In May 2018, a group of Baylor engineering students will fly to Uganda, Africa, to teach local trade school students how to build a Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) at the Village of Hope (VOH). VOH offers housing, family reconnections, school, skills training and medical care for refugees of children from recent civil wars.

The funds for this project were generously provided by Bill Baker of Dallas. Baker has partnered with VOH for many years, and once he heard about the BUV program, he knew he wanted to get involved. Rather than purchase a BUV or fund the building of one to be shipped over to Uganda, Baker wanted to send a team into the community to show them how to build the vehicle on their own.

Dr. Douglas Smith, associate professor of mechanical engineering and graduate program director, is the faculty advisor on the project.

“Our goal is to teach the VOH trade school students how to build the BUV,” Dr. Smith said. “In doing so, they learn a lot about building the car, the Ugandan farmers will get a BUV to help in transportation of goods such as water, food, crops and people, and our students will learn a lot about the culture in Uganda and how to get engineering projects done in developing countries.”

Through this experience, the team of engineering students will be given a unique opportunity to apply their education through leadership and service.

“Our students will get the chance to use their engineering skills to help others,” Dr. Smith said. “They will apply engineering knowledge learned here at Baylor to make a difference in the lives of others in Uganda. They will get to see first-hand how they can use their gifts while seeing how important it is to work alongside others in this developing country to get a project through to completion.”