Books related to our project work in Benin (Ebook and print editions available here.)

In The Big Forest. By Susan Norwood, Bradley Striebig. 2011.  Across the ocean in West Africa is a small country called Benin. In Benin there is a village called Zoungbomey, which means “in the big forest.” The people who live in Zoungbomey had a dream. They dreamed that one day they would be able to buy a machine to help them make palm oil. This would help the village buy healthy food to eat, help them send their children to the school, and help them see a doctor when they are sick. But saving enough money to buy the palm oil machine was going to take a long time. The village needed some help to make its dream come true. This book tells the story of how people from different places and cultures worked together to help the people in Zoungbomey realize their dream. The book is written especially with young readers in mind (2nd to 8th grade) and it tells the story of partners working to promote sustainable development in Zoungbomey, Benin.


Water in Benin: An Example of Sustainable Development in Benin, West Africa. By Susan Norwood and Bradley Striebig. 2008. Benin is a country of approximately 8.5 million people. Nearly a third of this population lacks access to water that is fit to drink. Bacteria caused water-related diseases are the leading cause of childhood mortality in the developing world resulting in nearly 6,000 deaths each day. The Songhai Center has produced more than 400 drinking water filters and continues to work with JMU and GU to improve the manufacturing process, improve health education in Benin and create effective marking plans to bring these filters into homes in local communities. This book documents a small first step in the development of water treatment technologies, health education, and incorporation of a holistic approach to improving the health of the average Benineese citizen.


W.A.T.E.R.: West African Technology, Education, and Reciprocity. By Bradley Striebig. 2007. "In the age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind to even his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference." - Rachel Carson The water crisis in sub-Saharan Africa is critical. Lack of clean water is the leading reason that hospital beds in Africa are full, and yet most who are sick from bad water cannot seek medical attention. Addressing the shortage of clean water in developing nations will take investments of money, time, and resources. Seventeen students traveled to Benin in West Africa. They trained staff at the Songhai Center in Porto-Novo how to make effective drinking water filters. This is just one of many stories about innovative ways of tackling the water crisis - all of the successful stories involve leadership, community building and personal sacrifice.



Peer-reviewed reports and articles about our work

  • Striebig, B., Lougbegnon, L. and Norwood, S. 2015. Experiencing community development through experiential learning. 16th Annual Conference of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium: Engaged Scholarship: Advancing Rigor, Elevating Impact. September 28 - 30, 2015. State College, PA.

  • Striebig, B. 2015. Social leadership and economic development as a prerequisite to meeting technical needs. Religion, Ruptures, Race and Global Peace, 7th Africana Studies Annual Interdisciplinary Conference, October 29-30, 2015. James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
  • Matthews, D., Shapiro, A., Morton, S. and Striebig, B. 2014. Development of a Microbial Fuel Cell for Developing Communities. Student presentation at the Virginia Environment Symposium, Lexington, VA. April 9, 2014. 
  • Jones, B., Ford, M., Fuller, E., Kitchen, G., Tavanger, A., and Striebig, B. Water for Zoungbomey, Benin. 2014. Advisor: Bradley Striebig. Presented at the 2014 Energy and Sustainability Conference, February 12, Richmond, VA.
  • Striebig, Ogundipe, Amini, Anderson, Haling, Morrison, Sanmiguel, Smith, Wolfe. “An interactive sustainable infrastructure design model for health clinics in sub-Saharan Africa.” Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Seattle, Washington, October 21 - 24, 2012.
  • Akerson, Norwood, and Striebig. “Building Partnerships and Coalitions for Better International Programs.” 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Public Health Association: Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds and Bodies, Washington DC October 29th – November 2nd, 2011.
  • In The Big Forest: A Story of Dreams Coming True. 2011. Susan Norwood and Bradley Striebig.  - This is a self-published photo essay, designed specifically to encourage young readers (3rd – 6th grades) to encourage understanding about sustainable development and interest in STEM fields. The story was featured in interviews with Professional Photographer Martin Bailey on his web-based show, WMRA’s Virginia Insight and several invited presentations in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington (State).
  • Norwood, Striebig and Jeannot. 2010. Developing and Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Experience. Nurse Educator. 35(4):148-149.
  • Striebig, Gieber, Cohen, Norwood, Godfrey, and Elliot. 2010. Implementation of a Ceramic Water Filter Manufacturing Process at the Songhai Center: A Case Study in Benin. International Water Association’s World Water Congress in Montreal 2010. 
  • Smieja, J.A., Vernon, A. and Striebig, B. 2010.  “Water treatment using ceramic filters amended with activated carbon.”  239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.  San Francisco, California, March 21-25, 2010.
  • Striebig, B.A. and Norwood, S. 2009. West African Technology, Education and Reciprocity (WATER) Implementation. American Society for Engineering Education. Nat’l Conference Presentation. 
  • Norwood, S. and Striebig, B. 2009. WATER : A Model Partnership for Sustainable Development and International Education. ASEE Nat’l Conference 2009.
  • Striebig, B.,  Atwood, S., Johnson, B., Lemkau, B., Shamrell, J., Spuler, P., Stanek, K., Vernon, A., Young., J. 2007. “Activated carbon amended ceramic drinking water filters for Benin.” Journal of Engineering for Sustainable Development. 2(1):1-12. 
  • “A Sustainable Infrastructure Paradigm: Engineers as Agents of Change” Stormwater: The Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals. January/February, 2007.
  • Striebig, B. Rowden, K. and Jantzen, T. 2006. “Ethical considerations of the short-term and long-term health impacts, costs, and educational value of sustainable development projects” Journal of Science and Engineering Ethics. 12(2):345-354.
  • Striebig, B., Jantzen, T., Rowden, K., Dacquisto, J. and R. Reyes. 2006. “Learning Sustainability by Design.” Environmental Engineering Science. 23(3):439-450.
  • “Hands on Compassion” Gonzaga University. 2006.
  • “Talent, Technology, and Compassion” Private Colleges and Universities. 2006.
  • “The world has not forgotten us” Report of the President and Honor Roll, Gonzaga University. 2005.
  • Striebig, B., Rowden, K., Boger, K., Culbreth, I., Hardy, D., Jantzen, T., Langenhuizen, B., Olson, C., and Raleigh, M. 2005. “Appropriate Technology Focused Design in Benin” 2005 AEESP Research and Education Conference: Pushing the Boundaries: Making Research and Education in Environmental Engineering and Science Count. July 23-27, 2005. Potsdam, NY.
  • Striebig, B., Jantzen, T. and Rowden, K. “Ethical considerations of the short-term and long-term health impacts, costs, and educational value of sustainable development project.” Ethics and Social Responsibility in Engineering Technology: Linking Workplace Ethics and Education. June 9-10, 2005. Los Angeles, CA.

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