News & Insights

Building Bridges, Building Futures: Introba Joins Bridges to Prosperity in Rwanda

Building Bridges, Building Futures: Introba Joins Bridges to Prosperity in Rwanda

Insights & Perspectives

Introba is proud to participate in the Bridges to Prosperity rural infrastructure development program for the first time this year. Our journey began with a shared vision to make a tangible difference in communities that need it the most, and we're partnering with Sidara and other global alliance partners at TYLin and Dar to send a dedicated team to Rwanda, where they will help build the Muregeya Trail Bridge in Karongi. Senior Project Manager Mary Anne Speidel from our Los Angeles office will represent Introba in this inspiring endeavor.

About the Team

The selection process for the volunteer team was very competitive, drawing over 100 applications from employees eager to contribute to this impactful project. After a rigorous evaluation process, 10 outstanding volunteers were chosen, with Mary Anne selected to represent Introba.

The team will spend two weeks onsite to finish the construction, while living and working with local community members to bring this bridge to its inauguration. This experience is about more than just building a structure; it's an opportunity to forge lasting connections and learn from the people they are helping. Read more about the whole project team here.

Mary Anne

About Mary Anne

Mary Anne will act as project lead the project, and her critical role leverages her deep project management expertise to lead diverse team members and navigate a very complex project.

Expressing her excitement for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we spoke to Mary Anne as she prepared for her trip to Rwanda:

What does being a part of this experience mean to you? 

Being a part of this experience is a whole bunch of emotions for me! Personally, I am so thankful for the opportunity to give back to a community in need and excited to embrace this new experience. Professionally, I’m humbled to be part of such an incredible, diverse, intelligent team and honored to represent Introba across the globe!

What compelled you to apply for this project, and why did you select the role of team lead? 

When I saw this opportunity, I immediately was drawn to it since it seemed like the perfect combination of using my professional expertise to help others in need, which is rare. Although I was interested in helping with this project in any capacity, I was naturally drawn to the role of project lead since I act as a project manager in my day-to-day life (and being a mechanical engineer, I didn’t know how much help I could be with building a bridge!)

How do you connect, personally or professionally, to this project? 

Bridges to Prosperity believes that connection is the foundation for opportunity, and that vision means so much in the physical sense and the figurative sense. I love connecting with different people; it's one of the joys of being a project manager. I believe that connecting others to what they need (whether it be services, information, etc.) is important, and I operate with that mentality in my everyday life.

What have you learned in preparation for this project? 

This is my first project working with a global team, and it has been incredible. I'm definitely learning how to accommodate multiple time zones, but I've also learned how to better adapt my communication style to different personalities and cultures. I've always been a fan of construction (which is how I ended up in this career!), so I'm looking forward to being onsite and learning so much more about bridge construction specifically.

How do you hope to continue to make a positive impact upon return from this experience? 

Obviously, I believe we will make a positive impact with a completed bridge, but I really hope to spread awareness and promote participation in this program for years to come. There is really nothing like it, and I wish everyone could have the opportunity to experience such an awesome project!

About the Project

For the residents who live near the future Muregeya trail bridge location, the Muregeya River is synonymous with missed opportunity. During the rainy season, life can be cruel to the local communities who rely on crossing the river to reach an array of critical resources. The river stays flooded and poses a great danger to anyone who attempts to cross it. During these times, the river becomes dangerous and often deadly to anyone attempting to cross. The people in the communities have had businesses and work disrupted waiting for water levels to recede so that they can cross.

Most people turn back during the rainy season and don't even attempt to cross. As a result, children cannot attend schools located on the other side of the river. Other resources the communities become cut off from include the health center and markets. The Muregeya Hybrid Suspension Bridge will provide safe, year-round access for the surrounding communities, providing access to opportunities to empower the communities out of poverty.

About the Experience

At Introba, we view this project with Bridges to Prosperity as more than just a physical bridge; it's a bridge between poverty and prosperity. By unlocking access to critical facilities, we help eliminate the rural isolation that contributes to poverty.

We will share interviews and stories from Mary Anne, other volunteers, community members, and local residents. These narratives will offer a glimpse into life in Rwanda and the positive impact of our bridge-building efforts. We invite you to follow along and support Mary Anne as she represents Introba in this rewarding adventure.

Join us in this journey as we build not just a bridge, but also hope and opportunities for a community in need.

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