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Belfast QUEST scholars in Kenya fundraising push  

09 October 2019

Civil engineers Ryan Dillon and Amy Wright are heading to Africa to help provide sanitation facilities to poor communities. 

Belfast QUEST scholars in Kenya fundraising push  

QUEST Award winners and civil engineers Ryan Dillon and Amy Wright are preparing for a trip of a lifetime providing clean and efficient sanitation services to poor communities in Kenya.

The couple, who are engaged to be married, are fundraising in a bid to raise money for Sanivation – a charity dedicated to improving the dignity, health and environment of communities in East Africa by delivering safe sanitation.

Thanks to financial support from ICE’s QUEST fund, Dillon, a site agent with Farrans Construction, and Wright, a senior civil engineer with Design ID, will head to Kenya later this month to advise on the construction of new waste treatment plants.


The Belfast-based couple have been volunteering for Sanivation throughout 2019, advising on the feasibility of the new sanitation plants, which transform faecal sludge into biomass fuel briquettes that can be sold to cover the operational costs of the plant.

Wright, who originally hails from Sunderland, said: “It’s been an honour to work with Sanivation during the past few months and we can’t wait to actually get there and see these treatment facilities develop.

“The plants enable thousands of people living in slums access to improved sanitation through the removal and treatment of infectious waste. So far, 20,000 people have benefited from the plants - leading to a 47% reduction in diarrhoeal diseases in the area.

“Locals are also employed to operate the plants and sell the biomass fuel briquettes, ensuring the benefits are as widespread as possible, while the use of the briquettes reduces pollution and saves thousands of trees from destruction every year.”

QUEST awards

Dillon, who received the QUEST Travel Award, and Wright, the Eloise Plunkett QUEST Award, both from ICE, will act as resident consultants to Sanivation while in Kenya, advising on everything from design, tendering, constructability, quality processes and setting up robust health and safety procedures.

During their five-week trip, they will live in local housing and will visit Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, to make links with local organisations with the aim of fostering long-term working relationships and returning in the future.

Dillon said: “Sanivation is an amazing organisation, offering a lifeline to thousands of people by providing something as simple as clean sanitation, which we take for granted every day.

The pair are raising money to help fund the treatment plants and are seeking donations from local businesses and the general public. For more information, or to donate, email [email protected].

  • Jenny Green, regional director Northern Ireland at Institution of Civil Engineers