EWB-USA is committed to community-driven international development projects. Each International Community Program is driven by and developed to meet the specific needs, resources and constraints of the partnering community(s).

All work is done by both the community and chapter in partnership. Our community application process emphasizes elements we believe are critical to a successful program:

  • Community-driven approach
  • Community ownership
  • Long-term sustainability
  • Community organization and involvement

Learn more about community partnership in the Learning Center >>

Read more about principles of development >>

Visit our Help Center for detailed information about the project process >>

Program/Community Partnership/Project Initiation Phase >>

Assessment Phase >>

Alternatives Analysis Phase >>

Implementation Phase >>

Monitoring & Evaluation Phase >>

Community Partnership Completion or Cancellation  >>

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Standard Engineering Process

Projects within EWB-USA’s International Community Programs (ICP) follow a standard engineering process. The process starts once the relationship between a chapter and a community is established and the issues impacting the community are identified and confirmed. Next the Assessment takes place. This step is used to gather technical information as well as information about the community’s organization, abilities, skills and resources. Before moving into the Implementation phase, the chapter completes an Alternatives Analysis to identify and analyze alternatives and to select the best option for the community. Once the best design option is chosen, the chapter works with an EWB-USA Program Engineer and a group of 2-3 external technical expert reviewers, called ICP Reviewers, to develop a detailed design and plan for Implementation. The ICP Reviewer team gives critique, guidance and approval for implementation and construction of the project. Implementation may occur in phases and, once completely executed, the project will be Monitored & Evaluated for functionality and the community’s capacity to sustain the improvements.

Program/Community Partnership/Project Definitions

Before reviewing the details of the project process, it is important to understand that the EWB-USA project process operates at the program, community partnership, and project level in accordance with our mission to implement sustainable engineering projects as part of community-driven development programs.

The general definitions of programs, community partnership, projects, and trips within the context of the EWB-USA process are as follows:

Program: A program is a chapter’s focused work in a specific country, region/state, and municipality. A program may include one or more community partnerships, but usually involves a consistent non-governmental organization (NGO) local partner or local government partner.

Community Partnership: A community partnership represents the chapter’s overarching commitment to collaborating with a community to meet its basic needs. Within a community partnership, chapters will often implement multiple projects to address the needs identified by the community. Managing multiple projects at the program level allows chapters to take a more holistic and integrated approach to community-based development. For example, the efficacy of a water treatment project is greatly increased when combined with a sanitation project.

Community partnerships also incorporate the community-needs assessment, education, and monitoring and evaluation components of a project. Chapters must plan on committing to a community for a minimum of five years in order to accomplish all that is required for a sustainable community partnership.

Project: Within each community partnership, chapters implement individual projects, which are defined by the technical nature of the work being implemented. Examples of projects implemented by EWB-USA include water supply, sanitation, school construction, road improvements, energy improvements, etc. As stated above, multiple projects are often implemented within the same community partnership.

Although a project is defined by its technical nature, all projects involve more than the technical design. For projects to be sustainable, they must also include non-technical aspects such as cultural, social, environmental, and economic considerations.