project of engagement with civil society

Since I, Rita Pestana, have returned in late February to Ecuador, to start my second year as a Europe Aid volunteer, I have been busy. In between re-establishing contacts, attending meetings and scientific events,… The most interesting activity I am currently participating in, is a project of engagement with civil society from the Faculty of Engineering in Geology and Petroleum from the Escuela Politécnica Nacional.

Proyecto de vinculación con la sociedad

In Ecuador, on some universities, the students have to attend a minimum amount of hours of engagement with civil society, in order to obtain their diplomas. These projects have to engage both professors/researchers and students from the university and should benefit communities and community members. Particularly for students of the engineering and exact sciences degrees, it can be the first time they have an experience dealing directly with communities.

We were invited by the engineer Eliana Jimenez to contribute to a research on socio-economic and environmental vulnerability on communities that live along the margins of a road on the South of Quito, and that are (or have the possibility to be in the near future) exposed to the risk of landslides. The final aim of the project is to obtain the zoning of the susceptibility to mass movements, joining the results of the research on socio-economic vulnerability with the results of the application of geological and topographic methods, including drone obtained data.

Risk zones susceptibility to mass movements

So, I have done bibliographic research on socio-economic vulnerability, designed a draft of a questionnaire to apply to the residents of the area and a guide to perform interviews with local and community authorities, with the support of some of my team’s colleagues. On the 28th of February, me and my colleague Jael Mora who is also actively participating on this activity, joined the EPN group on a recognition visit to the studied area. The application of the questionnaire is predicted to happen in the end of May-beginning of June.

Earthquake Ambato 1949

I am also actively participating on a collaboration with the organization NEO. The aim is to collectively create a project on risk prevention. So far we are exploring the possibility of doing an exhibition in Ambato, about the 1949 earthquake.