ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS SOUTH AFRICA

Stories worth sharing.

  • 05 Aug 2014 9:34 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    South African children can have a brighter future by bringing computers and educational content to rural schools in a low cost, energy efficient and sustainable manner.

    Earlier this year, EWB-SA had its first Think Tank on ‘Using Technology to Transform Education’.  Drawing from the incredible thoughts and ideas that were shared in the session, an initiative called Solar Powered Learning was developed.  It wasn’t just formed overnight though. The EWB-SA team in conjunction with United Twenty-13 underwent the 7 – week Human Centred Design (HCD) Course for Social Innovation. The HCD course helps use the design process to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change. The course was completed with the aim of further analysing the state of education in South Africa and how we can improve it.

    Four main problems emerged from the HCD community research. The first is lack of adequate resources. Schools often don’t have the most basic necessities from desks and chairs to textbooks and learning material. The second is transfer of knowledge. Even with sufficient resources, classrooms are overcrowded and there is no time for individual attention. Thirdly is the language barrier. Learners are brought up in their mother tongue and then expected to learn and be examined in a different language. Lastly, and most importantly, is student apathy. Many learners do not have good role models and guidance and do not even realise their potential.

    More than 77% of schools in South Africa do not have access to computers and 3 544 of the 24 793 schools do not have access to electricity. Whilst we have come a long way in our 20 years of democracy, the inequality is still prevalent. In order to empower oneself, a good quality education is key. This is what will break the poverty cycle.

    Upon analysis of these problems, the Solar Powered Learning project came to be. Solar Powered Learning is a low cost, energy efficient and sustainable way to giving learners in rural areas access to computers and educational resources. The project makes use of Raspberry Pi computers which cost less than $40 USD, consume about 3.5 W of power and are easy to maintain. This makes it the perfect device to use in conjunction with solar power. In addition, it introduces green living to the learners from a young age.

    More important than the hardware however, is the content on the computers. The learners will have access to thousands of educational videos and tutorials as well as Wikipedia pages and e-books. Programs such as Khan AcademyNumeric and Scratch will be used. All of the content will be available offline so access to the internet is not integral to the system working! By using Khan Academy as a tool, the teacher will be able to review the tutorials of the learners and identify their weak points. This will ease the work load on the teacher, allowing them more time to teach and give individual attention where it is needed.

    In addition to this, we intend to set up interactive video call language lessons. This will be between the learners from a school speaking an African Language and the learners of an English speaking school trying to learn an African language. The learners from both schools will be able to help and learn from each other. It will also serve to break cultural divides and build friendships that would not have otherwise been made.

    Various aspects of the project have been tested in countries around the world such as AngolaIndia and Ghana, but such a low cost and energy efficient solution has not yet been brought to South Africa. United Twenty-13 aims to set up the first prototype of the model at a school in Cosmo City. Cosmo city is a developing area with a community that is eager to uplift themselves. The LAN will consist of 21 Raspberry Pi computers, filled to the brim with educational content. More than 630 learners will be able to make use of the LAN every week. The learners will have everything they need to help empower themselves.

    In order for the LAN to be set up, funding is needed. An appeal is made to everyone, individuals and corporates to help us raise the funds to get the prototype up and running. We are using a new method of raising funds called crowd funding. It has worked brilliantly internationally and the concept is just breaking into South Africa. It involves everyone contributing a little towards the project. Even if it is just $10 USD, with everyone’s contributions, the target can be reached. Thus far we have reached 31% of our goal ($10 500) and we have 20 days to go. A huge appeal is made to everyone to contribute online to the project in order to change the future of education in South Africa. Help youth empower themselves. Let’s give hand ups instead of hand outs.


  • 14 Apr 2014 9:35 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Wednesday 30 April

    Starts at 18h00

    The Brazen Head (The Library), Cnr Linden & Anne Cresecent, Sandton

     Click on the picture to go to the event on Facebook.

    Wiki Night #2

    Who ever comes is the right people.

    Whenever it starts is the right time.

    Wherever it happens is the right place.

    Whatever happens is the only thing that could’ve.

    When it’s over, it’s over.


  • 31 Mar 2014 9:38 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Momentum 94.7 ad (Neha)EWB-SA has been accepted and approved as a charity for the 2014 Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge!

    All you have to do is go to the 94.7 Momentum Cycle website and register for the race. Then, when it asks you to pick a charity you pick Engineers Without Borders South Africa and it will come through to EWB-SA to add you to the team. If you struggle with it simply register for the race and then send Neha Patel an email (neha@ewbsa.org) and she will then add you to the team from her side.


  • 25 Mar 2014 9:40 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Lerato Mabidilala

  • 17 Mar 2014 9:46 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Think Tank Poster

  • 28 Feb 2014 9:48 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    IMG_5950

    Our first WikiNight kicked off on the 27 Feb 2014 at 6pm by the Brazen Head Sandton, Johannesburg. We had four different table discussions.  At 8pm we wrapped up the session by summarizing what each table discussed. A lot of feedback was given to EWB-SA  from the attendees as well as commitment to help with EWB-SA. Another great outcome was from the table topic Ventures whereby a workshop event was formed by one of the attendees with EWB-SA.

    Thank you to those that attended!  The next event hosted by EWB-SA will be a Think Tank in March.

    If you are not sure what a WikiNight is please click here to read more or contact us for more information.

    Video: https://youtu.be/8kU1g-ieOt8


  • 05 Feb 2014 9:53 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Click the Image to go to the event details on Facebook! 
    Wiki Night #1 invite L

  • 30 Jan 2014 9:55 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    In celebration of us being an NPC for one year since 31 January 2013, we have created a short video summary.

    Thank you to those who have supported, helped and joined us. Much appreciated! Enjoy 

    Video: https://youtu.be/Kg_TZJ-ZCFs

  • 12 Jan 2014 9:57 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Thank you EWB-SUN (Stellenbosch) applicants – you all sound wonderful! Please check your email for the outcome of your application to be part of the chapter initiation committee. No matter the outcome we would always love to work with you in future importunities.

    In December we spoke to interested students from UJ that are keen to get EWB-UJ going.

    All the best for the new year!


  • 24 Dec 2013 9:58 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    thankyou2013A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to creating, shaping, molding and energizing EWB-SA in 2013. We are excited about what is to come in 2014. May we continue to empower and inspire communities in South Africa through generating, using and transferring engineering knowledge.



ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS SOUTH AFRICA

Empowering Engineers to Empower Communities

2016 | EWB-SA is a registered non-profit company | NPC 2013/014531/08

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