In the province of South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, a list of over 270 communities hangs above my desk: Mubondwe, Bulinzi, Karhwa...Each project is labeled school, health center, market, road, or water and includes a status: in process, contract, construction, or complete. My office is one of five that makes up the largest community-level reconstruction effort in Africa–we have completed well over 1,500 projects to date. After joining the team in January of this year, we began a second phase of the program to complete 1,200 projects by June 2014. Since my arrival, we have broken ground on 50 new projects in South Kivu alone.
After several years working in the States, I grew tired of creating spaces that were simply beautiful. I started to feel the urge to design buildings that would improve lives not only because they were attractive, but also because they were essential. I now do this with my team, which consists of one engineer, five technical supervisors, and 30 technicians, all employed by the International Rescue Committee (IRC).