Cyclone Nargis, the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Myanmar, caused catastrophic destruction and at least 140,000 fatalities in 2008. In a bid to contribute to recovery of the cyclone-struck villages in Myanmar, Diploma in Chemical Engineering (DCHE) embarked on a water, sanitation and hygiene community service project that is imbued with Singapore Polytechnic (SP) curriculum initiative CDIO (Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate). The CDIO framework was implemented in DCHE in 2007 and has subsequently resulted in a major curriculum reframing to meet selected CDIO Standards (e.g., syllabus outcomes, integrated curriculum, integrated learning experiences and active learning). DCHE proposed a novel educational pedagogy that infuses CDIO framework into community service projects in 2009 and termed such CDIO-infused community service projects to be CDIOCS.
CDIOCS combine both the technical engineering content with specific CDIO skills (e.g., personal and professional skills and attributes, interpersonal skills) through conceiving, designing, implementing and operating engineering systems in real world situations. In addition, CDIOCS provide the experiential context for locating engineering practices not just in the technical and academic domain, but more importantly in the environmental, social and human conduct context. The first run of CDIOCS by DCHE involved a group of nine students led by one staff on a project on water, sanitation and hygiene (WSH) for the people of Yangon, Myanmar. CDIOCS WSH was funded by Archdiocese Crisis Coordination Team (ACCT) and conducted in collaboration with Singapore Membrane Technology Centre (SMTC) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Participating students designed and built or developed simple and cost-effective three-stage water filtration system that produces potable water from pond water, economical and ingenious pit latrine that is essentially smell-free, as well as culturally sensitive hygiene posters and animation videos for the school children in Yangon.