Exchange Program Participant from Bangladesh Creating Community Solutions During Fellowship

Maharam Dakua is currently in Mobile, Alabama as part of the U.S. State Department’s Community Solutions Program. For four-months, Maharam, an emerging international leader in civil engineering, is working with American counterparts at Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, collaborating on projects here that will provide skills and ideas for creating lasting change in his home community.

Maharam will be joining an Auburn University team hired by MBNEP to work in the Toulminville area of the Three-Mile Creek Watershed. The project is aimed at developing a model to help Mobile County and city planners make science based decisions related to capital improvement budgets for infrastructure maintenance. His primary role will be to learn about community concerns related to flooding and water pollution and to engage the residents in learning about best practices for managing and reducing water volumes and other sources of pollution. While in the U.S., he will also learn to use computer models as a tool for projecting impacts of stormwater runoff and sea level rise, information that will be helpful in designing infrastructure maintenance programs.

Maharam worked on water resource management and sanitation in both urban and rural areas of Bangladesh as Project Coordinator for his organization. He has conducted research and managed sustainable water distribution projects with limited resources, especially for low-income people. He also worked as a facilitator in training programs on rainwater harvesting and water safety plans for academicians, sector professionals and students in Bangladesh.

Started in 2010, the Community Solutions Program is a professional development program for global community leaders working in the fields of transparency and accountability, tolerance and conflict resolution, environmental issues, and women and gender issues. During their fellowships, the emerging leaders spend up to 400 hours learning leadership and organizational skills through training courses and more than 600 hours at their U.S. host organizations. The fellows also design community development projects that they implement upon returning to their home countries.

The State Department partners with IREX to identify and place engaged leaders who are committed to the ideal that individual efforts can fight poverty and discrimination, correct inequalities, cultivate peace, and develop new approaches to environmental issues. “Maharam arrived with his sleeves rolled up- ready to learn, get into the field, and make a difference. He immediately became a part of the MBNEP team and we look forward to working with him to continue the excitement surrounding the restoration of Three Mile Creek,“ commented Roberta Swann, Director.