Engineers Without Borders

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Founded in 2000, Engineers Without Borders has quickly become one of Canada’s most respected, critical-thinking, and innovative organizations dedicated to ending extreme poverty in the Global South.

1. We use a people-first approach.
We understand that development is a people-centric process, and that technology is a means, not an end, to improved quality of life. We listen to and learn from our partners, working with them to understand the change they seek in their lives, whether technology can play a role in enabling that change, and how communities can build on their existing strengths to gain access to that technology.

2. We focus on finding sustainable solutions to root-cause problems.
We seek solutions that address the problems that are at the root of the challenges facing a developing community. Such solutions incorporate the needs, values and capabilities of the communities. Solutions must also be self-sustaining beyond EWB’s intervention—especially regarding the economics and technical challenges of maintenance and repair. They ideally can be replicated and improved upon with minimal EWB involvement.

3. We maximize social returns by running an effective and efficient organisation.
We operate in a disciplined, low-cost manner and strive to provide our members and donors with ever-increasing social returns. These social returns come first and foremost from development impact. While development impact is inherently difficult to quantify, we strive to intelligently measure it. Social returns also result from our role helping Canadian engineers become improved citizens.

4. We seek to partner with existing organisations wherever possible.
We recognize that there are many organisations with decades of experience who are working in similar areas to EWB. Rather than add another organisation with parallel operations, EWB partners with non-governmental organisations, local entrepreneurs, governments and other groups to complement their existing capacity. We seek to learn from their experiences to minimize our own errors.

5. We operate transparently and openly address lessons learned.
We must constantly seek out our areas of weakness and strive to correct them if we are to improve. While we celebrate our successes, we also publicly debate our failures and discuss means to improve on our work.

6. We maintain our commitment to under-developed communities.
We face the challenge of balancing the expectations of our stakeholders— members, funders, leaders, partners and others. We affirm that one stakeholder matters ahead of all others: the members of the developing communities with whom we work. We constantly ensure that our activities meet their needs.