April 2006 ISSUE

Mark Skovmose


Engineering Group Holds Day to Help End Poverty


University of Calgary
Student Contributor (Engineering)

March 2 marked the fourth annual EWB Day across Canada, designed to help end the plight of extreme poverty.

Kevin Baker, organizer of the EWB Day in Calgary, said the event was to “raise awareness of the issues that are plaguing the world, and how students can help.”

Hundreds of letters to local MPs were signed with a plea for the government to deliver on one promise — dedicate 0.7 per cent of the national gross national product towards foreign aid.

In 1968 an international commission was formed to examine aid for developing countries. The report the commission returned was quickly embraced by the UN, calling for developing countries to aid the fight against poverty by donating 0.7 per cent of the GNP.

More than 30 years later, Canada’s foreign aid still hovers around 0.3 per cent, without a timeline set to reach this goal. Sixteen of the 22 major donating countries, however, have set timelines.
EWB Day encouraged students to voice their opinion that poverty must be made history through this effort.


Top, drawing of an oil extractor from the first-year design course. Bottom, grain grinder designed by a first-year student and using two sandpaper-covered rollers.  

The Calgary EWB chapter has also
introduced Design for Development, or D4D, to the first-year engineering design courses. Students are given hands-on projects that question the impact of society on design, and in turn how those designs impact society. It is an especially challenging and instructive process when the society is foreign to the students.

This year students designed and manufactured a multi-function platform to reduce the workload of women and children in Ghana. They were also asked to consider using their machine as a source of income and to give access to broader markets. The successful projects are implemented in the developing countries.

A farmer watering a field with buckets took two full days with three people. A treadle pump operated by one person can water the same field in two hours, and can be built for under $30.
These simple technological advances help these developing countries rid themselves of poverty.

Canadian Engineering Competition
École Polytechnique de Montreal was host to the 22nd annual Canadian Engineering Competition, March 9 to 12. The competition hosts over 150 of the best Canadian engineering students. Two teams represented the University of Calgary in two categories of competition.

Jordan van Besouw, Allison Hagerman, Trevor Cleall, Allison Clavelle — all APEGGA university student members — placed first in consulting engineering. They were asked to develop a plan to change the bearing devices on a bridge leading to Montreal, as well as a plan to re-route traffic around the bridge during construction.

Though the situation was hypothetical, it required accurate estimates of labour and materials, and all the necessary investigation of a real-life solution.

Brenda Tackaberry and Katherine Walker placed fourth in extemporaneous debate, an especially challenging competition with bilingual translators. Brenda said: “They’re speaking incredibly fast in French and the translators can barely keep up, but it was still really fun. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”

Congratulations to both teams for their excellent work.


Engineers Without Borders
Visit www.ewb.ca
or www.calgary.ewb.ca