Ilijan Buildup

The inhabitants from the community of Gemelina are forced to carry buckets one kilometer (one-way) everyday to the nearest water point. Even though water is abundant on the island, access to it is not. Gemelina is the only community in the borough without access to drinking water. Furthermore, in the dry season the tap occasionally runs out, which forces the community to travel further to get water.

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Designing engineering ideas for Africa

At the top floor of Rotterdam’s energy company Stedin, a group of 25 professional engineers collaborated in teams to address challenges for sustainable development in Africa during the Engineers without Borders Netherlands (EWB-NL) 2019 Design Challenge. Each challenge was brought in by a partnering non-profit organization, which also supported the volunteers helping to find their solutions.

At the end of the day, all of the teams pitched their solutions and a jury selected the winning concept. The winning team was invited to develop their concept and implement the solution in the future.

Design Challenge participant presents solution in front of projector screen with photos.
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Powering and empowering a university with solar energy

A large computer lab filled with quality computers and not one of them has been used in nearly five years. That is the reality at Thamar University in Yemen where classes are in session, but are most often held in the dark.

Since 2014, there has been a huge electricity shortage due to the ongoing political conflict in the country. This has left the computer lab entirely without power and causes frequent blackouts throughout the campus and the city of Dhamar.

photo of computer lab at a Yemen university that does not have electricity
Thamar University in Yemen does not have power for the computer lab
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Success and opportunity in the Sovu water pipeline project

In the small village of Sovu, in Northwest Rwanda, there is a high mortality rate due to a lack of clean water for drinking and sanitation. The sole water pipeline has long been in disrepair, so women and children often must travel far distances daily to fetch water. Families also rely on springs and surface water, which can be contaminated. “People rarely live to become older than 50 years of age,” explains EWB Netherlands engineer Alfred Mutsaars. “And, most children do not even survive to age four.”

Since last year, the Engineers without Borders Water4Sovu team has been working with local partners to improve access to clean water and sanitation in the region. The team first conducted a feasibility study. Then, they concluded that the project should initially focus on repairing the existing 12 kilometer water pipeline.

Last summer, Alfred Mutsaars and fellow EWB-NL volunteer Anna Goense travelled to Sovu to meet with the Sovu water committee and local government leaders. They also collaborated with area Roman Catholic priests, who own the water pipeline.

Small children collect water in Sovu, Rwanda
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5 reasons not to miss the 2019 Design Challenge

On Friday, 5 April 2019, Engineers without Borders Netherlands will hold the second annual Design Challenge in Rotterdam. But, what exactly is the event? And, is it something for you?

Here are 5 reasons not to miss the 2019 Design Challenge.

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Revolving Fund Coordinator

Financing of the EWB NL projects is often a large challenge. Enabling the financing from in-house resources will speed up the projects and increase our impact.

EWB is looking to finance their projects by the set-up a not-for-profit revolving impact fund. The revolving impact fund will finance the innovative small ticket size projects, executed by EWB NL. These small tickets sizes (25-125k) are normally not commercially financed because of high risk and relatively high time investment needed. The financial means will be requested from subsidies and as donations from companies (supported by the EWB partnerships team). The risk of the investments will be minimized by the high involvement of the EWB engineers in the projects.

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Recruiting coordinator – HR Team Eindhoven

Job Description
In Engineers Without Borders, our volunteers are a key asset to implement our projects: without their time and knowledge, EWB NL would not be possible. With them we share the enthusiasm and passion about making a positive change with long lasting impact. In order to match the open positions with the best candidate, we need a recruiting coordinator to join our HR team in Eindhoven.

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Solar Power for Yemen

Due to the political conflicts since 2014, Yemen is suffering from electricity shortage not only in remote and rural areas but also in major cities. This negatively affects all basic services including health systems, education centers and universities. All public and civil infrastructure that depend on electrical power suffer from very frequent shutdown.

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Corn cob waste valorization

Kumwe Harvest is a new, post-harvest processor of maize, founded in Rwanda with the aim of improving the lives and incomes of smallholder farmers by innovating the post-harvest process and linking farmers to higher value commercial markets as a result.

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Nutcracker

Niger is one of the least-developed and poorest nations in the globe, according to the latest report on Human Development Index, UNDP.
Two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line, surviving on less than 1 dollar per day and hunger is a daily issue for many families. With about 80% of land area enveloped within the Sahara Desert, the country is affected by droughts, desertification and most lately floods. Most of the population consists out of subsistence farmers, living in the rural area. The harsh weather and poverty have resulted in parents not able to sustain their children and their own basic living needs.

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EWB Netherlands helps set the stage for Liberia’s first art-house theater

Following two recent civil wars and the Ebola crisis, Liberia is now in the midst of recovery and rebuilding. This west African country is home to 4.7 million people and began as a settlement of freed and free-born slaves who left the United States in pursuit of freedom and prosperity. Today, young people in Liberia are pursuing opportunities to improve their lives and their country.

“As a result of the civil wars, not only the physical infrastructure, but also the cultural infrastructure was damaged,” explains Joost de Bont, an architect with the Engineers without Borders – Netherlands (EWB-NL) Kriterion Monrovia project.

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Recruiting coordinator – HR Team

In Engineers Without Borders, our volunteers are a key asset to implement our projects: without their time and knowledge, EWB NL would not be possible. With them we share the enthusiasm and passion about making a positive change with long lasting impact. In order to match the open positions with the best candidate, we need a recruiting coordinator to join our HR team.

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Project engineer

Project description

In Togo the electricity rate is only 26%. Most electricity is imported from neighboring countries.  The village Yikpa (300 km from Lomé) and the NGO ‘Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement’ have requested the installation of a 14 kW pico solar power plant to supply the village with electricity. The project will serve as a pilot to demonstrate the feasibility of sustainable minigrids in rural Togo.

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French speaking Project Manager

Project description

Avolar is one of our partners. They are located in Congo, and during its 26 years of existence have been identifying solutions to improve the living conditions of the local communities.

Due to the local absence of awareness about health and education, the aspect of a balanced diet for the children is normally not taken into account . This leads to problems of malnutrition with certain children. In order to tackle this aspect, Avolar wants to build a reception
center for the restoration of malnourished children. In addition, a program will be set to for giving advice to the families regarding balance diets to avoid malnutrition and create awareness on health and education.

Activities to be supported by EWB

  • Developing a detailed plan and defining the necessary equipment
  • Construction of a building of the reception center for the restoration of malnourished children; kitchen, training room, etc.
  • Project implementation.

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Water4Sovu

In Sovu, Ngorero, in Northwest of Rwanda, there is  a high incidence of WASH-related mortality due to lack of access to drinking water and sanitation facilities, and poor hygiene practices are prevalent.

The total population is estimated to be 5.000 to 6.000 people.

The region needs its current water infrastructure rehabilitated and expanded to meet current needs.

EWB NL will provide technical and engineering support.

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Smart Meters

There is a lack of off-grid, sustainable energy production and consumption in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) countries. Access to clean and affordable energy (S DG7) by means of setting-up local mini grids will give opportunities to increase agricultural efficiency and introducing powered techniques, improve food security and food safety, increase health and wellbeing, enhance education (to facilitate study in the evening). Next to this, the presence of electricity will reduce the drain of adolescents from rural communities.

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Software Designer/ Programmer

Smart Meters Project For Sub Saharan regions

EWB is designing mini grid solutions for multiple regions / countries (e.g. a community in Togo, a community in Madagascar).

For the financial sustainability of the project it is important to have a cheap and reliable payment system for the power in place. In these communities currently pre-paid power is the way to go as it ensures that the electricity is paid for by the consumer. However, the payment systems that make this possible and which are available in the market are either too expensive or a non reliable solution. To make a healthy business case, the required investment in these meters needs to be such that the energy is also affordable for people living on 1 dollar a day.

The goal is to develop a payment system for an off-grid community energy system (microgrid) that is a low cost and reliable prepaid payment solution which can potentially also be used for drinking water or comparable services. The ideal solution considers technical aspects next to the business case and feasibility of the system in the SSA environment.

We are looking for someone with the skills of software / computer programming or has experience in setting up online payment systems who can help in achieving our goal as mentioned above.

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PEP Coordinator – Part of Projects

Project Execution Plan Workshop Modules Coordinator – Part of Projects

We are looking for someone who can coordinate between different project teams with EWB-NL and work out/arrange project specific courses/ workshop requirements .

Main activities:

  • Coordinate with all the projects team to insure completeness of the project execution plan
  • Manage the current EWB Projects Workshops and courses and update when necessary
  • Add new courses and workshops to the portfolio in order to ensure sufficient support to the project teams
  • Find and match trainers/moderators including subject matter experts
  • Understand EWB projects and adapt the workshops to the project teams needs (different project size and complexity, different project team size)

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Member for the Partnerships Team

Background

Engineers Without Borders has impact because of the energy and enthusiasm of our volunteering engineers and the generosity of our donors and strategic partners.
With our strategic partners we build long term relationships where partners contribute to our work both financially and with the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm of their employees.

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Melchior Huijts, volunteer in Togo

Togo! I had no idea this would be the location for one of the greatest experiences of my student life. I have done my internship for the NGO ‘Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement’ to help them building a minigrid in a secluded area, powered by solar energy. The mini-grid will provide for the basic electric needs of 3 villages with about 220 households.

The start-up phase of such enterprise is a challenge. The cultural differences, development level and language have proven to make it a high-pressure learning environment. I had to talk to government officials on regulations, talk to market people about prices of construction parts, perform ground measurements in the jungle and I organised a workshop with the locals about the possibilities of using electricity. For a suburban boy with low French skills, this was really fun to try and gave me a very strong sense of accomplishment when I achieved the smallest of things.

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Graphic Designer

We’re looking for Graphical Designers to help us creating easy to read maintenance manuals for our projects.

Main activities

We need people who can translate maintenance procedures of our technical solutions into easy diagrams and symbols.

Keep in mind that language is often a barrier in our projects so your very important assignment is to make complex tasks look easy using visuals.

Can you perform this magic?

We’re looking for you: you’re essential to make our projects successful!

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Schools of the Future – Uganda

Uganda is a beautiful country on the equator in East Africa, on the north side of Lake Victoria. While there has been a lot of conflict in Uganda, it is has a stable government and English as the official language. The education system in place is relatively good but has a lot of room for improvement. The statistic shows that only 13% of the population in Uganda complete the secondary level. In the technical field, a field important for further development of a country it gets worse. In total, only 0,35% actually finish tertiary education in a technical field (NL:6,8%)[EdStats].

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Implementing quick wins

The team of Water4Oku has now completed two trips to Oku, in the Northwest of Cameroon.

They were welcomed with joy and warmth by the nice people of Oku.

After the first trip in January 2018, Wouter and Alfred proposed a series of quick wins.

The trip in April 2018 aimed at providing the necessary knowledge to proceed with the first recommendations.

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SoTF 1.0 Edition 2 – Meet the Team!

Schools of the Future was always a different project within EWB NL: it runs by editions, each adjusted to the audience and multiple teams can run it in parallel.
The concept was simple: using hands-on workshops to spark children’s interest for technology and science in developing countries.

The first edition of SoTF ran in Mozambique in 2017 and was well received by most students.

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Welcome New Board Members!

On its second anniversary, EWB NL welcomes new Board Members!

Meet Alejandro (Projects & People), Georgiana (Projects) and Marcia (Partnerships)!

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Project Stories From Mozambique… with “Saudade”

“Saudade” is known to be a Portuguese word of very difficult translation to English, meaning something like the feeling of longing, melancholy… a need you cannot exactly pinpoint. You’d feel it when you think you should be back to a place, for instance.

Our Schools of the Future Team has returned from Mozambique with a suitcase full of stories and some “saudade”.

Please find below their experiences, as they told them to me. No edition this time, enjoy!

Andreia Veiga, Secretary EWB-NL Foundation

Technical Education in Mozambique

Getting together to support Technical Education

On the last Sunday of March, the EWB project Schools of the Future has hosted a fund raising dinner in Eindhoven. We welcomed more than 120 people at this very successful evening. Surrounded by the great atmosphere and food of Le Connaisseur, we have raised awareness for the educational situation in Mozambique and how Schools of the Future can have a positive and sustainable impact.

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YOUR Help needed – Clean Water For Oku in Cameroon

Clean water is what the villagers in the Oku area, in the NorthWest of Cameroon, desperately need as they still get seriously ill due to consumption of unclean water.

The large area, which includes 17 villages where more than 90000 people live, has an old water infrastructure that didn’t grow with the population needs. It also hasn’t had much-needed maintenance due to lack of local technical knowledge and to missing a sustainable income source to afford it.

EWB NL has partnered with a local NGO, Camaay – Cameroon Association of Active Youths, to help address the technical issues and to support the creation of a sustainable model that can keep the water infrastructure in the future.

Do you think everybody should have access to clean water? So do we!

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Meet the team going to Mozambique for our Schools of the Future project!

Our Schools of the Future project is becoming a reality, and a team of engineers is traveling to Mozambique at the end of May. Wonder who they are? Here they share with you bits and pieces of themselves:

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Health&Safety in EWB NL projects

Health&Safety is an important topic in our everyday life: we intuitively evaluate the risks associated with a certain situation, think how we can mitigate them and assess if the outcome is still worth it.

To carry out its projects, EWB NL Foundation has set up a formal framework with checklists and procedures to address every project using our internally defined standards. We take Health&Safety very seriously and we consider safe execution as a pre-condition to every project. 

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Empowering people – sometimes just an engineering solution isn’t enough!

Working with different cultures is always challenging but most times is also incredibly rewarding!

Ownership – Empowering People

It has been some months now that Melchior Huijts has been working with the NGO Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement (JVE) via EWB NL on a  small power plant in the village of Yikpa, in Togo – you can find a previous blog post here. The population has longed for affordable and reliable electricity and despite everybody agrees this small power plant can solve part of that problem, it is not clear who will maintain the plant once we’re gone.

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EWB-NL: Arnoud Kramer, engineering in Paradise

Already over three months have passed since I returned from the remote village of Andavadoaka in Madagascar to work on a 60kW solarpark. As a 23-year-old mechanical engineering student, I do not believe there are many who can say the same. My name is Arnoud Kramer and although last February I was ready to start my master thesis at the TU Delft, I wasn’t truly ready for that. What I wanted first was an experience and that is exactly what I got.

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EWB-NL: Melchior Huijts, sustainable engineering

My name is Melchior Huijts, an aerospace engineering student from the Delft University of Technology nearing the end of his Master’s programme.

Already for a long time I have wanted to use my technical mindset and skills for helping people to change their ways of living into ways that live in cooperation with the environment and bring well being without compromising the environment.

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Precious Stone Valuation & Traceability

Small Scale Mining of precious stones creates many opportunities for the local community, but it is also linked to several problems like environmental damage, child labor and armed conflict. We are working with a partner in Côte d’Ivoire to explore possible technical solutions.

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Water for Oku in Cameroon

In the Oku region in Cameroon water is often collected from surface and odds of contamination are high.

The region has been offered water systems in the 80s but the locals are not trained on how to maintain them. In many villages, the population outgrew the capacity of the installed systems.

Here, people still get severely ill from consuming unsafe water.

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Business Impact Team Member

EWB-NL is currently growing. We have projects in various locations in the world. Our projects are engineering based with a strong focus on local ownership by our partner organisations. The successful completion of our projects is not only driven by the quality of our engineering skills, but also on our experience with the non-technical elements of a project. Our current projects vary from rural electrification and water management to the construction of a local cinema.

Each project involves a business case that we develop together with our local partners. Besides we look into the financial, institutional, ecological, technical and social (FIETS) sustainability of a project. The Business Impact Team supports the project teams and local partners in the non-technical aspects of our projects with a focus on the development of business / social models and financing mechanisms.

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Landscape restoration

Hydrological restoration in two target areas (a series of villages north of Seguela, and Tortiya in Côte d’Ivoire) that result from small-scale diamond mining. Artisanal and small-scale mining typically involves non-mechanized extraction of diamondiferous gravel by individuals or groups. Collectively the impact can be very consequential.

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Eosol Solar Project

Together with our partner Eosol in Madagascar we run this project to improve the current installed 60 kW solar mini-grid system to make it long-term sustainable and apply the knowledge of how to successfully develop off-grid sustainable energy projects to other EWB projects.

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Arthouse Cinema – Kriterion Monrovia

We are working with Kriterion Monrovia, a University based non-governmental Liberian organization, on the establishment of an ArtHouse cinema to promote local cultural exchange, provide a cinema space and offer part-time jobs to young college students from Liberia.

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Pico Power

EWB-NL is working with the local organization JVE in Togo and the Yikpa village community who requested our assistance / technical expertise in setting up an off-grid solar energy system and micro-grid as a social impact venture.

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Schools of the Future – Mozambique

The Schools of the Future project aims to empower teenagers in developing communities in Mozambique through technical education and entrepreneurship. We provide resources for transferring technology to these communities, such as inspiring hands-on workshops, with correspondent tools, manuals, and training. In this way, we aspire to spark interest and joy in science and technology and to foster the necessary foundations for technical and societal development.

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