Congratulations to our Engineers Without Borders UK 2017-18 cohort for engineering change internationally

24th July 2018

Engineers Without Borders UK would like to congratulate our 24 volunteer engineers and engineering students who helped to bring engineering capacity to our partners across Asia, Africa and Latin America in the 2017/18 cycle. Our final volunteer of this cohort completed his deployment in July 2018 and the International Partnerships team thought it high time to highlight all the achievements that our amazing volunteers made in the areas of WASH, clean energy and the built environment with our twelve partners across eight countries.

Our 2017-2018 cohort of engineers and engineering student started their Engineers Without Borders UK journey back in the bleak winter of 2016, when applications were submitted with the potential to deviate from traditional career courses. The next 6 months were spent fundraising, training and planning before they were deployed to provide engineering capacity to our partners in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, India, Malaysian Borneo, the Philippines, Mexico and Peru. No volunteer had the same experience as they designed, trained, developed, advised, built and researched as per the needs of the local organisation.

Here is a brief round up of what they did:

Simona supported our partner Caminos de Agua for 6 months by running experiments and research around adsorption materials that could filter aqueous arsenic and fluoride from contaminated groundwater in rural Mexico. Her research skills have helped our partner move closer to their goal of providing the communities around San Miguel de Allende with clean drinking water.

For 6 months Jon supported Isla Urbana by designing and testing new technologies for chlorification of rainwater. Using the skills he acquired during his PhD, Jon independently researched new technologies to reduce the presence of faecal coliforms in rainwater harvesting systems in Mexico City.

Ian and Nick provided pro-bono engineering skills to our Indian partner Prakti for 11 months and were joined by three engineering students Zoe, Sara and Elysia over the summer of 2017. Ian researched and developed an emissions testing process that will help improve the performance of Prakti cookstoves by increasing their efficiency and reducing harmful emissions. In the meantime Nick led on the manufacturing of 900 stoves and established a robust production line for Prakti stoves. The Junior Fellows tested a range of materials and confirmed the best material to be used in the stoves’ combustion chamber.

Conor supported Sistema Biobolsa in Mexico City for 6 months. There he tested biodigesters and improved the add on generator capacity of the biodigesters from 1600W to 2000W. This has ensured that the biodigesters are more efficient, reduced their cost and improved their benefits for the agricultural communities around Mexico City.

Ben worked with local technicians from our partner, SIBAT, and led on the design and fabrication of hydraulic ram pumps (a method of pumping water uphill without electricity or diesel). His experience in micro-hydro has meant that 11 micro-hydro pumps are functioning and providing agricultural communities in the Philippines with a reliable water supply for irrigation. In the same 6 months, Audrey provided business skills and training to local micro-businesses utilising clean energy. In the summer of 2017, Junior Fellows Zhuraya and Yamin built and designed a test rig for hydraulic ram pumps.

Tom worked with Light Up the World in Huaraz and Lima for 12 months, developing a pay as you go approach to solar power systems whilst monitoring and developing new additions to the off-grid service that they provide. LUTW’s off-grid solar systems are bringing electricity to remote Peruvian communities.

Faisal advised local communities on the use of clean energy with Energy 4 Impact in Kenya. He made up part of an advising service working to scale up off-grid energy in both Rwanda and Kenya, especially in promoting the use of clean and renewable energy in refugee camps.  

Harriet led training on geotechnical engineering to the team at MASS Design Group and provided geotechnical supervision for MASS’ award-winning buildings across Rwanda. At the same time, James provided training in Structural Engineering and supported the building of an office in Kenya and school in Bugesera, Rwanda. James and Harriet also both mentored local engineering students and delivered workshops to upskill the local team.

Ruairí and Dan spent 6 months with TONIBUNG in Malaysian Borneo. Ruairí provided financial and business advice to the TONIBUNG team, helping to ensure financial sustainability for the energy projects they currently run. Dan utilised his electrical engineering skills to develop an in-house electronic load controller that has the potential to save local communities money and provide them with control over their micro-hydro power. Ruairi will continue his Engineers Without Borders UK journey as a Senior Fellow with Light Up the World in Peru.

For 6 months, John was deployed with Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) in support of the rehabilitation of the Oti wastewater treatment facility in Kumasi, Ghana. John also worked alongside Clean Team Ghana on the construction of effective compound sanitation by developing quality assurance processes.

Milly and Jen provided civil and structural engineering capacity for KDI in Kibera, Kenya, which is often described as Africa’s largest informal settlement. Milly worked on community involvement in developing an approach to flood resilience for the Andolo community. Jen provided structural engineering support for the design of structures that KDI were developing for community public spaces. Over the autumn, Andrew and Juliet joined them for a month during which they supported the team by writing reports on drainage and facilitating community workshops within Kibera.  

Jeremy worked alongside the Selco Foundation to carry out market research into advising small local businesses, including poultry farming, refrigeration and coir yarn making, to use renewable energies in rural communities in India. Jeremy is now working as a solar engineer with our new partner, United For Hope, in Northern India.

Engineers Without Borders UK is proud of what our volunteer engineers achieved whilst working alongside community-based organisations and how they adapted to a different environment and new challenges. In total, 19,040 hours of pro bono engineering were delivered!  Excellent work.

Well done to all 24 volunteers, and we look forward to hearing how our new cohort for 2018-2019 continues their legacies with our partners.

To read more about our achievements, check out our latest annual review and keep an eye on our website for 2019-2020 opportunities!

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