ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS SOUTH AFRICA
For the UKZN Chapter of EWBSA, 2018 has truly been the year of LEARNING! It has indeed been a tumultuous year, filled with many Ups…and more DOWNs than we would like to admit, however, this year allowed us to regroup in order to strategize our path going forward.
Whilst the 2018 may not have been our most vibrant or most busy year, we have certainly not been lazy. We hosted two events, continued our goal of providing our active members the incentive of industrial/community-based vocational work, participated in a Young Professionals Forum Soccer Tournament, claimed many victories at the Consulting Engineers of South Africa’s KZN Relay, and most surprisingly, spent a great deal of time preparing for the future of this chapter – and this is where the learning comes in!
Early on in 2018, our chairperson felt it necessary to form a new chapter committee throughout the year, in order to increase the committee dynamic and to breathe new life into our beloved organisation to create longevity. He was right upon doing so. It has always been us since the very beginning, and our time was soon to run out. To this, we also struggled to find competent members whom would be willing to passionately believe in our vision nor commitment toward community upliftment and its importance to society. None of us have ever been prepared for the inevitable departure from the chapter, and after so many years, we were in the habit of holding onto something with slippery fingers.
With a new committee set, EWB-UKZN plans to inspire community-based entrepreneurial projects, focus on providing our members with the guidance they deserve, and to solidify our brand! Whilst UKZN is and, in more recent years, has never encouraged students to be more patriotic toward joining student-based organisations such as Engineers without Borders. We wish to impact this the most in 2019!
The EWB-UKZN chapter recently participated in the annual CESA-Relay 2017 for their annual chapter team building activity. Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), South Africa’s largest engineering consulting body, hosted the event where the chapter participated alongside 18 engineering consulting firms that are based in KwaZulu-Natal province. EWB-UKZN’s participation was sponsored through the EWB-SA team building grant that EWB-UKZN was awarded after obtaining the EWB-SA Chapter of the Year 2016 award together with sponsorship from Royal HaskoningDHV.
The EWB-UKZN Team participated in the running, walking and obstacle course relay events, and in the tug-of-war, obstacle course and 3-legged race team events. After a day that turned out to be significantly competitive, the EWB-UKZN Team returned with silver medals for the obstacle course and volleyball events and a gold for the 3-legged race.
Beyond the sports activities, the event provided the EWB-UKZN members with a unique career building opportunity in which they networked and developed contacts with professionals from various engineering firms in KwaZulu-Natal. Participation in the CESA Relay 2017 event provided a positive contribution EWB-UKZN’s long-term strategic plan of developing solid relationships with the various engineering industry role players in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province for potential collaborations in future projects.
Engineers Without Engineers UKZN held their first Annual Opening Registration Event on the 15th of March.
Over the next two weeks we as an organisation will be finalising our Projects for 2017, as well as evaluating new and potentially prospective project ideas in collaboration with both the SSIP and the Durban and District Child Welfare.
We have planned for our first event to take place toward the end of March, and we have decided it be a social one. We would like to encourage our members to become both active and patriotic in our organisation and gives us the opportunity to get acquainted with them.
This also allows us as the executive committee to build relationships with our members and to facilitate the process in choosing a new executive committee at the end of 2017.
The UKZN Chapter of Engineers without Borders has approached Child Welfare in Durban and District (CWDD) to investigate ways in which they can assist the organisation and thus have a broader social impact on society.
PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at UKZN, Mr Mohamed Khan, handled liaison between the two organisations. The management team of Engineers without Borders visited several CWDD facilities and brainstormed ways in which they could aid the largest welfare organisation in the country.
One initiative was to commission energy audits at three Child and Youth Care Facilities serving over 150 children, and also at social work offices throughout the Durban region. The purpose of the project was to provide undergraduate students with vacation work - a compulsory requirement for their degree - and to assist CWDD lower their monthly energy and water costs.
Under Khan’s supervision, the undergraduates - Ms Lindelwa Dlamini, Mr Phillip Gyasi-Agyei and Mr Jeremy Crichton - spent several days at the various offices and facilities of the organisation, using a variety of methods to determine energy consumption and usage habits. The results were then presented to the senior management of Child Welfare in a detailed report which included recommendations.
Dlamini and Gyasi-Agyei agree that the experience had been extremely informative and interesting. Challenges they faced were to understand the utility bill and the system of billing, to start thinking like an engineer and to think green in order to find smaller practical solutions that could be accepted and implemented by the organisation.
Said Dlamini: ‘The best part of the experience was implementing the strategies the Human Centered Design workshop EWB had provided before the project, which allowed us to look for technical solutions and how these would impact the people we were looking to serve on the different sites.’ Gyasi-Agyei said: ‘What I truly appreciated about the project was that we were given free reign. We were treated with respect despite our inexperience, a fact I think was important for our growth as it gave us a major confidence boost.’
The project developed into the identification of larger capital projects that could yield long-term savings. In order to grow the projects, Khan compiled funding proposals which were submitted to trusts and foundations.
Executive Director, CWSA, Mrs Shehnaaz Gabru, said: ‘This initiative has the potential to greatly help the sustainability of the organisation as municipal costs are one of the largest expenses incurred in running a Child and Youth Care Centre.’
The 2nd annual EWB-UKZN Speed Mentoring event, which took place on 1 November 2016, was an exciting, enriching and fun evening – thoroughly enjoyed by all present. The concept of Speed Mentoring – first explored by EWB-UKZN in 2015, provides a platform for engineering professionals and engineering students to engage with each other on issues ranging from industry matters to the transition from university to industry life. As the largest engineering networking event hosted at UKZN – the evening fulfilled all of its objectives, with engineering students across all disciplines at UKZN benefitting greatly from the advice, expertise and wisdom of professional engineers from Royal HaskoningDHV, Umngeni Water, Shell, eThekwini Municipality and SAPREF.
The format of the event involved 3-4 students interacting with each mentor for a period of 5 minutes at a time only – this “speed” concept allowed students to interact with all mentors present. Light refreshments were served after the event, hence providing an opportunity for students to engage with mentors more fully.
The event successfully brought together professionals and students, in a social setting, to the benefit of all.
The EWB-UKZN community gratefully acknowledges the generous sponsorship of EWB-SA – without which the event would not have been possible.
EWB-UKZN and EWB-UTT, based in the University of Technology of Troyes, have collaborated in undertaking a project to provide engineering based solutions for the self-sustaining operating of the Thembelihle Childrens Home in Cato Ridge. The aim of the project is to develop a vegetable garden that consists of a grey water treatment station that will allow for the reuse of treated waste water in the vegetable garden.
EWB-UTT and EWB-UKZN are also in discussions for a potential partnership with Wildlands Conservation Trust, an NPO focused in providing solutions for the development of robust ecosystems that underwrite human well-being and sustainable development, promoting sustainable resource use and development green economy communities. Damien Quéré, Yassine Rouam and Manon Gaberel from the EWB-UTT executive team got the opportunity to interact, engaging in group discussions and enjoy fun and games with members of the EWB-UKZN chapter in a recently held social event to welcome them.
In their month long visit, their mission is to gain insight and knowledge of the local culture, methods of living and engage with various stakeholders in the Cato Ridge community. The full deployment of the project scheduled to take place in January 2017.
On the night of the 21st of August, students from all disciplines at UKZN Howard College Campus were gathered in the Chemical Engineering Building where the EWB-UKZN Speed Mentoring Event 2015 took place.
Several engineers from Royal HaskoningDHV, Umngeni Water, Tiger Brands, SAPREF and AECOM were invited to mentor students from all engineering disciplines. The event started at 18:00 and the students were arranged into groups of three and occupied two study rooms. The groups were then given 3 minutes each to gather around a table with a mentor and ask questions, after which they would switch tables so that they could meet with all the mentors.
After the groups had met with all the mentors, snacks were served and the students got an opportunity to further engage with the mentors in a more relaxed setting. Group photos and selfies were taken to further the engagement as the event was nearing its end. The event was then ended by the EWB-UKZN chairperson with a speech of gratitude to the mentors and students.
The event proved to be a very good opportunity for students to expand their professional networks, receive general life and academic advice and fill in the gaps in their knowledge about industry and the career paths that they would like to follow.
On the 24th of April EWB-UKZN hosted a celebration for Freedom Day which took place at the Dennis Shepstone foyer at Howard College Campus.
The event took place from 11:00 to 14:00 and attracted students from all disciplines where they were invited to join in the fun and place their palm prints onto an EWB banner in a declaration of support of the special day. About 300 palm prints were collected. The executive team facilitated the activity with the help of member volunteers.
Participants had the opportunity to interact with EWB members and find out more about EWB and our UKZN chapter. We also got a chance to use the day as an opportunity to develop awareness about EWB and gain an audience among students from all disciplines and most importantly we got to celebrate our diversity and democracy.
“Today was an amazing opportunity as EWB-UKZN got to interact with students from various disciplines across the university and raising awareness on what we aim to do as a newly formed organisation at the university while valuing one of the most important days in the history of our country”
– Philani Biyela, Chairperson EWB-UKZN
There is nothing better than spending your school holidays at home watching TV the whole day right?…Wrong. There’s lots of activities and fun things to do during the holidays, like attending a Human Centred Design (HCD) workshop hosted by EWB-UKZN.
The week-long course, divided into 5 workshop sessions, took place from the 6th to the 10th of July 2015 with each session running for 3 hours. The workshop focused on the concepts of human-centered design and how this approach can be used to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change.
Participants worked together in groups in covering the activities of the course with the guidance of the workshop leader. The teams were given a design challenge that required them to apply the HCD method. They built prototypes and had the opportunity to reflect on the prototypes they developed and also share their experiences from the workshop. Towards the end of the course they also had the opportunity to share inspiring stories & learnings.
The participants had a wonderful learning experience filled with excitement and they showed a lot of enthusiasm
throughout the course. This is what Suvarna Maharaj had to say: “I would recommend this course to any student as it has allowed me to further develop my thinking skills, designing skills and teamwork. This course is a game changer particularly for students who are driven and motivated to making a difference but don’t know how to effectively go about it. Taking this course will be helpful to me not only with my current student life but with my professional life in the future.”
Each participant will receive a certificate of attendance and an active membership status.
A recently published newspaper article conveyed the issue of students experiencing serious and critical food insecurity in the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Results from a survey conducted by Nick Munro between 2007 and 2010 indicated that 16.1% and 4.7% of students experienced serious and critical levels of food insecurity respectively at the Pietermaritzburg campus alone.
Food insecurity not only has an impact on the well-being of students but has also been found to have an adverse effect on student academic success. Results from research conducted at the university by Ms Mbalenhle Gwacela revealed that approximately 80% of sampled students that were either on probation or at risk were worried about where their next meal would come from while 50% of them were food insecure.
The UKZN Food Drive is an initiative by Engineers without Borders – UKZN that aims to tackle the issue food insecurity amongst students at the university that are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Beneficiaries of the project will be registered students studying at the University of KwaZulu-Natal at the Howard College Campus. Official collection at the designated collection posts will commence from 6 October 2014 and end on the 17th October 2014 (2 weeks).
Empowering Engineers to Empower Communities
2018 | EWB-SA is a registered non-profit company | NPC 2013/014531/08