Engineers Without Borders

By Mallory Reardon

IMG_3754At its heart, engineering is a problem-solving profession. Whether a project involves designing a new roadway, repairing a damaged bridge, rehabilitating a building, or searching for ways to utilize alternative energy sources, an engineer’s work often centers on improving communities and the lives of the people within them. With problem-solving and community improvement so essential to this profession, it was only natural that an engineering organization would be formed from the desire to supply people in less-developed nations with access to the most basic human needs.

Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA), created in 2002, is an organization that supports community-driven development programs worldwide by collaborating with local partners to design and implement sustainable engineering projects. In today’s world, more than two billion people lack access to the most basic essentials, such as clean drinking water, adequate sanitation, and effective healthcare. EWB-USA is engineering change in 47 countries around the world to transform this reality — one well, one bridge, one community at a time. Rooted in low-tech, high-impact projects, the organization and its 13,800 members work with communities to find appropriate solutions for water supply, sanitation, energy, agriculture, civil works, structures, and information systems. From the initial blueprint to the boots-on-the-ground work, EWB-USA members have impacted more than 2.5 million lives.

Today, EWB-USA has over 300 dedicated professional and student chapters across the country. Locally, New Jersey has its own professional chapter, Engineers Without Borders Northern New Jersey (EWB-NNJ), as well as several student chapters at Rutgers University, Princeton University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, and more. The EWB-NNJ chapter is currently leading two water supply implementation projects in Kipingi, Kenya and Isanjandugu, Tanzania. Both of these communities suffer from an acute water shortage, resulting in outbreaks of waterborne diseases and fatal dehydration. The EWB-NNJ volunteers are actively coordinating with leaders and residents in both areas to create the clean and permanent domestic water supplies that they so desperately need.

bn_kipingi_094Despite the name of the organization, Engineers Without Borders members come from many backgrounds and industries, not just the engineering field. Any professionals interested in getting involved with the EWB-NNJ chapter and its projects can contact the organization directly by e-mail at ewbnnj@gmail.com or by visiting the webpage at www.ewbnnj.org. More information about the national EWB-USA organization can be found at www.ewb-usa.org.

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