Engineers Without Borders Namibia (EWB-NA) was launched on the 3rd of November 2016 in Windhoek, Namibia. The event was done alongside the launch of the Namibian Society of Engineers (NASE) since the two organizations are to be managed by the same team. EWB-NA will be financed by NASE to initiate, plan and implement socio-economic projects that target the needs of immediate communities.
The event was attended by 62 people and graced by Namibia’s Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, who spoke in support of local engineers’ decision to form a voluntary organization that will support Namibian communities. Also, speaking at the launch was Prof. Tjama Tjivikua, the Vice Chancellor of the Namibian University of Science and Technology, as well as Charles Mukwaso, EWB-NA Founding Chairperson and Rachel Kakololo, EWB-NA Secretary General.
EWB-NA’s mandate is to encourage and champion the spirit of volunteerism amongst technical professionals. Engineers, technicians and artisans being highly skilled in infrastructure development, and Namibia having plenty of these professionals, there is a tremendous need to put mechanisms in place that speak to technical professionals to give back to their communities. Engineering being the application of our scientific and mathematical knowledge to meet the needs of mankind, EWB-NA will focus on the community part of that equation – basically, humanitarian engineering.
Most African communities are faced with serious challenges in sanitation, housing, waste management, transportation and many others. EWB-NA aims to gather every available resource to rally enthusiastic volunteers to use their skills and expertise to help underserved communities across Namibia.
EWB-NA believes that engineering solutions create opportunities for communities to thrive; our approach to development is therefore based on more than just blueprints and measurements, but also on real relationships with people and actual implementation of community-based projects.
EWB-NA will embark on laying down the foundation for a vast network that will range from first-year engineering students to practicing engineering professionals who will avail their technical expertise for community-based projects. This will be achieved alongside efforts to encourage cross-cultural, hands-on interactions that are aimed at empowering everyone involved to build a better world.
EWB-NA will look at the following focus areas:
- Water supply and sanitation: which is a significant issue in remote areas as they still lack access to safe and clean water for consumption and sanitation.
- Transport: establishment of viable transport solutions;
- Energy: ideas on alternative energy;
- Shelter/housing: alternative methods that will use local and affordable materials in construction;
- Agriculture and climate change: e.g. finding drought proofing farming methods;
- Education: making engineering knowledge accessible to all;
- Natural disaster risk management.
EWB-NA received an endorsement from EWB-SA, and together we plan to co-host and participate in each other’s events, sharing ideas and knowledge to better understand and serve our communities. The CEO and co-founder of Engineers Without Borders South Africa (EWB-SA) Ms Wiebke Toussaint delivered a video message in support of EWB-NA.