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Towards a

Strategy 2012 – 2017

1. Our Stories Ruth from Intag, Ecuador

Chris from London, UK

“The partnership with Engineers Without Borders UK has turned into an opportunity for us to give the people we work with hope.

“I did a few EWB-UK courses and then an EWB-UK placement. Looking back, I can see what a great step it was into sector.

The greatest achievement is that the colleagues have come from the UK not only with their professional studies and technical background, but that they are also humanitarian. They are capable of integrating with the population, sharing their skills, sharing their manners, sharing their accommodation and their food. If the volunteers were not here a lot of the population would not have water. But more than this, we have seen an important leap by having two different cultures brought together. The leap has been due to good will: the volunteers are here because they want to do it. They are an example. If they were not here, the people would not have a close knowledge that on the other side of the world – at such a distance – there are other people in solidarity. So the people here have gained the incentive to promote development themselves. I believe this is a fundamental sign of being alongside the people – not only looking at the technical aspect but also the human aspect, and then sharing with the children too. The people are seeing that their situation is changing.” Katie from Cheshire, UK “I came across a newly formed EWB-UK branch when I was studying engineering at university and got involved with practicals like building a wind turbine, making bio-diesel and working with a local community building a rainwater harvesting system and sand filters. I started outreach at my branch, running lots of workshops in schools and community groups, and then in my final year I became the president. I got an EWBUK placement in Pune in India, working on GIS mapping of slums. I continued earlier work to improve data management and quality assurance, and set up an easy way for staff to view and share maps. I became a placement manager and then took on the role of Placements Co-ordinator on the EWB-UK National Executive. I had to lead a large team, make informed decisions and controlled a substantial budget. Throughout this time I was working for a big engineering consultancy and I was able to help my colleagues become more aware of global issues. I have picked up all these skills from EWB-UK, and I feel them kicking in all the time. How do people do without it?! I now want to do more international engineering work. I can’t pay EWB-UK back, so I’ll try to pay it forward.”

I heard about EWB-UK through a training organisation in London. I was volunteering at their offices helping on IT. A couple of people there had been involved and told me about the branch at my university. I really wanted to get into humanitarian relief and find a way to use my degree for something I was passionate about. It was the global perspective that kept me going through my degree – it gave me the reason to study engineering. In my final year, I did research on joining bamboo struts. Which, it turns out, isn’t easy. I loved my placement. It gave me my first proper chance to work in Africa. Afterwards, I applied to a humanitarian agency’s internship scheme – with a little help from a reference from EWB-UK. I worked in London, Kyrgyzstan and Ivory Coast. I am now working for the agency in Somalia and Kenya as their South Central Somalia Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Co-ordinator. I spend time working on water technology – and it’s pretty clear to me the life-saving and life-changing power it has. I really love it here.”

Bitrus from Dadiya, Nigeria “I was born in Dadiya, a rural community in Nigeria, but I was able to go to Lagos for study. When I finished, I came back home to help improve the lives of the people in my community. I worked as a subsistence farmer but I volunteered with our community organisation. They contacted EWB-UK for help with a rural access road and the volunteers that came taught me how to do road assessments and feasibility studies. I now know which places are good for a ring culvert and which places are good for a box culvert using engineering techniques, and these skills remain with me even after the volunteers have gone. I gained a lot of respect from within my community from having these skills and I am now the chairman of the organisation. Dadiya now has a health centre, a small wind turbine and we are growing livelihood activities, in addition to the original road access work. The volunteers had to learn Nigerian patience and we encouraged them to be strong when they found the conditions difficult. Many people’s lives have been improved as a result of our work together and I appreciate the skills I have gained.”

2. Why Development It is abhorrent that so many people live and die in poverty today. Development is about creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to live safe, fulfilling, creative and rewarding lives. It is about the defeat of poverty. And it is about more than merely living; it is about everyone being able to flourish in their lives. Today, many people lack the basic capabilities and freedoms to begin to determine their own development, and to help others along the way as well. Development considers the path that we take towards the future. We have learned that the path of development we are on is the cause of many of the challenges we face. Development starts with the context we live in, and we now know that our local and global contexts are interdependent. We need a great transition to new paths of development that are equitable for everyone, everywhere, for all time. Nowhere is the challenge more complex and more urgent than where the needs are greatest but the resources – including the number of engineers – are most limited. People face significant barriers to development. We want to make sure that access to engineering and to engineers is not one of them.

3. Why Engineering Engineering drives human development. Engineering is about more than technology. Engineering is the creative application of science to solve problems for people. Engineers build capabilities, communities and countries, and play an important role in designing and managing projects and organisations. They deal with systems and with finding systemic solutions to complex problems. Engineering is everywhere and is fundamental to society. The problem is that today engineering is too often pursuing technology for technology’s sake – investing the time and talent of engineers in advancing advanced technologies that exacerbate inequality. Or which make marginal improvements for profit, rather than massive improvements for people. And we now know that engineering is causing many of the world’s problems, yet still seems slow to change. Engineers are good at things. Engineers need to be good at people too. By taking the time to understand context, by embracing complexity and by acting as mediators between people and technology, engineers will be able to understand technology’s impact and to influence it for the better. We want to make sure every engineer has the opportunity to learn about and to create change.

4. Why Young People Young people hold the promise of the future. Young people are the reason that Engineers Without Borders UK exists. Our organisation is just one expression of the desire for change that young people want to see in the world. In the UK, today’s young people have incredible opportunities; they have never known a world without the Internet or affordable international travel, they have news stories and social networks informing them about every corner of the globe, and regularly have the opportunity to volunteer. Their world view is global. Young people are radical, iconoclastic, inspiring, intensely practical, open and open-minded, can learn quickly, and are dynamic, willing and able to take risks and are rooted in communities where they live. They share ‘beginner’s mind’ – and all of the strengths and weaknesses it brings. As young people learn of engineering’s role in development, they become more deeply motivated to learn about it and to engage in it. They begin on a journey that affects the decisions they make in their lives and careers. With more young people in education than ever before, there is a phenomenal opportunity to explore new paths of development and to help solve the problems of engineering, development and the world. We want to help young people to create lasting generational change that is resilient in the face of unprecedented challenges and opportunities. We want to make sure that they have the opportunity to learn about the future they are inheriting and can share ideas and enthusiasm about how to change it.

5. Challenges Today:  World population of 7 billion12  884 million people lack access to clean water1  2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation1  Over 1.3 billion people lack access to reliable electricity1  1.5 billion people have inadequate shelter3  1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day4  Over 1 billion people are undernourished4  7.6 million children under the age of 5 die every year from poverty-related causes6  828 million people are living in slums7  Nearly 2 million people die every year from indoor air pollution8  72% of the world’s poor live in middle-income countries10 By       

2030 World population of 8.6 billion12 1.26 billion people living in what are now the least developed countries 1 5 billion people will live in urban areas14 Over 2 billion people will be living in slums15 3.9 billion people will be living in areas of severe water stress 16 The world will need at least 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water 1 Under a business-as-usual scenario, 2 planets will be needed to support the world’s population2

6. Opportunities                   

90% of the world’s engineers work for richest 10% of the world’s population 3 51% world’s population are under the age of 2519

$93 billion a year is needed to address infrastructure in Africa. 11 More than 50% of Africa’s improved growth performance is because of new infrastructure11

9 out of 10 young people want the opportunity to work abroad, rather than just travel 9 79% of employers say knowledge and awareness of the world is important, whereas 74% say degree classification is important18 93% of young people think it is important to learn about issues in different parts of the world 21 67% of students see international outlook for science, technology and engineering as unimportant 9 More international students enrolled on UK courses are based overseas than in the UK20 55% of full time students have volunteered in the last 12 months 22 83% of students acknowledge volunteering for enhancing their skills and employment chances17 39% of non-volunteers would welcome volunteering connected with their course or career17 87% of young people agree they want careers that add purpose to their lives but only 35% believe this happens in reality, leaving 59% searching for something more from their jobs23

7. Vision “A world where everyone has access to the engineering they need for a life free from poverty.” Many people in our world face severe challenges even just to live, and we see that access to engineering, engineers and engineering know-how can help them overcome many of these challenges. We want to see a world without poverty and without barriers to human development – where everyone can meet their basic needs, can live in dignity, can realise their potential, can create and can flourish.

8. Mission “To empower human development through engineering.” We remove barriers to development. There are many barriers to defeating poverty, but we think that the lack of access to engineering should not be one of them – and so this is the mission we commit to. We want to empower everyone in their own development journeys, with changes to education, with new opportunities, with improvements to technology and with inspirational leadership.

9. Outcomes We will create impact in four new ‘dimensions’ of change: Technology, Education, Opportunity and Leadership. All our activities will look to create change across all four dimensions, so that our members and partners are more fully empowered.

10. In five years’ time, we will have: 1.

Awakened greater attention to global challenges and opportunities


Educated engineers about international development


Excited and informed people about the role and impact of engineering


Empowered engineers to respond to global challenges


Enabled new paths of development that are appropriate, sustainable and inspirational


Transformed the engineering profession into an enabling environment for positive change


Relieved poverty in the communities where our international partners work


Enhanced the capabilities of people, communities and partners


Discovered and evolved technologies and approaches that address barriers to development

10. Unleashed passionate, talented and transformational leaders

11. Massive Small Change ‘Massive Small Change’ is our new organising philosophy and the key to our effectiveness and impact. Our heritage as both a student-led charity and as an international development organisation now combine, and find new expression: Engineers Without Borders UK is a massive small change organisation that empowers thousands of new engineers to remove barriers to development. Our world faces huge development challenges affecting billions of people. When the scale of the challenge is the challenge, we need to respond with massive small change. International development has to be people-sized if it is to be effective, sustainable and beautiful in its efforts to defeat poverty. But the challenges we face call for phenomenal and systemic change on a massive scale. So we want to inspire and empower everyone to take on these challenges in their own lives. If we get massive small change right in our own organisation, and encourage it within our partners, then the success of an idea, approach or solution will spread itself further and create even bigger impact. Ideas for creating Massive Small Change: To help make real our massive small change philosophy we will try to keep the following ideas in mind: 

Do everything in partnership with others.

Only do things that scale by at least a factor of six.

We don’t just do technology, we do engineering.

We seek people for projects, not projects for people.

We believe in the spirit of volunteering.

Convergence of interest, not conflict of interest.

Empower everyone.

Openness is how we grow.

Grow influence, not authority.

Massive small change our ‘big idea’ and is designed to help us always think about the way we work. It will help us to achieve our mission and vision by enabling us to always grow, to continuously adapt, to be radical and to respond to emerging ideas. It will help us to allocate our resources very efficiently, effectively and elegantly (giving us more ‘bang for the buck’) by guiding us to the small changes needed for a massive impact. It will help us to value complexity, look at the wider social, political, environmental and economic issues that surround technology, and to build social capital through responsive and resilient partnerships.

12. Structure Massive small change is a new name for a culture and approach that has been the key to the success of Engineers Without Borders UK over the last ten years; we have an organisation that is, even in itself, also a movement. As a movement, we have to keep growing to be successful. We have to grow our activities, partners, members, funding, resources, knowledge, recognition, understanding and ideas. We do this so that our members and partners can continue on their journeys towards a world free from poverty. Therefore, how we are going to grow becomes key. Growth could mean more staff, more donor-funded programmes, more volunteers to help staff get more done, and more members to help us campaign and fundraise more. We would build a highlyeffective, well-engineered ‘normal’ organisation alongside all the others in the development sector. But we choose growth to be through an enabling environment where members become volunteers who are empowered as decision-makers, fully capable of working with our partners, and who can develop new ideas, activities and programmes from the grassroots. We will build a team of carefully-selected staff who support our volunteers, and develop systems to support volunteers’ learning-by-doing. Engineers Without Borders UK will be a decentralised, open, collaborative and complicated-to-describe organisation – one that is difficult to compare with others. Our ‘on the ground’ results may be harder to define and to find, because we will work through our members and partners – involving them not

just in what we do but in how we do it. Traditional detailed plans and structures will be less important to us than strategy, learning and fast feedback. This may make it harder for us to begin engaging with more traditional structures but we think that by focusing on the small and people-sized we will build massive long term influence, will ensure that we play to our strengths and will help us not to deviate from our important niche of engineering, development and young people. Our success will speak for itself. Our staff team will have a culture of catalysing continuous emergence and mass collaboration rather than of providing command-and-control. We want to give our volunteers the chance to run an international development organisation, and to run it well. So we will support our volunteers by creating an enabling environment where they can use their higher skills and be the decision-makers – with staff to both to guide their work and staff to support their work. Under this new strategy, we are going to design formal structures (which will provide us with stability, core functions that enable activity and with legal compliance that maintains our public license to operate) that support emergence (which will provide us with novelty, creativity and flexibility), rather than just tolerating it. We think that these structures will encourage learning, collaboration and participation. They will help us to be more agile, responsive and innovative so that we can nurture the potential of our partners and members in a wide variety of directions and in complex contexts – whilst also making sure that the quality of everything we do is outstanding. Indeed, our new structures will help us to practice what we preach about our values in good development work.

13. Structure for enabling Massive Small Change:

Our six new department heads will empower our volunteers so that they can do so much more, and so that our work is coherent both within and across all activities. They will encourage freedom within constraints, and will be constantly seeking the right balance in the interdependent relationship between creativity and stability, between top-down and bottom-up. Then, our flexible and scale-able operations team will provide services such as finance, reporting and IT development – delivering the sort of day-to-day investment in the organisation that we need to thrive, but that our volunteers may not be able to sustain. In between these staff, we will have our volunteer decision-makers. And, as our volunteers change and as we grow, having volunteers here will help us to reduce the risk of staff ‘taking over’ the organisation – of becoming too rigid to deliver mass collaboration and massive small change. Staff will help our volunteers to learn new leadership skills through training, experience and learning-by-doing. They will provide the activation energy needed for volunteers to think at new levels, whilst also helping them to manage their own expectations. We want volunteering in Engineers Without Borders UK to be inspiring, educational and rewarding. We want volunteering to unleash their passions and to be transformational. We want everyone to be a leader. We will continue to regionalise our structure. Developing our internal capacity beyond our main office will bring us closer to our partners, our members and all of our volunteers (and bring them closer to each other), and will allow us to give them more support and to be more responsive; our grassroots need a root structure if we’re going to support their growth. It will help us to find and understand new partners. We will use our regional structure to inform and improve our internal strategies, signposting, communications and reporting. Not least, it will help us to maintain the feeling of belonging and unity within our organisation that is so fundamental to the sense of being part of a movement. Our new structure will help us to perform more effectively as an organisation. This is not just that we will be able to keep motivating people to work for us for free. We think that it will encourage the individual responsibility of the volunteer without it being a burden, and the collective responsibility of the team without it being bureaucratic. It will help us to do more activities more effectively, to finish things rather than just ending them, and will diminish tension between the formal and the emergent.

14. Partnership Our partners come in all shapes and sizes. Our international partners may be small community-based organisations, local social enterprises, education institutions, local government teams, national nongovernmental organisations, UK-based international organisations or major international aid agencies. Our UK partners may be informal groups of experienced practitioners, schools, colleges, university departments, research groups, donors, non-governmental or not-for-profit organisations, coalitions, professional bodies, local firms, service providers, consultancies or major multi-national companies. What we look for in our partners is a very special convergence of interest where our shared priorities coincide to better face identified challenges or to make the most of new opportunities. Whoever they may be, we will work to understand them and work with the communities they serve to ensure that we can bring something unique that makes a difference. Simply put, Engineers Without Borders UK and our partners are on the same team, are on the same journey and are working together for change. In focusing on partners, we are focusing our outcomes in our theory of change around them. Though this may mean that we will be one step removed from direct impact in the fight against poverty, it will also mean that we can have greater impact and can celebrate successes together. We will be able to learn more, and be able to share learning from partners from different countries and different sectors. By viewing other organisations that are active in our three key areas (of development, engineering and young people) as opportunities for collaboration rather than threats in competition, we will encourage potential partners to see us in the same way. We will be able to enhance our strengths and overcome our weaknesses and, by remaining open, be better able adapt to emerging risks and opportunities. We will be able to participate in wider change. In effect, Engineers Without Borders UK will itself be a volunteer – one that is able to help and is keen to learn.

15. What we value in partnerships: 

Active Partnerships: long-term relationships which are multi-faceted, responsive and transformational.

People Participation: enable and encourage participatory change in all activities.

Holistic Engineering: working across disciplines to consider technology in its context, and engineering without its borders.

Small Footprint: minimising impact on the environment, at the very least.

Appropriate Technology: using technology that is ‘low-risk’ in its context.

Good Practice: maintaining professional standards and approaches we can be proud of.

Diversity: representation of and support for a wide range of stakeholders, views and ideas – and valuing the complexity that arises.

Regionalising our work will bring us close to our partners. We will consider carefully which regions, and therefore which partners, we will focus on and then develop regional strategies with their assistance. We are aiming for multi-faceted, responsive partnerships that lead to lasting impacts. Further, regionalisation will help us to begin better engagement between, say, UK engineering firms and community-based organisations, or between UK universities and developing country groups. We will build coalitions and our communities of practice by bringing our partners together, and not only those with similar interests but also where interaction between diverse partners could lead to innovation. We must remain vigilant to the risks or partnership. We could find ourselves feeding development organisations that stifle innovation, encourage dependency or are otherwise supporting the status quo. We could find ourselves becoming a fig-leaf for organisations – such as professional bodies, companies or university departments – that want to look good but who resist systematic change, or resist making development a normal part of engineering practice. Or we could find ourselves selecting partners because they make us look good and give us credibility, or avoiding potential partners that offer huge opportunities for change because they would make us look bad. The best way to mitigate these risks will be through early engagement and systems to support continued understanding and participation.

16. International Partnerships:

18. Corporate partnerships:

The interaction between the priorities of our members, donors and international partners is vitally important to get right. It is a defining issue for our organisation, particularly since we mainly work through short-term volunteers.

We have had three main priorities for our relationships with companies: sponsorship; staff awareness; and promoting membership. We have been guided by the fundraising opportunity and by our ethical policy.

We want to get better at sharing learning, dealing with change, supporting our volunteers in the field and broadening our support to our partners (in project management for example).

Under this new strategy, we will build on our previous approach and take our relationships to a whole new level: we want our sponsors to become a collaborative community for creating massive small change, alongside our other partners. We want to move towards corporate partnerships in the truest sense, and to help them make more of their tremendous capacity to develop communities, cities and countries – with the right staff who have the right skills.

We want to grow our range of partnerships to cover more diverse technologies, geographies, cultures, languages and types of partner. We want to empower our members to lead their own long-term international partnerships. 17. Academic Partnerships: We will introduce a new kind of partnership that builds on our progress in engineering education: we will formalise our collaborations with university engineering departments and educational institutions as academic partners. We will establish systems to support academics in achieving shared goals – such as including a global dimension in their teaching – and work closely with them to make sure that every new engineer can become a ‘global engineer’.

‘Doing the right thing’ is defined by standards that emerge from belonging to a community. Through corporate partnerships with carefully selected firms that share our priorities, we will genuinely be able to belong to the same team. Further, we could broker the capacity of our corporate partners to enhance the capacity of our international partners. New volunteer ‘champions’ working at the offices of corporate partners will help us to understand them, help them to understand us, and help to explore and achieve these aims.

19. The international Engineers Without Borders family: We see ourselves as part of the global movement of organisations that share the name ‘Engineers Without Borders’ and its translations. We have already established formal partnerships with some of our sister organisations, and regularly engage with many others on an informal basis as friends. We commit to being an active participant of the international EWB movement, and we will allocate resources towards efforts to establish, and then to join, a formal international network or family. We have found that supporting EWB-UK branches in the UK is a very effective way of delivering sustainable impacts, particularly in the formation of new engineers. In the same way, we may begin to partner with EWB groups in developing countries alongside our other international partners. 20. Sustainability: As we work around the UK and the world, we must consider the effects of our activities – particularly on the environment but also on our people, partners, knowledge, systems and funds. We want Engineers Without Borders UK to be sustainable. Unlike the alternative, nothing bad comes from being sustainable – which is reason enough to commit. But, because of the particular work we do, we must practice what we preach in terms of sustainability to set an example to all our partners. We will task a cross-cutting team of volunteers to help us become a sustainable organisation, asking them to look at our activities and impacts (and their interactions) over time. It will also be important to explore more sustainable funding models with our partners and with new partners.

21. Membership Engineers Without Borders UK is its members. Members are our hands and feet, and heart and soul – they define our living culture and give us life. Members inspire the organisation and we inspire them. Membership isn’t just something we do, it’s how we do what we do; we want to engage people in both. Our members want to defeat poverty. They want to use engineering to help people and to build a better world. Their energy, creativity, idealism and desire to learn have already proven to be powerful in driving sustainable development – given the right technologies, opportunities and networks. Members contributing to partners is how we create change. Our new organising philosophy of massive small change and our new structure are designed to empower members to empower partners. Our partners engage with our members first and foremost, and they work with members as members work with them. Our members give us our credibility and are our national and global presence. Who and what our members are therefore define what the organisation is. If our members are engineers who understand international development then we are engineers who understand international development. If our members are mainly new engineers who want to change the world then so are we. This means that there is a need for us to invest in our members’ vision, understanding and skills to make the organisation happen – as someone might learn a trade. This is particularly important because members become our volunteers, decision-makers and leaders, and also because our membership is always receiving newcomers, mainly through intakes at universities each year.

22. Volunteers One of the special things about Engineers Without Borders UK is that we are run largely by volunteers. Indeed, members and volunteers may even be considered synonymous. When we place a volunteer in an international partner, seek a volunteer to make a brochure, or ask a volunteer to lead a national programme, we are trading in motivation and learning. Aspects of technology, capability, opportunity and leadership combine – and the change happens best where all of these converge for an individual. Membership promises: We want to be more explicit about our commitments to our members and the role they play in shaping our organisation:

1. We promise to involve our key, niche membership of young engineers at all levels of decision-making.

2. We promise to prioritise support to our members as they empower and equip themselves and each other.

3. We promise to always demonstrate our belief in the effectiveness of empowered and equipped engineers in defeating poverty, across all our programmes.

We mobilise members to become volunteers because their motivations coincide with ours. Even at a very practical level they can see how their work fits into a broader narrative – into the bigger picture. Volunteering with us is exciting, whether in the field or finance team; and people work for free because it is exciting. This becomes an important test of whether something is worth doing. We engage with new volunteers as peers and tend to work people-sized in small teams, not big hierarchies.

Volunteering with us is personally relevant – and we try to make it so. It is part of the personal journey being made as people learn about engineering and international development. Not only can they learn new skillsets and new mindsets, but they can learn about themselves too. Leadership skills develop very quickly. Empowered by a sense of belonging and progress towards big challenges, volunteers can find a new self-confidence and self-worth – a new purpose even. They find an expression for their desire to change things, and begin to lead beyond their usual authority because they are engaged in something bigger. They learn how to create an emergent outcome, solve problems, manage projects, work with people, and consider complex issues. Everyone learns to be an engineer and a leader.

Under this new strategy, we will work to make more explicit this learning which has, so far, only been implicit in our plans, approaches and strategies. This sort of personal professional development is a worthy end in itself, but the reason we now choose to invest in it directly is because it is so fundamentally connected to our capacity to mobilise and to the relationship we have with our partners. Investing in the vision, understanding and skills of our members who volunteer so that they become influential engineers and leaders wherever they go is how we create massive small change.

23. Membership groups:

Volunteer groups:

Members coming together in groups has been our fundamental building block since we began. Membership groups give a sense of connection to our cause, and a method for mobilising.

We have a number of dynamic groups of volunteers that power our organisation:

Our main membership groups are currently…   

University branches Regional professional networks Communities of practice

… and we can see that others may emerge in the near future, particularly to cover every level of engineering education in the UK: academics; researchers; further education colleges and university technical colleges; and even schools through junior membership. University branches operate as independent organisations registered as university societies. They affiliate with us, so that we can behave as one organisation. Under this new strategy, and through our regional teams, we will continue to allocate more resources to our branches and begin to explicitly incorporate their plans and activities into our own management systems. This won’t be easy but will help us to provide systematic support, good governance and greater sustainability to our branch network. We will also do more to empower our other membership groups to have the same independent spirit of a university branch, taking on their own aims and activities rather than just continuing to support ours. The highest risks and greatest opportunities of our membership groups are in their own international partnerships. Under this new strategy, significantly more resources will put towards sharing learning about partners, international development and good practice. If we get it right, then we will see a step change in the number of international partnerships we can take on and the level of support we can offer to their efforts to defeat poverty.

   

National Executive team National teams Regional teams Committees of membership groups

We have invested a great deal in training and supporting these volunteers, and will continue to do so. But under this new strategy we will go beyond transactional training and empower our volunteers with transformational training as well to explicitly develop leadership skills.

Membership system: Telling stories about our members, their journeys and their work with partners will be a priority. These stories will sit alongside our statistics and give a flavour of the massive small change that our members create. Our membership database, like any database, is only as good as the data that’s in it. We will continue to invest our membership database as a core function of the organisation. It is as important to us as, say, our finance function and should receive similar levels of investment. Our membership systems will allow us to make more explicit the journey that our members have taken with us, and where they have gone on to in their lives and careers – our ‘alumni’. By comparing a member’s experience with us with that of others, and our ideas of what mindsets and skillsets we should be offering, we can help to identify learning opportunities. We will also be able to accredit their learning, whether informally or formally. By keeping in touch with our alumni and following their career paths, we will be able to understand our impact and to respond quickly to changes or new ideas – particularly in the latest thinking on engineering and international development.

24. Journey There is no clear, single path for an engineer to become effective in international development, but we know that learning and experience are vital. Engineers Without Borders UK has learned – through experience – that engineers need the skillsets and capabilities of a technologist, problem-solver, development practitioner, manager and leader. Engineers also need the opportunity to discover different mind-sets so they can think at a new level, see things differently and value complexity. In short, engineers are good at things – but they need to be good at people too. Our activities explicitly share skillsets. The way we do things implicitly provides the ‘activation energy’ needed for new mind-sets – for new ways of thinking. Trying to define a clear, single path could lead to narrow messaging and could be counterproductive, so we want to take a more educative and valuesbased approach: we now want to suggest a dynamic definition of what a journey towards being an engineer in international development might involve, and what qualities and characteristics are needed in a ‘global engineer’ or an ‘engineer without borders’. The learning journey towards being a professional engineer is clearly specified in the UK and it leaves scope to learn about global challenges, sustainability and appropriate technology (though attitudes towards these issues do need further support in some areas). The learning journey towards becoming a development leader is therefore where we will focus efforts under this new strategy. If you are on this journey then you are a member of EWB-UK, regardless of your age or whether you’re an engineer. Particularly at its beginning, at the start of the learning curve, the journey should feel like you’re going on an adventure. The journey will hopefully never end, but when you’re further up the learning curve you should feel like you’ve got ideas to share, changes to make and something to give back. Overall, our small contribution will be a sort of leadership factory or a talent pipeline where we help everyone to make their own way, to determine their own development and can go on to create massive change. One of our fundamental roles will be to facilitate and curate members’ journeys to support the journeys of our partners so that, together, they can cocreate change and support each other towards shared goals. This means members and partners collaborating to share skills, explore other cultures, contexts and world views, and to more effectively work to defeat poverty. Under this new strategy, we will develop more learning opportunities, more diverse learning experiences and more reflection on those experiences so that people can connect and find paths of development that go beyond simply applying the usual, linear solutions in every context. We aim to enable the same depth of learning about people and issues as engineers receive about technology.

An ability to incorporate understanding into engineering practice and decision making

Confident to challenge the status quo and your comfort zone - a questioning attitude

A good manager, then able to be a good leader

Passion and willingnes:

Explorering and learning constantly, particularly in unfamiliar situations

Thinking sustainably, in '4D', and able to define the real problem and constraints of solutions

Seeing and comprehend -ing the bigger picture

Understanding your role as an engineer, and particularly ethical responsibilities, in a global society

A broad understanding of the human experience, leading to better design

personally engaged


Sharing, comfortable working with decentralised systems and knowledge ecologies

An holistic systems thinker

Beginner's mind - fresh ideas, asking 'stupid' questions, innovation

A great engineer A sense of fun and a sense of justice

Recognising the potential impacts of engineering practice

Embracing systems view of life (concepts like networks, selforganisation and emergence), overcoming subtle cognitive barriers that prevent this – particularly the paradigm of reductionism

Incredibly creative and ingenious, in the small and large scales

Combining neonewtonian training with experience of adaptive pluralism

Ability to learn from mistakes and from other people's mistakes

Can connect conversations, seeking public discussion and linking issues together rather than seeking a settlement

Contextual listener, able to interpret meaning and to recognise context

Ability to synthesise, reflecting that tackling the biggest challenges means connecting many small decisions

An ability to understand both local and global context, its influence and limitations (a ‘systems thinking approach to the global dimensions’)

Ability to reflect, perform critical analysis and evaluate decisions throughout engineering practice

25. Ideas This strategy document has set out both why we do things and the way we do things. But in preparing this strategy many ideas have also emerged about what we do – and what we could do in the future. New programmes and activities will include: 

Greater support our international partners and for member-led international partnerships, including field staff

More learning opportunities in developing countries, particularly by growing our summer school activities

The establishment of the ‘EWB Challenge’ as one of our core programmes

A new ‘Development Leadership’ programme of transformational training aimed at our UK volunteers

Re-forming our Bursaries Programme as an ‘Innovation Hub’ for emerging ideas and to incubate them to scale

A much stronger emphasis on the ‘Global Engineer’ definition in our engineering education activities

A new book called ‘Engineering in Development’ to draw out all of our technical and development knowledge

Significantly improved support for knowledge sharing, monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment

Telling more stories about our partners and the communities they support, and our members Training medical technicians

Increase our brand amongst professional engineers, through champions

Courses on cradle-to-cradle

Support sponsors to matchfund member-led partnerships, like in EWB-USA An exchange programme where volunteers come from partners to the UK to participate on work placements with sponsors here Teaming up with the MakeSpace & FabLab movements Train local individuals in developing countries, perhaps through twinning projects Involve branch partnerships in EWB-UK planning and budget systems, improving management and experience

Outreach to focus on schools in less affluent areas

EWB-UK as a recruitment agency for organisations looking for engineers

Lego Without Borders Supporting learning from failure Form an EWB-UK Academic Network, like the Professional Network – but international At least one event per month per region

Mentoring for disadvantaged students

Getting involved in DFID’s new International Citizen’s Service Advocate for government funding and industrial sponsorships/scholarships at universities in developing countries

An EWB-UK team of teaching assistants at UK universities

Internships with our sponsors’ corporate responsibility activities, like the Tata ISES scheme Outreach to help address educational disadvantage

More festivals for more breadth in our outreach audiences Work with EWB-UK alumni who have become teachers

Support academics in developing countries on curriculum and teaching methods

Make an engineering graduate equivalent of the ‘Want to be an Aid Worker video’! An EWB-UK guide on international partnerships, to help on the very steep learning curve (teamwork, leadership, fundraising, international development, new cultures, management)

Focus more on the marketing of appropriate technologies

More work in mapping, particularly in supporting data sharing

Partner with others to share online technical libraries

Teach engineering overseas More UK-based placements

Help set up EWB in developing country universities as a way to support creativity and leadership

Tell people about existing degree courses on development

Support for formal credit for EWB-UK volunteering

More PhD partnerships giving more sustainable funding for research

Communicate more effectively on how EWB-UK can work with different types of organisations

Support practicals/labs with skilled technicians and equipment in developing country universities Outreach for older audiences… university and workplace sessions

Support for refugee academics in the UK

Break down the barriers between development and engineering communities (where engineers don't know how to work with people and where development practitioners don't know how to work with technology) by demonstrating a new generation of engineers is professional emerging and by More opportunities for engineers engaging and decision makers. to use with theirrecruiters skills in developing countries

Careers guide: How to be a development engineer.

A complete library of EWB-UK project reports

Support partners with remote mentoring, training and problem solving

Employ staff to second to UK universities to supervise research projects, like Developing Technologies do

Academic secondments, in both directions, to learn and exchange ideas Help solve the credibility issue that sustainability is seen as soft alternative to ‘proper’ engineering

Promote fair trade

Organise careers fairs with development organisations

More mentoring for research students by professional engineers Educate engineers around the world

Work with universities to make international development part of the syllabus in every year

Improve access to information through the website, particularly on past placements

Reach more universities!

More placements to help teach science and engineering in schools Run lectures for non-engineers to enhance knowledge and engineering exposure

Focus more on long-term capacity building in our partners Effectively monitor our impact and evaluate our successes / failures to help us all learn

Build a training camp overseas and get our volunteers to train people there

Promote idea that change starts at home with more focus on sustainable living and systems thinking in the UK More funding for member-led international partnerships

Keep clear strategies / theories of change towards our objectives

Increase membership’s role in governance with a membership council, like in ISF France

Get involved in government policy boards, education boards and similar

Shout louder that “you don’t have to work for a charity to save the world”!

Support better project management in our international partners Create a Plan International for university engineering degrees! Some developing country students can’t afford to go to university because their fees – even £50 a year – are too high.

Have a minimum period for working with local partners, improves effectiveness, reporting and safety Use Kiva to loan out money sat in our bank to help entrepreneurs in developing countries

Establish personal development plans for members to become a global engineer, like in EWB Canada

Measure results to help make sure our work is used over the long-term

Visit more universities to give lectures so that more students are aware of the importance of development

International partnerships should be sourced by EWB-UK and awarded to branches Reduce the carbon footprint and ecological footprint of our events Better sharing of success and failure stories, including between those doing research and outreach activities

Design a first year module for universities to include poverty alleviation

A shared database of member and volunteer contacts Help the relief/development sector with guidance on who they need for what technological skills More training course on systems thinking and complexity theory Develop our knowledge management capability – a cornerstone of enabling massive small change! Useful for defining partnerships and opportunities, and for signposting to new people and activities.

Help to (re-)define engineering roles, translating them to be relevant in development

Set up an accreditation scheme to support professional and educational accreditation, particularly for learning/training activities and for placements – some institutions don’t currently accept it!

Build excitement towards engineering education in developing countries! Shift emphasis back towards the role of technology in development inside development masters courses (after a long period where technology has been out of favour and is used just for examples of failure) Start branches at further education colleges - they are expanding more into international students sector and we need more technicians involved.

Invest in monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment so that we can tell more stories of our member’s and partner’s journeys.

Encourage international partners to get local people to volunteer - do this through building capacity within those organisations and ensuring that the volunteers and organisations benefit.

Thank you Thank you to our members, partners and volunteers who have contributed to our new strategy. Particular thanks go to: National Conference 2010 and 2011 participants; the 2010-11 and 2011-12 National Executive teams; 2010-11 and 2011-12 Board of Trustees members; 2011 Branch Presidents and Training Ideas Days participants; Outreach Conference 2011 participants; and returned Placement Volunteers, particularly from 2011. We would like to thank the following people for their time and support for developing our new strategy: Prof. Peter Guthrie OBE; Dr. Matthew Harrison; Edward Bickham; Prof. Robert Chambers; Prof. Paul Jowitt CBE; Lord Browne of Madingley; Jennifer Schooling; Mark Fletcher; John-Paul Wale; Jerome Bowen; Paul Astle; Vidya Naidu; Simon Trace; Dr. Yusuf Samiullah; Dr. Mike Clifford; Dr. Tim Short; Dr. Brian Reed; Daniel Paterson; Tariq Khokhar; Edward Murfitt; Dr. Priti Parikh; Andy Mayo; Dan Butler; Prof. Charles Ainger; Ian McChesney; Bob Reed; Anna Le Gouais; Rod MacDonald; Stephen Jones; Dr. Tony Marjoram; Kelvin Campbell; Clare Bain; Pat Conaty; Lizzie Brown; Danny Almagor; Mike Kang; Cathy Leslie; Sunny Oliver-Bennetts; Kai Lofgren; Joe Mulligan; Lorraine Headon; Richard Jones; Peter Vince; Richard Coltman; Chris Cleaver; and Thalia Konaris. We are also grateful for the generous assistance of: EWB Canada; EWB-USA; EWB Germany; EWB Australia; EWB New Zealand; ISF France; ISF Spain; Arup; SKM; and the Humanitarian Centre.

Bibliography                                

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Engineers Without Borders UK is a massive small change organisation that empowers thousands of new engineers to remove barriers to development. Through our programmes and communities, we inspire, inform and educate people to respond to global challenges. We work with our partners to find new paths of development, and to create opportunities to harness appropriate technology and engineering skills to enhance people’s lives. We unleash passionate, talented and transformational leaders who want a world where everyone has access to the engineering they need for a life free from poverty.

We want‌ Engineers Engineers Engineers Engineers Engineers Engineers Engineers Engineers

with with with with with with with with

a deep passion for defeating poverty humble, holistic and systems thinking a broad understanding of the human experience deep listening, learning and communication skills the ability to create, innovate and invent the ability to manage and to lead a global perspective inspiration

We want‌ Engineers Without Borders. Engineers Without Borders UK is registered in England and Wales. Limited by guarantee. Registered Company No.: 4856607. Registered Charity No.: 1101849.

Towards a Strategy 2012 - 2017  

Engineers Without Borders UK is reviewing its strategy for the next five years. As part of this, we are opening a consultation - and gatheri...