Hear our Junior Fellows’ reflections on their placement in India

1st November 2017

In July 2017 Engineers Without Borders UK sent three Junior Fellow engineering students from Imperial College in London on a six-week placement with our partner organisation Prakti in India.

Smoke inhalation from cookstoves remains a major cause of health problems around the world while the use of biomass as fuel leads to increased resource depletion. Prakti Design is a cookstove developer, manufacturer and distributor whose mission is to combat poverty by creating a stove that is healthier, more sustainable and more energy efficient.

Sara, Zoe and Elysia were supported by Engineers Without Borders UK’s  professional engineers and Senior Fellows Ian and Nick as they identified and tested material corrosion. Here they are reflecting on their time at Prakti and how the experience of working in India has impacted upon their futures.

“Our day-to-day life in Auroville varied greatly, but included a lot of lighting fires, material testing and experimenting in the workshop. Our main aim was to find a new material to be integrated into the next generation of Prakti cookstoves. We did this by sourcing and testing different metals and designing a test rig. This was a fantastic experience as none of us come from a mechanical engineering background.

We gained many Prakti-cal skills and are proud that our research is contributing to making Prakti stoves more durable and user-friendly. We are looking forward to seeing the impact of our research on the future sustainability of the stove and are proud to have contributed to a safer, healthier and more sustainable stove design.

When we weren’t working there was a lot of drinking tea, eating food that was far too spicy,  and exploring Auroville and the surrounding area. For future fellows we would highly recommend the Tuesday yoga classes and taking a visit to the Matrimandir. We have now been back in the UK (with a Prakti stove for testing!) for eight weeks and have a greater insight into the International Development sector and the importance of globally responsible engineering. Our Junior Fellowship in India highlighted how passion, innovation and working with local communities can ensure meaningful change.”

Engineers Without Borders UK would like to thank The Happold Foundation for its support to the Global Engineer Fellowship programme.

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