- Why is EWB needed?
- Does EWB focus on community development or disaster relief?
- Are there EWB organisations in other countries?
- Is there a role for non-engineers in EWB's work?
- How do I volunteer overseas with EWB?
- How long are your overseas assignments?
- Does EWB offer internships for University students?
- How does EWB raise funds?
- How can I donate on a regular basis?
- Is there an EWB chapter near me?
- I'm still at university, how can I get involved?
- What is the EWB Challenge?
- I still have a question, who can I talk to?
Why is EWB needed?
EWB is needed due to the critical role that engineering, technology and infrastructure play in achieving effective and sustained change for communities.
One of the most pressing issues facing humanity today is world poverty. This dilemma has been identifed in the UN Millennium Development Goals. These goals include halving the 3 billion poor people who live on less than $2 per day, halving the 800 million who are hungry, and halving the 1 billion who don't have access to safe water.
Developing communities require improved access to engineering skills, knowledge and appropriate technology. For this engineering to be sustainable, the local technical sector needs to develop the capacity to produce innovative, appropriate and sustainable solutions for their community’s needs.
In Australia, we need to ensure that our lifestyles, the policies of our government and the operations of our companies do not contribute to the problem or pose excessive barriers to the development of less fortunate communities. EWB addresses these needs by energising its members to promote human development, help build technical capacity in disadvantaged communities, and encouraging pro-development social change in Australia.
What countries does EWB work in?
EWB is currently working in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Timor Leste and Australia. In the past, we have also worked in partnership with organisations in Laos, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Does EWB focus on community development or disaster relief?
EWB focuses on community development, not disaster relief.
The images of people suffering from disasters or protracted hardship are heart-wrenching. Our immediate reaction is to help in any way we can. There is no doubt that engineering skills are useful in such situations such as finding access to water for new refugee camps, setting up temporary housing or arranging logistics.
However, EWB focuses on the challenges of long-term development. If the principle of disaster relief is speed – to rapidly react to emergencies as they arise - then the principle of development is patient capacity building. This involves empowering local partners and communities to identify their needs, share knowledge and to connect communities with the appropriate resources.
Find out more about engineers working on disaster relief through RedR.
Are there EWB organisations in other countries?
The idea of Engineers Without Borders tapping into the engineering profession to help in development is not revolutionary, nor is the name. As a result, there are a number of organisations with similar mandates in many countries.
These include (yet are not limited to):
- Engineers Without Borders - NZ
- Engineers Without Borders - UK
- Engineers for a Sustainable World USA (formerly EWF - USA)
- Engineers Without Borders - USA
- Engineers Without Borders - Canada
- Ingeniería Sin Fronteras (Spain)
- Ingénieurs Sans Frontières - France
- Ingenjörer och Naturvetare utan Gränser-Sverige (EWB - Sweden)
- Ingeniører uden Grænser (Denmark)
- Ingénieurs Sans Frontières - Ingénieurs Assistance Internationale (ISF - Belgium)
Each of these organisations is legally independent. An international network exists to promote knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Each organisation has different mission statements, development beliefs, areas of operations, expertise, ambitions, and experience. As we continue to build an organisation in Australia that does exemplary development work, we will share our experiences and approach with others.
Is there a role for non-engineers in EWB's work?
Engineering and technology are only one component of development, and as such EWB needs people with a variety of backgrounds. Individuals from a wide range of occupations, including engineers, architects, planners and project managers go on overseas placements. There is always an engineering component in this work.
However, in Australia there are many varied volunteering roles that require non-technical backgrounds including community development, education, sciences, social services, communications, marketing, fundraising and others are all welcome to apply for accredited positions and join as members.
How do I volunteer overseas with EWB?
To volunteer overseas with EWB, you will need to apply for one of our placements. There are two intakes per year and they are advertised through EWB's website. You will need to demonstrate that you meet the personal and professional attributes required of all EWB volunteers and by the specific position description.
Most positions require you to have a qualification and relevant professional experience, however all applications are welcomed and encouraged by students, graduates and professionals.
Find out more about our placements.
How long are your overseas assignments?
Each assignment has a specified period, which has been determined by the partner organisation and EWB as being adequate for completing the work involved. Each placement is typically 12 months. Shorter assignments are useful for conducting reviews, completing discrete projects, or identifying areas for training and future improvement.
Does EWB offer internships for University students?
Student internships are advertised on the Careers section of the EWB website.
If you are a student looking for an experience overseas find out more about our Dialogues on Development Program.
How does EWB raise funds?
The success of EWB is critically dependent on the support of individuals, foundations and corporations through their generous donations and in-kind support. Find out more about where the money goes.
How can I donate on a regular basis?
You can join EWB's monthly donor program. You decide how much you would like to donate to EWB each month and your preferred method of payment.
Is there an EWB chapter near me?
To see if there is an EWB chapter in your local area, please visit our Chapter listing. Contact information is provided for each chapter.
I'm still at university, how can I get involved?
The best way to get involved is to become a member. You can sign up as a member online by clicking here. As a member, you receive monthly updates on what EWB is up to and the different opportunities available to get involved. University students are very welcome.
The next step is to join your local chapter. Chapters bring together EWB members who wish to act as a group, having regular meetings, events, and working on projects together. Chapters are usually university, company or geographically based. EWB also offer short-term volunteer placements for university students within Australia and overseas to accommodate university timetables.
Please keep an eye on our volunteers page.
What is the EWB Challenge?
The Engineers Without Borders Australia Challenge (EWB Challenge) is an Australasian design program for first year university students. Students work in teams to develop conceptual designs that contribute towards real community development projects.
The program is based on real and inspiring sustainable development projects from EWB's growing list of past and present programs. Each year, the EWB Challenge design brief invites students to tackle a new range of projects identified by EWB in conjunction with its community partner organisations.
Visit the EWB Challenge website to learn more about the program, student projects and awards: www.ewb.org.au/ewbchallenge