Why We Exist
About UsWhy We Exist

Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) is a member-based, community organisation that creates social value through engineering. Through partnership and collaboration we've focused on developing skills, knowledge and appropriate engineering solutions for over 13 years.

We exist to engineer a better world using these four mechanisms:

Partner

We work together with communities to create a better world. 

Learn

We curate knowledge to develop engineers for a better world. 

Think

We engineer new ideas for a better world.

Belong

We bring people together to innovate for a better world

We focus on these four areas so that more people and engineers can respond can respond to these major humanitarian challenges:

Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 

Over one-third of the world's population does not have access to adequate sanitation and 783 million people live without safe drinking water.

Appropriate Housing 

It is estimated that 100 million people are homeless worldwide and as many as 1 billion people lack adequate housing. Across Australia, this is an estimated 105,237 homeless people. 

Clean Energy 

About 1.3 Billion people worldwide (approximately 18% of the global population) do not have access to electricity, and 2.6 billion people are without clean cooking facilities. 

Digital Access 

Digital access across the Indo-Pacific region is generally very poor. This prevents people from accessing information on changing weather pattern, current events, disasters and early warning systems, as well as general information on agriculture and markets to facilitate adaptation.* 

 

*References:  
Clean Water and Hygiene: 37% - http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/sanitation.shtml,  783 - million http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/water-cooperation/facts-and-figures/en/
Clean Energy: http://www.iied.org/improving-people-s-access-sustainable-energy
Appropriate housing: http://www.habitat.org/getinv/events/world-habitat-day/housing-facts, http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/index.php/about-homelessness/homeless-statistics

Listen to Lizzie Brown (EWB's CEO), Peter Bailey (CEO and Chair of Arup Australasia), and Greg Hodkinson (Group Chair of Arup) discuss how engineering can create a better world.


These are the reasons that we exist. Please keep reading for responses to some frequently asked questions.

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 sustainable development goals. These goals include halving the three billion poor who live on less than $2 per day, halving the 800 million who are hungry, and halving the one billion who do not have access to safe water.

Developing communities require improved access to engineering skills, knowledge and appropriate technology. For local engineering sectors to be sustainable, they need to develop their capacity to produce innovative, appropriate and sustainable solutions for their community’s needs.

EWB is addressing these needs through Engineering with Communities, Education and Research, and Leadership and Training.

What countries does EWB work in?

EWB is currently working in Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Australia. We also have strong relationships with community partners in India and Sri Lanka. 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.

There is no doubt that engineering skills are critical in emergency 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?

There are a plethora of other Engineers Without Borders organisations across the world. These include, but are not limited to:

 

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, 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 lifting people out of poverty. Therefore, individuals from a wide range of occupations, including engineers, architects, planners and project managers are encouraged to engage with our work.

If you intend to volunteer with EWB in Australia, there are many varied roles that require non-engineering backgrounds including community development, digital, monitoring and evaluation, education, sciences, social services, communications, marketing, and fundraising. We encourage you to join us as a member and get involved in our work.

How do I volunteer overseas with EWB?

To volunteer overseas with EWB, you will need to apply for one of our placements. These are advertised through EWB's website here. You will need to demonstrate you meet the personal and professional attributes required of all EWB volunteers and the specific position description.

Most positions require a qualification and relevant professional experience, however all applications are welcomed and encouraged from students, graduates and professionals.

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 volunteer opportunities for University students at National Office?

Student volunteer places are advertised on the Careers section of the EWB website. We typically host a Summer Volunteering Program for 12 weeks between December and March each year. If you would like to volunteer with the National Office outside of these dates, please send an email to memberengagement@ewb.org.au.

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. Read our latest Annual Report to find out 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.

Become a monthly donor

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 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, have regular meetings, host events and work on projects together. Chapters are usually university, company or geographically based. EWB also offers short-term volunteer placements for university students within Australia and overseas to accommodate university timetables.

Please keep an eye on our volunteer and careers page.

I still have a question, who can I talk to?

Email us