BY MARY GRACE DE GUZMAN
University of Calgary
"EWB-ISF will work to improve
the quality of life of people in developing nations and communities
by helping find appropriate technical solutions to their challenges."
Mission statement of Engineers Without
Borders, Ingenieurs Sans Frontiers
Imagine this. Half the world's water supplies are severely
polluted. Every year five- to 10-million people die from waterborne
diseases. Clean drinking water remains unavailable to 1.4
million people. Forty per cent of the world's people do not
have adequate sanitation. Eighty-five per cent have no access
These statistics call for action, and Engineers Without Borders
EWB Calgary was started in the summer of 2001. Though founded
by a small group of students, its vision - to provide developing
countries with appropriate technology to combat the world's
ongoing challenges -- has spread to hundreds of active members.
And it's still growing.
The combined efforts of students, industry and community
are providing the creativity and knowledge to research and
implement solutions to problems in the developing world. These
efforts inch us closer to an improved quality of life for
In fact, EWB Western Chapters met from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2
at a retreat at the Banff Alpine Centre, partly sponsored
by APEGGA and hosted by the University of Calgary. In attendance
were students from four chapters -- the University of Calgary,
the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Manitoba
and the University of Victoria -- as well as a delegate from
EWB Canada. During the retreat, students took part in workshops,
presentations of past projects, discussions and team activities.
Overlooked No More
Engineers and engineering students were once an overlooked
resource in humanitarian efforts. But now, the success of
several projects proves how powerful a partnership between
us and our counterparts in developing nations can be.
One of those projects is called Educational Tools for Buwagga,
which underlines the truth of the old saying, "Necessity
is the mother of invention." Over the summer, two students
from EWB Calgary were sent to Uganda for a three-month term
with this goal: To give students of Buwagga Senior Secondary
School an equal opportunity in this highly competitive, technology-oriented
The Calgary duo taught and assisted in math and science classes
at the school of about 200 students. Their primary initiative,
however, was the creation of an introductory computer course
for staff and students. The students have established a relationship
with the community of Buwagga and have determined other areas
where EWB can help.
Education is severely limited when the basic tools of textbooks
and the physiological needs of power and water are missing.
Being fully immersed in the culture allowed the students to
learn this first hand.
Another project being developed stems from the obvious inequity
of the allocation of the world's resources. Sustainably Canadian
aims to educate Canadians on the impact we have as a nation
on the rest of the world and how we can live more sustainable
By increasing awareness of the issues that face the world
today, perhaps ideas can be transformed into actions. Moreover,
perhaps the skills, which these students have acquired in
their university experience, can be applied for a greater
good - one that extends beyond the walls of their classrooms.
If you would like more information of EWB or would like to
become involved in their efforts, please see www.ucalgary.ca/ewb
or www.ewb-isf.org, or