Communities are at the heart of Engineers Without Borders USA’s (EWB-USA) approach to development. Our engineering expertise can only be put to work when we’ve formed a true partnership with those requesting our services. Together, we identify and implement appropriate solutions that communities are equipped to maintain for years to come.
- Communities are the most effective agents for lasting, positive change
- Sustainability isn’t just a goal — it’s a practice
- Engineering solutions create opportunities for communities to thrive
- Leadership is fostered through multidisciplinary, cross-cultural and hands-on interactions
EWB-USA is committed to constantly improving how we work with communities to deliver lasting results. Our impact findings and best practices from our peers in the international development community show that a permanent country office presence improves the quality, efficiency and sustainability of projects. We’ve established offices to oversee the delivery of assistance in Guatemala and Nicaragua … and more are on the way! Learn more about how we’re better serving communities by expanding our field operations >>
Finding Engineering Solutions
EWB-USA responds to requests for engineering support through one of our three programs: the International Community Program, the Engineering Service Corps, and the Community Engineering Corps.
Projects in our International Community Program utilize EWB-USA volunteers’ support and guidance for the project’s full life cycle, from the first needs assessment to implementation to monitoring and evaluation. These projects range in scope and duration from building a vehicle bridge in Guatemala to digging wells in Zambia.
Sometimes it’s just our engineering expertise and consulting that’s needed, rather than a brick and mortar project. EWB-USA’s Engineering Service Corps offers the expertise of our most seasoned volunteers to organizations in the international development sector on projects such as boosting agribusiness in Kosovo and repairing hand pumps in drought-stricken Ethiopia.
Here in the U.S., the Community Engineering Corps, our partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Water Works Association, lends volunteers’ technical expertise to communities that are unable to easily retain or afford engineering services. Past projects have included water access in the Navajo Canyon and a food desert in New Jersey.
Education is foundational to our organization and integrated into everything we do. EWB-USA’s headquarters and field office staff equip our student and professional volunteers with the training and educational resources to thrive in their individual and collective roles. The projects they work on through EWB-USA enhance the traditional classroom experience and hone out-of-the-box thinking that equips them to thrive in the workplace. Annual conferences offer volunteers the opportunity to share best practices, collaborate and network with like-minded peers.
Education is critical to the success of our projects, too. In the field, education is a two-way street. Throughout a project, volunteers, community members and other local partners share knowledge and best practices to ensure that the final project is sustainable.
“We make sure that we’re building local expertise, are accountable to local leadership, and are training local engineers and technicians so the projects last for generations. We have so much to learn from our partner communities. They are the experts. They have an ingenuity that is really unique and is not taught in Western engineering classrooms.” -EWB-USA Volunteer Frank Bergh