Alongside our programme partners, Engineers Without Borders South Africa, we are pleased to announce that Research & Development Without Borders is delivering the Engineering for People Design Challenge in Cameroon, joining over 40 institutions already delivering the programme in Ireland, South Africa, the UK and the US.

Research & Development Without Borders (RDWB) was founded in 2020 by Christian Ngang with a mission to promote research in water and sanitation, food security and climate change, by working with universities, government bodies and intergovernmental organisations. The organisation is focused on bridging the gap between research and practice by embedding a community led approach to ensure lasting solutions.

Christian was first exposed to engineering during his Environmental Sciences undergraduate degree at the University of Buea, which inspired his decision to study a Masters in Environmental Engineering at the National School of Agro-Industrial Sciences at the University of Ngaoundere. During this time, Northern Cameroon was facing a deadly Cholera outbreak, influencing the content of Christian’s studies and leading him to work on the design of a mobile water treatment system that could be used to treat both surface water and underground water sources.

After graduating, Christian began a role as a Food Processing Manager where he developed four products that were distributed across Cameroon. Whilst in this role, Christian secured a scholarship to the University of Leeds to study Water Sanitation and Health Engineering where he worked with Bi Water UK to develop a pilot scale rapid sand filter to be used in mini water treatment plants in Cameroon. It was during his time in the UK when Chrisitan first learnt of the Engineers Without Borders movement, volunteering to be a submission reviewer for the Engineering for People Design Challenge.

Before returning to Cameroon, Christian started to consider how he could join the dots between the innovation he was seeing across Cameroon and the UK to tackle the challenges he was witnessing in his home country. He wanted to know how he could make positive change, whilst creating opportunities for others.

Soon after, Christian founded Research & Development Without Borders with the support of friends with the same vision. Since its inception, the organisation has aligned its projects with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, through youth empowerment  and capacity building. Examples of the organisation’s work include research such as their collaboration with the University of Glasgow, National University of Malaysia and MESH Power Rwanda to pilot the use of novel technology of SONO ELECTRICITY to remove persistent organic pollutants from water, and development projects such as the back-to-school campaign, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which involved implementing processes to disinfect classrooms, toilets and the school environment as a means to protect young people and provide a safe learning space for all. In addition, their partnership with the UK is growing from strength to strength after participating in COP26 workshops at the British High Commission in Cameroon. RDWB has recently secured funding from the University of Glasgow to set up a mini water quality laboratory in Cameroon. The laboratory project titled “Water quality laboratory for Rural Cameroon” will facilitate water quality monitoring for vulnerable communities and propose treatment solutions to fight recurrent cholera and diarrhoea-related diseases within Cameroon.

“As a young organisation we want to have the opportunity to bridge the gap between research and practice, that was something that came to mind when we were developing the organisation. We want to develop a simple solution.” – Christian Ngang

The Research & Development Without Borders vision is clear; the next generation is our future. Christian wants to see the organisation reach more young people, connecting them with more opportunities to secure a sustainable future, moving beyond Cameroon’s borders to have a truly global impact.

We look forward to collaborating with Research & Development Without Borders as we strive for a more globally responsible future through our design challenges, projects and beyond.

Support the delivery of the Engineering for People Design Challenge and provide invaluable feedback to the student teams by volunteering as a reviewer. Learn more and apply before applications close on Tuesday 18 October.

Christian Ngang is a Water and Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist, Chevening Scholar and Founder of Research & Development Without Borders.