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  • Ayanda Shongwe - Chairperson
  • Mubanga Kapopo - Vice Chairperson
  • Galaletsang Neeuwfan - Secretary
  • Mulweli Matamela - Treasurer
  • Sonwabile Sigenu - Project coordinator
  • Michael Schumann - Marketing
  • Cathy Khutjo Mahloana - Events and Student Engagement



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  • 25 Sep 2017 4:46 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    ‘’Design thinking for social innovation’’ – EWB UP host Human Centred Design Course

    EWB UP hosted the annual Human Centred Design course on the 22nd of July at the University of Pretoria, Conference Hall 100. The members showed up in their number to attend the much anticipated course. Human Centred Design refers to a creative approach to problem solving which starts with the people you are designing the solution for and how to tailor the solution to their needs using empathy and engagement. EWB UP invited Deney van Rooyen (Pretoria TAB member) from Bigen Africa as a speaker for the event and she would be providing a view of the importance of the HCD type of thinking even within the industry space. Deney brought along a colleague, Vusi Baleni to share the stage and thoughts on HCD approach in industry.

    The event kicked off with the chairperson of EWB UP, Ayanda giving a quick presentation on what Human Centred Design is, why it is important in the project work we do as EWB and how the approach has been used in previous EWB projects and other projects around the world which included examples where the HCD approach was used in corporate spaces or product development of some or the most famous brands like Kelloggs. Deney and Vusi presentation touched on how engineering, human needs, empathy, engagement and growth is involved in the HCD approach. They commented on how a user based design is frequently used in computer and software engineering while the HCD approach is strangely not a big theme in Infrastructure Design. One of the important points made by Vusi is to always ensure our solutions humanise the beneficiary community and how empathy is the key to that. They raised the issue of how the structural industry battles with the issue of the dislike of pedestrian bridges with users and how perhaps an in depth HCD approach may be the solution. The main theme across their presentation was to get the participants thinking of not only the importance of the HCD approach but also of how real life situations bring challenges for a HCD approach. When concluding the presentation Deney suggested the participants watch a TED Talk by Ernesto Sirolli titled Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! Both presentations stressed the importance to engaging with the communities that you want to help in order to get a solution that will be useful to the community and the role of empathy in the HCD approach.

    Once the presentations were done the event moved on to the practical application of a HCD approach for problem solving where the members present were given a conceptual design problem where they had to come up with a solution and the solutions would be assessed for how well the hcd approach was applied. The problem given was that the participants had to take up the role of an NGO to come up with a solution to solve a sanitation problem for a community of about 300 people using the bucket toilet system. The solution needed to be sustainable, practical and affordable. The teams came up with innovative solutions and the judges Vusi and Deney gave great feedback on the solutions they came up with. It is safe to say the participants enjoyed the event and learned from it if the comments by participants are anything to go by.

  • 24 May 2017 12:20 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    On Friday 13th of May the Sonwabile Sigenu and Ayanda Shongwe the Projects Coordinator and Chairperson of EWB UP respectively paid a visit to Stanza Bopape Secondary School and the Mamelodi Arts and Culture Forum both located in Mamelodi. These visits were in line with the EWB UP Spark Nation Mentorship project and the Litre Of Light project in order to reestablish the partnership for the projects which were a continuation of their 2016 projects of the same names. These visits also served the purpose of being a needs analysis and project impact assessment of the work done in the previous year. Such community visits form a very important part of a human centered design approach which is engaging with the community and discussing project plans with the community.

    At Stanza Bopape Secondary they met with Mr Masonto, the head of department for the Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the school. The plans for the mentorship project which include a career day, tutoring in Physical sciences and Mathematics, hosting a makerspace event and an ICT skills programme to teach basic coding skills were presented to Mr Masonto. Mr Masonto welcomed the plans and expressed that the school is looking forward to working with EWB UP again. One of the problems identified during the visit was the non-functional computer lab and the EWB UP team is investigating possible solutions which may result in a possible project.

    Sonwabile and Ayanda then proceeded to the Mamelodi Arts and Culture Forum which was the partnering organization in the Litre Of Light project in 2016. This was meant mainly as a reestablishment of the partnership for the Litre Of Light project for 2017. They met with the new executive of Mamelodi Arts and Culture Forum and briefed them on progress last year along with plans for this year. Potential project at the forum like the building of a display stage and repainting the forum were also discussed.

    In summary the meetings were a resounding success as both the school and the forum were on board with pan for the projects to be executed with them. In the true spirit of partnership both the school and forum suggested potential projects and improvements of last year’s projects

  • 26 Mar 2017 11:20 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    We learned a lot from a lot of people! We got a lot of advice on how to improve ourselves so that we can better plan and execute our projects. We also learned a lot about presentation from Yoliswa. Thanks a million, really enlightening techniques about how to win over judges and the audience that we will surely be using in the future! The people were awesome. The EWBers (yes, that's a word) from the other chapters are the most exciting and interesting people to be around.

    Final presentation! We worked all night on this. Like literally after midnight, but we completed it and presented a really awesome year plan. Summit was a fantastic way to get the year going.

    It helped us plan out year and network with the other chapters so that we can collaborate on projects. Engineering transformation towards empowered communities

    Written by Lethabo Phofa

  • 20 Dec 2016 4:35 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Coming off being named the rising stars at the 2015 at EWB SA Leadership Summit, EWB UP set off to make 2016 the best year EWB UP has ever had. The executive committee was elected in September 2015 to lead EWB UP for the next 12 months which would consist of the first 4 months being dedicated to planning for the upcoming year. 2016 was quite a busy year for EWB UP.

    The EWB UP Executive Committee kicked off the year’s activities at the annual TuksRAG (Reach Out and Give) Rag Day where a gazebo was pitched up and those present could walk up to the table and ask questions about EWB UP and what it does. The was also where we got more than 15 new members to join EWB UP for the year. Also present at the EWB UP stand was an EWB UP booklet which had some pictures and review of activities in 2016.

    After Rag Day the next stop for EWB UP was signing up a team of EWB UP members for the Google Hash Code Competition which was to be hosted at the Innovation Hub on the 11th of February 2016. We had 11 EWB UP members who participated in the Hash Code competition. Although none of the teams won but the was a great endeavor as EWB UP broke down some boundaries in terms of the members we attract and cater for. The actual event also provided a networking opportunity where we met up with Geekulcha, an organization within the ICT space with which we would partner up with during the year.

    As the year moved on next on the EWB UP calendar was the Power Discussion Panel centered on the topic of Renewable Energy. This discussion panel was done to also create awareness of a project we would be embarking on, the Litre Of Light project. The discussion panel was hosted on the 12th of March at the University of Pretoria Graduate Centre with panelists Dr Rethabile Melamu the Director of Green Economy Gauteng under the Department of Economic Development, Thabo Moyo a PV Design Engineer at SunEdison and Thabiso from At Lets Meet. The discussion panel was an overwhelming success with over 80 guests present.

    Human Centered Design (HCD) was the next event on the calendar. The HCD is a training of EWB members in principles of EWB SA which are involved in the process of designing of solutions for the problems that we are solving in the communities. Having solutions which are considerate of the community in which the solutions are being implemented in, design solution that is human/end user oriented.

    Intel Training was organized in conjunction with our partners Geekulcha. This event was done to create awareness on the new Intel Real Sense camera and also to educate on the Internet of Things. It was truly a great learning experience with Tiyani Nghonyama and Tchisseke Vicente the COO and Mobile Lead of Geekulcha respectively. They also demonstrated the working of the 3d Intel Real Sense camera which impressed the members who were present.

    Project Leadership Labs was another event on the EWB UP calendar that was meant to empower the members of EWB UP. For the event we had Elaine Porter from WSP, Yetunde Dada from EWB SA and Koketso Rampedi from Barclays. Personal branding was one of the stand out topics that were discussed.

    LOL is the Litre Of Light project. This was a project to teach a community how to build solar bottles using 2 L plastic bottles. On this project EWB UP partnered with the Mamelodi Arts and Culture Forum as a partner in the project and a community organization that is already within the community. The project has 3 phases, first one is teaching the community on building the Litre Of Light solar bottles, second one being teaching the community of Mamelodi along with the Art Forum and third being implementation in the community with the community taking control with the knowledge that has been transferred.

    Mentorship was a project that EWB UP engaged in at Stanza Bopape Secondary School. The Mentorship project had the Tutoring and Career Guidance aspects. For the Career Guidance, we hosted a career guidance for Grade 10-12 where we invited a Civil Engineer, a lawyer and a bank analyst. Then for 3 weeks we had Mathematics and Physical Sciences tutoring sessions for the grade 10 and 11

  • 04 Oct 2016 2:14 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Engineers Without Borders University of Pretoria (EWB-UP) took part in the annual 42 hour Geekulcha Hackathon 2016 from the 24th to the 26th June at The Innovation Hub. The objective of the event is to get young people thinking innovatively to “hack” solutions to real-world problems and/or challenges. Therefore, it was certainly no surprise to see an overwhelming amount of app developers and hackers ready to crack on.

    EWB-UP took up the challenge of partaking in the Hackathon as one of the few participants focused on the Maker Space side to it. The Maker Space was set up for teams who took on challenges which required building or making a product instead of developing an app or website. The team took on the Tshwane Fashion Project challenge to design clothing that generates electricity as a merger between technology and fashion. It was a daunting yet exciting challenge.

    EWB-UP saw itself come second in the Geekulcha Hackathon, one place short of the R10 000 grand prize for first place. Galaletsang Neeuwfan, a member of the EWB-UP team, won the award for best female hacker at the event. The ideas worthy of second place were a head-to-toe concept for clothing that generates electricity. This include flexible solar panels incorporated into fabric for hats, jackets and shirts and using electromagnetic induction in running shoes and piezoelectrics in normal shoes to generate electricity for a power bank.

    Innovation was the order of the day and this was redefined by EWB-UP in a big room full of creative programmers and app developers. Fashion and engineering could be just what the world has been waiting for. The team EWB-UP looks forward to its exciting partnership with the Tshwane Fashion Project.

  • 04 Oct 2016 2:06 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Over 50 EWB members stepped away from their busy student lives on the 14th of May to be part of the 2016 Human centred Design Course (HCD) hosted by EWB-UP at the University of Pretoria (Hatfield Campus).The aim of the event was shed light on how the solutions we come up with to solve everyday problems affect the lives people who use them.

    The event kicked off with a presentation from the facilitator Paul Ssali who gave insight on what the HCD is all about, and soon after the real fun began. Members were given a riveting real life problem and asked to apply the human centred approach to solve the problem. The challenge was to design a system, process or product to help members of a rural community fetch water from a river 1 km away.

    Although the challenge left many wondering, after hearing all the problems that the community faced, it did not hinder the innovative thinking and excitement that echoed in the room throughout the event. The challenge struck a chord with some of the members who remarked, “I didn’t realise how diverse and complicated designing for people’s needs can be “.

    At the end of the day seven incredible designs were presented to a panel of judges. Amongst the seven designs, the creativity and innovation was evident in each design, from solar powered pump systems to water filtering trees. The success of this event is attributed to all the members that showed up and participated. It was truly an unforgettable experience for many.

    Compiled by Paul Ssali on behalf of EWB-UP

  • 04 Oct 2016 2:01 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    On 28 April 2016 Engineers Without Borders UP Chapter in partnership with Geekulcha hosted an Intel training workshop. The event that was hosted at University Of Pretoria was attended mostly by members of EWB however invitation was extended to the rest of the UP student body. In total approximately 50 students were present at the event. The event came as a result of the ever growing relationship that EWB-UP continues to enjoy with Geekulcha and it was aimed at empowering students in the fields of ICT. For the event Geekulcha brought Mixo Ngoveni ,Tiyani Nghonyama and Tchisseke Vicente the CEO , COO and Mobile Lead Developer respectively.

    The event started with an introduction to Intel’s Real Sense technology. During the event Geekulcha demonstrated the capabilities of the mountable RealSense camera. The Intel real sense technology allows the user to be more interactive with their technological devices like computers and gaming consoles. With increased tracking capabilities in the new Intel Real Sense technology, the user is able to interact and control their computers using finger gestures more effectively. The technology’s capability to scan objects and produce 3D images greatly increases its possible applications for the general public and industry.

    The students were then given an opportunity to brainstorm some ideas of how this new technology can be practically used by the public and industry. Students formed groups where they discussed and brainstormed the possibilities applications of the new technology for more meaningful results and community development. Each group of students had to then present their ideas to everyone else. The ideas presented varied immensely and included applications for corporates businesses, medical industry, construction industry and many more.

  • 04 Oct 2016 12:36 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    The Hack4Water Hackathon took place on Arduino day which was hosted by Geekulcha at the Innovation Hub on 2 April 2016. Arduino Day is a worldwide birthday celebration of Arduino and Genuino. It's a 24 hours-long event, organised directly by the community, or by the Arduino founders where people interested in Arduino and Genuino get together, share their experiences, and learn more. EWB-UP was well represented at the event, with 6 committee members in attendance.

    This event was aimed at gathering young innovative minds together so as to come up with solutions to real life problems using the knowledge that they had acquired after learning about big data. Several speakers presented on the use and importance of big data, followed by a discussion panel on the topic of big data. EWB-UP is honoured to have been invited to be part of the discussion panel, in which Paul Ssali participated to represent the chapter.

    Two competitions were then opened to the floor in which the different groups had to choose which problem they would tackle. The two problems that were posed were SkateHacks, in which the participating groups were expected to come up with ways of improving the skateboard, so as to enhance its functions and expand on its usage. The second problem was Hack4Water, in which the participating groups’ primary focus was to come with innovative ways of addressing water crisis in South Africa.

    The EWB-UP team chose the Hack4Water challenge and came up with a solution that uses big data to regulate water usage in agriculture through a modified tank with temperature sensors. The solution immensely impressed on the day.

    Not only was Arduino day an opportunity to learn about Arduino and big data, but it also consolidated our partnership with Geekulcha, which we can certainly say is thriving.

  • 04 Oct 2016 12:26 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Event Report:

    Date and time of event: 12th March 2016, 11:00 – 14:00

    Venue: Graduate Centre L2-70

    The power discussion was an event aimed at inspiring interactive conversation between students and industry experts on matters concerning South Africa’s Power consumption, and sustainable energy solutions. Pre-rehearsed questions were asked to our panel of experts.

    Rethabile Melamu, who’s academic and industry expertise in Green Energy, and Chemical Engineering, offered in depth insight on various topics raised relating to sustainability and development.

    Thabo Moyo, who’s a Mechanical Engineer gave some tips for innovation, and Surprise Manamela, a student entrepreneur shared his input and added a well balanced mix conducive for heated discussions on Sustainability, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    The event hosted 70 people for an audience, with a facilitator.

    On campus societies; Enactus UP, Tuks Rag, and EWB-UP gave presentations on their community engagement initiatives in line with innovative solutions for Energy supply to communities.

    Main Topics Discussed:

    With power, and electricity consumption still a lingering topic in South Africa’s developing economy, our questions and topics for discussion were centred around the economic implications of poor power supply, such as the effect it had on businesses, economic performance and ultimately, the GDP; the argument of adaptation vs creativity was one that sparked a heated debate, whether we should adapt to how things are, or have a sense of entitlement to better services and take it in our own hands to create means to alleviate the challenges faced due to poor power supply.

    Other topics included innovation and entrepreneurship, and how they are linked in a growing economy; The ICT sector, being the largest consumer of electricity, and how we can control this in a technologically advancing society; and lastly to appetize conversation after the event, the speculation of nuclear power in south Africa was discussed in closing.

    Event Program:

    11:30 - 12:00: Society Presentations

    12:00 - 13:30: Power Discussion

    13:30 - 14:00: Refreshments and Networking

    Power discussion Questions Asked to our Panellists and Audience:


    Greetings, my name is Mubanga Kapopo and I’m the treasurer for EWB-UP. Aside from community empowerment, one of the key constraints of any good and necessary initiative is sustainability, innovation and of course entrepreneurship.

    It gives me great pleasure to present to you our Panel of experts today, who will offer some professional, well experienced, practical insight on the relevance of these concepts with regard to the future of our country.

    With no further a dew, please give a warm welcome to our panellists.

    If you could kindly just introduce yourselves, giving us a brief of who you are, what you so, and from a personal point of view: see ice breaker

    Ice breaker:

    Could you physically survive in a hypothetical economy independent of power and why?

    Question 1: Challenges due to Power Struggle

    With over 100 days of load shedding experienced last year, Power and Energy consumption as well as distribution are keys issues concerned with the integrity of the economy.

    What are some challenges you and your organization have faced in the past year as a result (lack of productivity, or any inconveniences that might have led to major stagnation by your organization) and how did you manage to cure or prevent these challenges?

    Question 2: Adaptation vs Creation

    It has been established that government indeed has a plan that’s being implemented to fix this issue. The plan emphasizes the addition of new higher capacity generators through projects such as Medupi, Kusile, and Ingula power stations. Their capacity is largely helped by the fact that there has been a notable decline in power consumption since 2007, despite evident strains on the grid. This implies that industries responsible for major consumptions have been adapting to the power supply

    instability and are almost regressing in their demand, parallel to the availability of power.

    What are your thoughts on this, should businesses and companies simply adapt to conditions of insufficient power? Or should there be a drive in innovation? Where does the priority lie, if being innovative becomes too costly? Do businesses then step back and cater for what best suits the industry under present conditions, or despite the costs, should industries be more obliged to make investments for the future of the country?

    Question 3 Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    According to deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, Affordability should be a prerequisite for investments in energy. SA has mixed alternative energy sources of solar, wind, gas, hydropower and very soon, nuclear. However, these alternative methods are costly and poor communities suffer, which in turn drags the economy. According to UCT professor and Deputy President Advisor panel member on energy. . SA’s electricity tariffs have surged by 300% since 2007, whilst there has been an increase in the use of gas. Gas is not too costly, and provides significant opportunity for small localized manufacturing and entrepreneurship supporting gas reticulation in local communities.

    What initiatives are being implemented or planning on being implemented by your organization that support innovation, job creation, entrepreneurship or simply just to save energy? If none are present, do you think this is a viable niche to tackle by large corporations in expending resources to create sustainable solutions? What challenges would be most prominent when it comes to this?

    Question 4: ICT sector

    The ICT sector was known to consume around 109GW of power in 2013, which is about 6% of the world’s total electricity consumption. Despite the common term 'Africa Rising' and our quest to be more like our tech advanced western counterparts, we are humbled by the fact that we live on a power constrained continent.

    Between PC's and ICT devices, about 75GW of electricity is consumed a year. 69GW is consumed just for their infrastructure and 37.1 GW for telecommunication, operating systems and data centres. This surmounts to about 12 New York cities on a global scale.

    The ICT sector is necessary for our own human development. By 2017, it is expected that more than 5bil GB of data will pass through the global communications network. This is equivalent to every person tweeting nonstop for 100 years.

    Such a dramatic explosion in tariffs requires ever increasing energy resources at network level, meaning that the ICT sector needs to control operational expenditure allocated for energy

    consumption, from this perspective, what are your opinions, and what would be the most effective way in doing this?

    Would investing in energy-efficiency in devices be a solution? Should government regulate devices entering our market that put a strain on our power consumptions? Or is this a problem we humans have created and it is our responsibility to simply look for alternative energy methods to supply power to these high-end demanding devices we export?

    Question 5:

    President Jacob Zuma has signed a deal with Russian president Vladimir Putin on a Nuclear Energy Program said to cost about R650billion. Providing 9,6GW of nuclear power generating capacity. Numerous issues arise due to this, the obvious one being affordability, according to ANC Secretary, affordability is out of reach when it comes to this, despite a reduction in overall costs compared to running coal power stations. This is a move benefiting future generations. Concerns of transparency and legal issues also arise, because the deal is said to bind South Africa financially and holds us liable for any accidents.

    In light of what we've been discussing, what are your thoughts on this? Is nuclear energy viable despite SA's concerns over affordability and transparency? (Seeing as most of the details with regards to the deal are being held back by government)

    Open floor for questions and comments.

    Event Costs:

    Refreshments: R1377.15

    Stickers for marketing: R100.00

    Gifts for panellists: R209.94

    Total Cost for Event: R1687.09

  • 04 Oct 2016 12:22 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

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