In August of 2013, the Cabell Brand team joined Kissito International, engineers from VMI and Engineers Without Borders on a trip to Uganda. The goal was assess drinking water quality in the Mbale mountain region after recent landslides which may have jeopardized precious local water sources. After assessment, the plan of action became training villagers how to build and maintain biofiltration water systems as a sustainable source of clean drinking water. This powerless, low maintenance biofiltration system invovles basic materials available locally (plastic drums and PVC pipes) and washed sand from the local river. The team sketched out the plans, built a model with villagers, and then filled it with sand, gravel and water making clean water available within 72 hours. These simple systems can provide clean water for a houehold indefinitely as long as the sand is regularly changed. The team also surveyed a nearby area for the installation of a larger version of the system which could provide clean water on a village-wide scale.
The Cabell Brand Center has played an integral part in creating Washington & Lee University's Shepherd Program founded by Tom Shepherd and Dr. Harlan Beckley. Mr. Cabell Brand has been a key advisor and fervent advocate of the program since it's inception in 1997 and the CBC continues to offer scholarhsips for this program today.
The Shepherd Program integrates academic study and learning through service and reflection; it endeavors to inform students about poverty and what can be done to foster human capabilities for communities and individuals who have been left behind in domestic and international development. The Shepherd Program seeks to offer opportunities for students to acquire skills and qualities of character that dispose them to serve communities and disadvantaged individuals.
Students combine interdisciplinary and disciplined-based coursework on poverty with direct service in their areas of special interest (for example, business, education, health, law or community organizing) in order to supplement their major areas of study. Some students receive a minor in the study of poverty and human capability. For many, their coursework culminates in a capstone seminar and research project that connects their concerns about poverty to their future careers, such as papers on financial credit for vulnerable families or micro-lending in developing nations.