Stories worth sharing.

  • 03 Aug 2015 9:05 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)


    Article contributed by Jennifer Robertson from Mott MacDonald

    From the 29th June to 17th July 2015 a team of four University of Cape Town students from EWB-SA were hosted at the Mott MacDonald Cape Town office. The students are part of a team that is designing a skate park in Langa. Mott MacDonald provided office space, equipment and mentoring to the students.

    The project is currently in the feasibility stage and students spent most of their time developing a proposal, doing stakeholder engagement and deciding on material for the skate park. One of the major breakthroughs in the project was identifying a suitable site for the Skate Park.

    The Mott MacDonald partnership with EWB has helped the students by giving them a space to get together and focus on the project. We also helped them meet up with people in the City of Cape Town Parks Department. In addition the three weeks gave them an insight into the various Civil Engineering disciplines and what office life was like. Feedback from the students and EWB was very positive who were very grateful for the time and energy that various staff members gave them.

    Mott MacDonald is hoping to continue our involvement in the skate park project with EWB so there will be more news to follow.

    Thanks to the Cape Town staff who all made an effort to make the students feel welcome.

  • 01 Jul 2015 9:11 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)


    Another successful Wiki Night went down on 21 July, bringing together engineering pros and students from different corners of Gauteng to ponder questions that matter. Thanks to WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff in Africa for hosting us in their i-Design space.

    Here a summary why we hosted a session on this topic:

    We believe that engineers hold great potential to create things of value. Who better than us to thus lead the entrepreneurial revolution in Africa? EWB-SA wants to help create an idea generation and business creation space in which opportunities are shared, ideas multiplied, creativity unleashed and where value trumps. To do this, we need your input to hear what you want and how we can get there together. It all starts with a first step. So let’s get walking.

    Watch this space for continuing conversations around entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in engineering.

    Read more about Wiki Nights here.

  • 15 Jun 2015 9:13 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    EECE Award announcement 1

    At the heart or EWB-SA lies ourcommunity of passionate and driven engineers. We are proud of the commitment and hours of planning, designing and execution that you put into over 20 community development projects across South Africa every year. That’s why we have decided to up the challenge to encourage you to plan better, engage more effectively and deliver solutions that have an impact. Today we are launching the Empowering Communities through Engineering Excellence Award to emphasise EWB-SA’s commitment to fostering engineering thinking that benefits society. The Award is a R5 000,00 cash prize that will be awarded to the team members of the EWB-SA Chapter project that best embodies the design principles set out in our Project LifeCycle Process (select link to Guidelines and Templates).

    Remember your Project Roots – the reason WHY you embarked on an EWB project – and #BeYourLegend

  • 25 May 2015 9:15 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    The Alcoa Foundation announced this month that EWB-SA was selected alongside 12 other Engineers Without Borders International affiliates to receive grant funding as part of the Creation of a Global Engineer Program. The program is designed to create and replicate the best practices of  “learning through service programs” that develop skills in leadership, project management, communication, systems thinking and community and personal engagement.

    EWB-SA will utilise the funding to develop their Project Roots community of practice. Project Roots takes EWB-SA members back to the fundamentals of planning and executing successful development projects. The grant funding will subsidise the development of an online library of project resources and forum through which members can communicate and collaborate on projects nationally.  This will serve as a virtual extension to the current Mentorship programme, Project Life Cycle workshops and Human Centred Design Courses within the ‘Transferring Engineering Knowledge’ focus area.

    Running a successful development project requires introspection and collaboration says Matt Docherty, EWB-SA’s Head of Projects. It’s a journey in which you go from exploring what motivates you, to what motivates your team, to what motivates your community and sponsors. For EWB-SA our greatest achievement lies in enabling student engineers achieve this realisation and to carry it with them into the workplace. The objective of Project Roots is to facilitate this process by ensuring that projects run smoothly and that learnings are remembered and shared.

    “For EWB-SA receiving the grant from the Alcoa Foundation presents a tremendous opportunity to start documenting the collective experience of the EWB-SA community. Over the past 5 years EWB-SA members have planned and implemented over 30 engineering-related community development projects across South Africa. To deepen our understanding of the work we do we need to improve our knowledge sharing and training practices. Project Roots will be the first open online platform in South Africa that shares best approaches, learnings and failures of engineering practices in a local development context.” – Wiebke Toussaint, Chief Initiator of EWB-SA.

    If you are interested to work with EWB-SA on developing Project Roots as the online go-to place for Global Engineering resources in Africa and share how you would like to contribute.

  • 29 Apr 2015 9:16 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    Facebook flyer

    The air we breathe, the water we drink, the power that lights our homes and drives our gadgets – without the driving force of engineers across our continent life would be unimaginably different. To connect the minds behind the scenes, Africa’s leading water and power expo is coming to Cape Town from 12 – 14 May 2015.

    EWB-SA is partnering with African Utilities Week to enable our Western Cape student membership to participate in pertinent industry discussions and increase their awareness around utilities in Africa. We see access to power and water as fundamental cornerstones to development in Africa. As engineers this is the space where we can make a difference.

    Think Utility and be part of the conversation around water and power in Africa. AUW2015 is just 2 weeks away. Register now for your free expo pass .

  • 26 Feb 2015 9:20 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    A course by +Acumen and The Ariel Group

    “Storytelling for Change will help you better connect with your audience, whether in a meeting with one person or in a presentation to hundreds of people.”

    Dates: Mondays, from 09 March till 27 April

    Time: 18h30 – 20h30

    Venue: The Solution Space @UCT Graduate School of Business

    Course fee: Free!

    Register here:

    Contact Naeema Hoosain for more information

  • 08 Dec 2014 9:21 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)

    EWBSA Pros 2014 Summit

    Back from left to right: David Ming, Simon Katende, Vinu Nair, Sean Langton, Murendeni Matshinyatsimbi and Cleo Forster. Front from left to right: Michelle Low, Wiebke Toussaint and Mbali Mabaso

    EWB-SA’s 3rd Annual Leadership Summit 2014 was not only a great success, but this year included the first group of Professional EWB-SA members. These young engineers and entrepreneurs are based all over the country and still contribute towards empowering communities while building up their young careers. The summit was an amazing space where professionals got to build up networks with one another and also got an opportunity to establish relationships with the student chapters. This two day event included a range of interactive sessions such as a leadership workshop; a panel discussion with industry guest speakers; and planning for 2015 to name a few. The sessions that included all members were so well balanced that it was a perfect fit for both students and professionals. There were moments when I forgot which side I belonged to. Thank you to Murendeni Matshinyatsimbi (Jhb), Vinu Nair (Jhb), Sean Langton (CPT), Simon Katende (PTA) and Cleo Forster (Jhb) for being the planning dream-team for the professional EWB portfolio 2015.

    The definition of youth development as defined in the SA National Youth Development Policy Framework (2009 – 2014), sums up the vision of the EWB-SA Professional Portfolio:

    “Youth Development is an intentional comprehensive approach that provides the space, opportunities, and support for young people to maximise their individual and collective creative energies for personal development as well as development of the broader society of which they are an integral part.”

    I sincerely look forward to this new journey with like-minded young engineers doing their part towards empowering communities. I cannot wait to be blown away by the next summit!

    Written by Mbalenhle Mabaso


  • 08 Sep 2014 9:29 PM | Dhruti Dheda (Administrator)


    The main theme of discussion will be:
    “What are people most passionate about or most anxious about as engineers in SA?”
    Let’s also read the Engineering News in SA to get conversations going!



  • 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.


Empowering Engineers to Empower Communities

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