Engineers Without Borders - Changing the World One Community at a Time

Uzair (Sam) Shamsi, Amir Allana, Melissa Day and Jennifer Lehane


Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) in several countries. Although developed independently from each other at different times, all of these national organizations work to serve the needs of disadvantaged communities and people all over the world through engineering solutions. For example, the vision of EWB-USA is a world in which the communities have the capacity to sustainably meet their basic human needs, and members have enriched global perspectives through the innovative professional educational opportunities. EWB-USA’s mission is to support community-driven development programs worldwide by collaborating with local partners to design and implement sustainable engineering projects, while creating transformative experiences and responsible leaders. EWB-Canada believes that poverty is the product of broken systems that prevent people from realizing their full potential. Beating poverty means making those systems work. EWB-Canada is doing exactly that with a focus on rural African development. EWB-Canada incubates the systemic innovations with an emphasis on people working with people to create lasting, scalable change that unlocks human potential. The majority of the EWB organizations are strongly linked to academia and to students, with many of them being student-led. Working professionals serve as technical mentors to EWB student chapters. Many engineering firms encourage their employees to participate in EWB projects and support their projects needs. Students receive a global perspective and hands-on engineering training. Professionals obtain a sense of accomplishment and an opportunity to hire highly motivated students. Many EWB projects address the water supply and sanitation needs of the communities.

This paper will present examples of EWB projects from USA and Canada, especially those related to water systems. The following topics will be covered:

  • EWB introduction and history
  • EWB mode of operation
  • EWB benefits
  • EWB project examples and photos
    1. Project objective
    2. Project scope
    3. Project status
    4. Project results
    5. Project photos
  • Challenges and lessons learned

Permanent link: