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Awards Program and Election of Officers

Our Annual Meeting is a celebration of the season and a evening full of inspiration!  In addition to our election of officers we will be presenting two student scholarships, celebrating the winners of this year’s Green Giants Awards and hearing from Kent Hicks on the work he is doing building in support of women’s education in Ethiopia.

5:30  Hors d’oeuvres & cash bar

6:00  WMAIA Annual Meeting, elections, student scholarship and presentation of Green Giant Awards.

Buffet Dinner

Following the dinner there will be a presentation by our speaker, Kent Hicks, entitled Addressing Climate: Building for Girls in Ethiopia.  You may know Kent Hicks, Affiliate WMAIA, of Kent Hicks Construction Co. for the energy efficient homes he has been building for over twenty-five years in the Pioneer Valley. Recently Kent has put his skills to use with a different type of project — designing hostels for girls and a small school in East Africa.

This project was inspired after Kent read the book Drawdown, which identified, in order of impact eighty of the most significant ways to reverse climate change — girls’ education was number six.  After reaching out to local, national and global non-profit organizations Kent decided to work with the non-profit organization International Institution of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR). Their focus is education and more specifically, supporting girls’ education in areas that are underserved by the government or other NGOs. They have been very successful in building hostels for girls who don’t attend schools in remote regions because of the danger and distance to travel.

In 2019 Kent visited schools in Ethiopia with the staff of IIRR (who are all Ethiopian) and met with the National Department of Education and Hawassa University faculty and students in the Department of Engineering. He’ll be teaching for several weeks this winter at Bule Hora University. The university students will be designing hostels for girls and a small school that has been destroyed by termite infestation. The project will provide opportunities for high school young women nearby to be mentored by the university students as part of the design/development team and to coordinate with local workers in preparation for building in September 2020.

Kent will also be forging a local connection related to this project.  He will teach a January term class through the BCT and Architecture Programs at UMass/Amherst in which students will design and build a transportable ecological shelter. Local inner city high school young women will also participate with the university students. Upon completion, the building will be displayed at various events and schools and then sold with all funds going toward supporting girls’ and young women’s education.

This should be a fascinating and inspiring talk – and it’s only Part I – we hope Kent will fill us in after the work in Ethiopia is completed in 2020.

This program is sponsored by Keiter Builders and Pella Windows.

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