EIA Welcomes New Staff Member!

Posted on: July 10, 2012

Lauren Butler, our new
EIA/IEMB Volunteer Engineering Liaison
Engineers in Action is excited to announce a new staff person: 

Ms. Lauren Butler: EIA/IEMB Engineering Liaison.
Lauren is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and in Dance. Lauren was the President of EWB-Minnesota, one of the largest, most active EWB chapters in the US and she did a EWB project in Guatemala. She is also a person of great faith, and very active in her home church.
Lauren is uniquely qualified for this job. She speaks Spanish well. She’s an engineer. She understands the issues in organizing and fund-raising related to leading a team to the Third World, which will help her guide these new, yet-to-be-created Church Engineer-led VIM teams. She’s organized and used to working with volunteers. And she dances! (We dance a lot in Bolivia.)

Lauren received 4 days of training in being a long-term volunteer in the third world from the United Methodist Church and will begin fund-raising for her support. She will raise her own funds for her time in Bolivia. Her current commitment is to volunteer for a minimum of one year.


Lauren will serve as a liaison between EIA and the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en Bolivia (IEMB) to bring engineering solutions to the basic needs of remote villages related to the Evangelical Methodist Church of Bolivia. These projects will include building a new Medical clinic in Capayqui; bringing water to villages with IEMB Health Posts; and bringing other engineering infrastructures such as irrigation, sanitation, and erosion control to villages with a Methodist presence. She will help develop and work with church engineering Volunteers In Mission teams. These will NOT be EWB teams, but VIM teams with an engineering focus. She will work with the communities to set infrastructure priorities and then help find teams to design, fund raise, and build the projects.

EIA grew out of the partnership of the Methodist Churches of Oklahoma and Bolivia. However, now, EIA is completely autonomous from both Methodist Churches, and is non-sectarian. We’ve been asked by the Bolivian government to work in the 50 poorest Municipalities (counties) of Bolivia (the poorest country in S.A.) So we work literally with the ‘poorest of the poor’. Usually these Municipalities are so remote there aren’t any churches in them. However, we still have contacts with the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en Bolivia (IEMB) and they often come to us asking for help. But we can no longer provide assistance to these villages because ONLY 80% of the Municipality lives on less $2/day, not 85% which is required. THEY AREN’T POOR – – ENOUGH.


Lauren in Guatemala

We also don’t work in these communities because EWB chapters would prefer to not work with church organizations, and much of EIA’s funding doesn’t come from Methodists. However, now that we have a long-term volunteer through the Church, we can help these ‘Methodist’ villages and projects, without using general funds or messing with our non-faith based status.
Lauren will be traveling to Bolivia in late August, early September to begin working for us.
WELCOME LAUREN. Your time, your faith, and your commitment are going to literally save lives, and impact the faith of dozens, if not hundreds of people.