), and tsunamis. The mangroves' massive root systems are efficient at dissipating wave energy. While this is a benefit, the ability can be fleeting in the face of these phenomena.  Mangrove swamps typically grow in areas where wave action is low. Large storms or prolonged high seas can severely damage them. In the process, habitat for algae, barnacles, oysters, sponges and bryozoans can disappear, as it did after the storms in El Salvador in 1998. This disruption in the food chain has had devastating effects on the people of the region. The efforts to restore and protect this ecosystem continue to this day.



The work of EcoViva

The EWB Iowa Professional Chapter joins EcoViva and their partners in The Mangrove Alliance to protect El Salvador’s estuary and mangrove forest ecosystems, including the Bay of Jiquilisco. It is the largest protected area in the country at over 100,000 acres and was named a UN-recognized Ramsar Convention Wetland of International Importance in 2005 and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2007

The Mangrove Alliance is a coalition of community-based conservation organizations concerned with protecting the mangrove forests of El Salvador. The Alliance was established in 2016 to facillitate coordination and collaboration among all the stakeholders concerned with the wellbeing of the mangrove forests of El Salvador.

The Mangrove Alliance’s strategy consists of three interconnected parts: (1) community-led stewardship of mangrove forest ecosystems, (2) action-oriented scientific research to strengthen conservation and restoration initiatives, and (3) smart coastal policy that puts the wellbeing of local people and the environment first.

Learn how to Volunteer

While EWB-USA projects focus primarily on engineering, volunteers come from a variety of fields such as public health, international development, marketing, accounting, and IT. We welcome a diversity of backgrounds to help us meet basic human needs worldwide. Looking for a new volunteer opportunity? Engineering change is a team effort, and everyone has an important role to play in our mission to build a better world.  EWB-USA offers a variety of options for skilled professionals, corporate and student volunteers. Read more...

You can also volunteer to help us at the University of Iowa Chapter. It may not involve travel, but it will lend a hand.


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Support EWB-IC Today


It takes a lot of people - and considerable time - to support our mission of clean water and a safer, healthier world. Please consider volunteering time or making a donation.

Recent Blog Posts

A summary of the group's last full day in El Salvador until May.
Another successful day at Isla Montecristo!
The happenings on Day 2 of the February trip to El Salvador.
Travel and arrival on the first day of February's El Salvador trip.

Our Next Destination

In 2018, members from our chapter traveled to the Bay of Jiquilisco area in El Salvador to work on safe water projects for the Mangrove Association. We plan to return to the area and continue our projects in 2021.