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Water and Power in Africa: Issues in Developing both Technical and Human Capacity for Critical Needs

Updated: Jun 24, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The February program focused on Education and Health, two of WIL’s Economic Empowerment Principles. An interactive panel discussion was facilitated by WIL member Carol Cunningham.

We learned about:

  • Power Up Gambia (PUG), a nonprofit formed to provide improved health care in The Gambia, West Africa through solar energy. Power Up Gambia drives to ensure that its projects are successful and sustainable, with the ultimate goal that the doctors and nurses working in Gambia need not worry about whether the lights and power will be there to meet medical needs. Dr. Lynne McConville will share how Power Up Gambia (PUG) ultimately addresses women’s health issues to create a higher standard of living.

  • World Vision’s work in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for more than 50 years. World Vision believes that every child deserves clean water. Potable water is the essential building block of life that allows children and their communities to survive and flourish. The WASH Capacity Building Program addresses the human resource needs of World Vision, providing competency-based training programs. Drexel University has collaborated to help develop a series of courses to address the practical training needs of WASH

About our Panel

Dr. Lynne McConville is the Executive Director of Power Up Gambia, and Dr Shannon P. Márquez, Vice Provost for Global Health and International Development & Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health at Drexel University. Lynn McConville began her interest in development work in Africa while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal working on village based forestry projects. Since her Peace Corps service, she has worked on the dynamics of old growth forests, the impact of acid rain on deciduous forests, wetland studies for both local engineering firms and the US Army Corps of Engineers, as well as having been an environmental educator for the nonprofit group Pennsylvania Resources Council. Her interest in the environment and alternative energy led her to Power Up Gambia, where she has been the Executive Director for the last 10 years.

Dr. Shannon P. Márquez is the Vice Provost for Global Health & International Development at Drexel University where she provides leadership in developing interdisciplinary and inter-professional academic initiatives and research partnerships in global health with partners around the world. In addition, as Vice Provost she serves as the Director (and Founder) of the Dornsife Global Development Scholars Program (, which leverages an innovative capacity-building partnership between Drexel and World Vision International to provide global health training, experiential learning and funding for faculty/student research and student field experiences in 36 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. As an experienced senior leader in global health and “public health engineer,” Dr. Márquez has garnered international recognition for her work in water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH); health systems strengthening and capacity building; and the environmental burden of disease in developing countries. She holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Prairie View A&M University; a master’s in civil engineering from Texas A&M University; and a PhD in environmental sciences and engineering from the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.


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