Channels ▼
RSS

Design

Engineers Without Borders are Chaning the World


In Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama describes his visit to a hut in Kenya: "It was a cramped, pitch-black space with a five-foot-high ceiling. The woman told me her family cooked, slept, and kept newborn calves in it. The smoke was blinding, and after a minute I had to leave..."

Sometimes the needs of people in developing countries are immediate and immense: a tsunami strikes Indonesia, a drought hits East Africa. But in many villages in the developing world the greatest need is for some mundane piece of technology that we would take for granted in the developed world, like a solar-powered well for an African village with neither electricity nor clean drinking water. Sometimes it's just a stove that doesn't pollute the hut.

University of Washington Forest Resources Professor (and civil engineer) Susan Bolton took a team of engineering students to Yanayo, Bolivia, to tackle the stove problem: "After a reconnaissance mission to figure out the engineering problem—creating cheap, locally available stoves and chimney-safe roofs—her team returned for four weeks to complete the job and train residents." Bowen's project, described by Mike Lewis in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story this spring, was a good example of the work done through a remarkable organization called Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Sustainability is the name of the EWB game: "At any given site...engineers must become clever to build something that can be duplicated and maintained locally."

Figure 1: EWB-USA Princeton Chapter: Arsi Negelle, Ethiopia Project


Related Reading


More Insights






Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

 
Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.
 

Video