As our slogan tells the story of our mission: “empowering engineers to empower people”
Engineers Without Borders South Africa exists to “empower engineers to empower communities.” Many communities in South Africa (and globally) remain “under-served” by engineers and broader society. As a result, they suffer from numerous challenges including everything from a lack of access to clean water, all the way through to marginalisation in the democratic process.
To help remedy this, we’ve embarked on a strategy of “empowering engineers” (and other professionals) to “empower communities” to solve their own challenges. We empower engineers by providing focused training, tools and support systems designed to enable them to help the communities they work with.
Our belief is that by expanding the skills, tools, support and ultimately the vision of South African engineers, we can build a better society.
Empowerment sits at the heart of our mission, and as a result we focus extensively on the “engineering education” space. Our Annual Leadership Retreat, Human-Centered Design Training, and the Engineering for People Design Challenge are our key efforts to develop the skills and knowledge that engineers require to tackle the complex socio-technical problems faced by the country and the world.
Our engineering education work leads directly to our community work. Using the training, tools and support we provide as EWB-SA, our Student Chapters and our Design a Difference programme helps real communities with their every-day challenges. Currently for example, our Design a Difference programme is establishing a project to explore the design of bicycle sharing systems in Johannesburg.
Our Focus on Engineers
Why do we focus on engineers?
Well, engineers design and build technological systems for the use of people. These socio-technical systems range from hard infrastructure like electrical and water networks, all the way through to soft digital systems like mobile apps that encourage community participation in democratic processes (civic tech).
Because we (engineers) are an indispensable part of building solutions for communities, we believe that engineers require customized training, support and tools to enable us to better do our part in building a better world.