Have a look at what EWB-UP is up to.

University of Pretoria


Let's make EWB-UP projects happen!

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Upcoming events


  • Kamva Ndlala - Chairperson. 
  • Brian - Vice Chairperson
  • Nozuko Nompuka - Treasurer
  • Peter Mahapa- Projects Coordinator
  • Kgalalelo Ratsoana--Secretary
  • Public Relations - Tshimauswu Unarine
  • Marketing- Collins 



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  • 29 Nov 2018 2:58 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)


    During 2018 EWB UP Chapter were part of few community projects. These projects are the heart of the society. The University of Pretoria Chapter adopted Kutumela Molefe Primary school to serve them and help with their basic needs through engineering principals. An overview of projects during the year will be given below.

    Project in collaboration with Bigen Africa

    During the July Vacation EWB UP gave students the opportunity to do vacation training in collaboration with Bigen Africa. This opportunity simultaneously reached out to our adopted community at Kutemela Molefe.

    The Vacation work students received intense training from professionals. Skills for surveying were learnt and applied to a surveying project at the primary school. The skills gained gave these students the empowerment to empower the community.

    JCP: EWB helps out with JCP

    JCP is a Community-based learning is a form of experiential learning with the aim at the accomplishment of tasks, which meets genuine human needs, as well as the execution of the tasks that serve as an educational and learning tool aimed at the acquisition of a number of important life skills by the students.

    The Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at the University of Pretoria implemented from 2005 a new compulsory module, Community- Based Project (code:JCP), for all undergraduates. The eight-credit module is offered on an open-ended and project-orientated basis. The students attended compulsory orientation sessions and then submitted their projects in the form of a proposal for evaluation and approval. Only then students started with their fieldwork of at least 40 hours. After the students have done their fieldwork they report on their experiences and lessons learned via a presentation and report in the form of a wiki on e-learning management system (clickUP).

    During this module the society helps student groups to identify projects and the they are guided through the process to complete the module and to empower a community.

    In 2018 Projects included a few painting projects and cleaning up. All the projects were done at our adopted community.

    Empowerment of students

    The society does not only focus on the community but on the students to equip them with the needed skills to be able to empower communities and to be able to effectively reach out.

    To focus on the students’ events during the year were held which includes workshops and marketing strategies.

    HCD implementation

    The human centered design course is a one-day course. This year Aurecon presented the course and equipped us with the knowledge and material.

    The society presented a second course with great success. This course enhances how students approach problems and how to deal with a community and their specific needs. This event alter the way engineers traditionally think and the way we find solutions in engineering and how to apply it in the real world.

    This course is a world class experience in design lead thinking.

    The Design Challenge

    Design challenges created to test the processes and creativity of any designer. Engineering design challenges are an integral part of educational content where students have the opportunity to work on real-world challenges in a collaborative, team-based environment, applying the lessons learned to the technical problems of the workplace. Our Design Challenges connects students, unique challenges.

    This year the challenge consisted of a social impact challenge were issues such as off the grid living, fluctuating electricity supply and poor sanitation were tackled and practical and sustainable solutions for the communities of Mzondi and Tsepisong west were created. This event was held in collaboration with Aurecon

    Sponsors and collaborations

    • Aurecon
    • Bigen Africa
    • Intel
    • JCP University of Pretoria
    • University of Pretoria
    • EWB South Africa

  • 19 Sep 2018 9:42 AM | UP EWB (Administrator)

    During the cold winter recess JCP students from the EWB UP chapter set out to change the lives of young children at Kutumela Molefe Farm School in Mamelodi. The school was in a poor state and we took it upon ourselves as the UP Chapter to help them out with different projects that would leave an everlasting impact on the lives of these learners. Armed with paintbrushes the students were tasked with painting classrooms for the little ones to bring a bit of vibrance to the classroom setting. The once pale white walls were transformed into a sea of green and yellow by the hardworking JCP students. The classrooms were also missing chalkboards which the JCP students added to make learning and teaching easier in the classroom environment. Throughout the cold winter mornings, the learners had to sit in classrooms without windows therefore the insulation of classroom was also a main priority. The JCP groups insulated the classroom windows with bubble wrap and took it upon themselves to teach a few of the staff how to do in case a windows shatters in the future. The core value of our society “Live with Passion, Unfold your Potential and Work with Compassion” was displayed by all our members.

  • 27 Jul 2018 10:12 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    The Kutumela-Molefi project is focused on establishing a development program for the Kutumela-Molefi primary school in Mamelodi. A condition assessment and site plan of the school was compiled by EWB in conjunction with Bigen. Following investigations conducted by the Bigen group the school was found to be in a dire state, due to a lack of infrastructure and resources. Furthermore the socio-economic problems within the local community have escalated the depletion of the school, through theft of resources and overpopulation in the school. Various sponsors and donors have in the past attempted to implement development projects, however with no plan and a lack of organisation most of these projects have been left unfinished and unsuccessful. A major challenge faced by the school is water supply. It was found that the lack of maintenance and vandalism to the system has left the school with an insufficient supply of water.

    The Kutumela-Molefi project aims to establish a feasible development and support program for the schools infrastructure. The key question to be answered is how can the learning conditions of the children at the school be effectively improved? By doing so the learners will be able to keep their sole focus on their education.

    The main function of the school is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for education. However if in any way these conditions are not provided, learners are then unable to maintain their focus on their education and instead are now distracted by growing concerns over the lack of provisions and infrastructure in the school. More so by law there is a legal obligation for the school to ensure the basic civil needs of the leaners and staff alike are provided for, and at the moment this isn’t the case. Hence a development program to establish the provision of the schools basic needs has to be implemented. The department of education appears to be unable to see to this due to a lack of funding and poorly executed condition assessments. Thus a call to donors and sponsors has been made to take up various projects within the development program.

    Summary of Technical work

    A site plan and condition assessment was conducted by EWB and the Bigen group. Kutumela-Molefi primary school is a farm school that underwent various developments to cater for the Mamelodi community. Being a farm school there was no existing site plan of the school nor a physical asset management plan. Hence a site plan of the existing classrooms, bathrooms, offices and overall layout of the school was compiled to give insight into the structure and state all physical features within the school. The site plan also included access roads and locations of the surrounding features such as settlements.

    The site layout of the school was constructed by a team of land and quantity surveyors from the Bigen group along with a team of engineering students from EWB at the Univeristy of Pretoria. This was achieved by making surveying GPS equipment and surveying strategies. An initial demonstration and training course on surveying was conducted by the surveying team to educate the EWB students about surveying and how to conduct a survey. The students then assisted the surveying team over the course of the week with developing a site plan of physical elements within and around the school. A survey of the access road was also performed.

    The survey involved making use of a surveying GPS system to locate and establish the dimensions of existing physical features. A further detailed survey was conducted to define the internal and external dimensions and features of the existing physical structures. Following the survey a site plan was then compiled by the Bigen group civil engineering team and EWB students by making use of the survey data collected and site planning software.

    Following the construction of the site plan, a condition assessment was then carried out, to establish the physical state of various existing classrooms, bathrooms, offices and infrastructure. This condition assessment gave insight into the level of depletion in the infrastructure of the school. The condition assessment was conducted by a physical condition assessor from the Bigen group and the EWB students.

    An initial demonstration and information session was held to educate the students on condition assessment. Following the information session, the students the assisted the condition assessor to conduct and compile a condition assessment.

    A final report of the activities carried out was compiled and submitted to the Bigen group engineering team for further assessment.

    The Kutumela-Molefi project was an educational and eye-opening experience. There were many lessons to take home along with training and skills. The surveying exercise was a very practical and enlightening experience, it provided insight into the structure and procedures of coordinating an engineering project, from establishing and executing a plan to conducting and the importance of a survey to any engineering project.

    More so the experience of working with surveying equipment and software enabled us to gain exposure to some of the tools available to go about executing various tasks within an engineering project. The EWB students found the surveyors to be exceptional in their knowledge and work ethic, they were able to successfully inform and equip the students with the basic surveying skills and knowledge needed to execute the site survey.

    The condition assessment was very informative and helped place perspective on the necessity of detail analysis and assessment. In any engineering project maintenance is critical to ensuring the longevity and effective operation of any infrastructure. By performing a condition assessment, various issues and problems can be identified to ensure maintenance and repairs are enforced before failure occurs.

    The EWB students found the condition assessor to be very knowledgeable and experienced in the field of condition assessment. The condition assessor helped to give the students insight into the process of analysis and identifying critical issues.

    Overall the students found the experience of working with the Bigen team insightful and gained much needed exposure to the engineering field.

    Written by Anotidashe Michael Mukombachoto

    Edited by Dhruti Dheda

  • 12 May 2018 10:08 AM | UP EWB (Administrator)

    In a joint venture with the EWB TUT Chapter we hosted a Human Centred Design Course at the University of Pretoria in partnership with Aurecon. The HCD course is one of the highlights of the year and many students waited in anticipation for the invites to be sent out. The HCD course started early on a Saturday morning with an introduction game that gave us insight into our fellow EWB-ers. The presenters Wim and Paul gave us insight on how to alter our thinking in different situations and relevant questions to ask to solve problems. The day went on and as lunch was served a live video was recorded and posted on our Instagram account. After lunch we moved on to learning the very important skill of developing an idea through a mind map and Problem Statement. Taking away many lessons from the Aurecon presenters we have decided to host our very own HCD as the Executive Committee of EWB UP. Details to follow soon.

  • 29 Mar 2018 2:21 AM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)


    The scene was set, the tent was up and the banners of EWB were flying high. This is how EWB UP Chapter opened up our marketing week. The marketing week was held from the 19th to 28th February 2018 on the Aula Grass at the University of Pretoria. At any given time during our marketing days there was Executive Committee and General Committee members available to students for any queries regarding Engineers Without Boarders. The team was hard at work encouraging students to join our society. The important thing was informing them that by helping the community around you, you are in turn helping yourself in the process. 

    We managed to sign up more than 500 students which is a great accomplishment for us. We set out to educate students about the work that EWB UP does, that we are all about empowerment of everyone involved in our projects. We showed the students that we are a giving society and one that will be of great benefit to all parties involved. We encouraged the 2nd year students doing their JCP community engagement module to collaborate with us at our adopted school Kutumela Molefe Primary School. Each year we do many projects at the school and it just gets better and better. That is the goal of EWB UP, to live with PASSION, unfold your POTENTIAL and work with COMPASSION.

  • 10 Feb 2018 8:00 AM | UP EWB (Administrator)

    Our Executive Committee had a team building exercise at Kutumela  Molefe. We decided to paint the Guard house at the school just to add a bit more vibrance and colour. On this day we truly realized that teamwork does make the dream work.

  • 22 Jan 2018 8:00 AM | UP EWB (Administrator)

    The 2018 Nation Summit was enriching and eye opening for our team. From learning about the proper ways of planning to effective communication. It helped us grow  and be better in touch with the communities and partners we engage with. The summit was beneficial in unveiling how to endeavour the problems we face and what in fact it is to help.

  • 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

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