Odds are you've heard about Doctors Without Borders but did you know there's also an Engineers Without Borders USA? Well it's Feel Good Friday so you're about to learn.
The mission of Engineers Without Borders USA is stated on their website, "EBW-USA builds a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world's most pressing challenges." You can see a quick video summary of their work here.
Founded in 2002 by Dr. Bernard Amadei after he took 14 of his civil engineering students to Belize to construct a clean water system, EWB-USA is now operating in 46 countries working on 698 infrastructure projects. Volunteers in the 275 EWB-USA chapters partner directly with communities to meet their self-identified needs.
The International Community Program focuses technical assistance on the areas of water supply, civil works, sanitation, agriculture, energy and structures. Specific projects include building bridges, roads, biosand filters and harnessing solar power. In the communities that work with EWB-USA, 75% are able to sustain the projects once the engineers leave. That helps fulfill the organization's vision of "a world in which every community has the capacity to sustainably meet their basic human needs."
More experienced volunteers can join the Engineering Service Corps and provide engineering project support to governments, NGOs and United Nations agencies. These larger-scale programs focus on disaster relief, agriculture, infrastructure, water, sanitation and hygiene and energy. From improving hospital systems in Sierra Leone to rebuilding wells in Ethiopia, the Engineering Service Corps is focused on creative and lasting solutions.
Finally, for volunteers who want to stay closer to home, the Community Engineering Corps was created in 2014 to assist with engineering projects in both urban and rural communities across the United States.
If you are an engineer and want to volunteer with EWB-USA, you can learn more here. The rest of us can support this important work with a donation and by liking the Facebook page and following them on Twitter @EWBUSA.