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News and Updates from our Chapter

10 Jun


The World Of EWB

June 10, 2011 | By |

If you haven’t yet checked out the fascinating and informative (and often entertaining, enlightening or quirky) blogs being written by EWB’s overseas staff and volunteers, it is high time!

From the World of EWB “about” page:

This website brings together the blogs of Engineers Without Borders-Ingénieurs Sans Frontières Canada’s staff and volunteers.

Working in Malawi, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Zambia, and Canada, these exceptional people are building the opportunities and capacities of rural Africans by working with local development organizations and increasing their effectiveness. Find out more about EWB’s work here.

Please note that the blogs represent the personal opinions of the writers only, and not the official beliefs or policies of EWB or its partner organizations.

05 May


Can the World Feed 10 Billion People?

May 5, 2011 | By |

Our top pick from the web this month is from the Argument column of Foreign Policy journal, May 4th 2011
Check out Raj Patel’s informative and thought-provoking new article:  Can the World Feed 10 Billion People?

“With an exploding global population — and Africa’s numbers set to triple — the world’s experts are falling over themselves arguing how to feed the masses. Why do they have it so wrong?”

18 Apr


Fair Trade Fortnight

April 18, 2011 | By |

What is Fair Trade Fortnight?

From Our Buddies Over at FairTrade Canada:

“It’s only the best time of the year for anyone who loves Fair Trade and wants to spread it like wildfire throughout Canada! It’s when everyone gets together to do fun stuff in support of Fair Trade, from big public events, to special promotions in stores, to quiet efforts at home.

So, because (a) Fair Trade is awesome, and (b) Canada has a brand new (and far prettier) Fairtrade certification mark, we’re issuing a challenge to all Canadians… we want YOU to get loud and proud about Fair Trade and “Show Off Your Label! from May 1-15.”

10 Mar


The Africa Portal

March 10, 2011 | By |

The Africa Portal is an online knowledge resource for policy-related issues on Africa.

“An undertaking by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Makerere University (MAK), and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), the Africa Portal offers open access to a suite of features including an online library collection; a resource for opinion and analysis; an experts directory; an international events calendar; and a mobile technology component—all aimed to equip users with research and information on Africa’s current policy issues.

A key feature to the Africa Portal is the online library collection holding over 3,000 books, journals, and digital documents related to African policy issues. The entire online repository is open access and available for free full-text download. A portion of the digital documents housed in the library have been digitized for the first time as an undertaking of the Africa Portal project. Facilitating new digitization projects is a core feature of the Africa Portal, which aims to improve access and visibility for African research.

The Africa Portal is part of the Africa Initiative project.”  (All text above is from Africa Portal About page.)

Explore the Opinion/Analysis page for some thought-provoking commentary and very useful background information.

25 Nov


EWB Perspectives Challenge

November 25, 2010 | By |

What’s Your Perspective ?  Join In !

“What does poverty reduction look like? How should it be done?
What’s an engineers role? You likely have a perspective. So do the
people creating pages on this site. They want to challenge yours,
by sharing theirs. They believe in Engineers Without Borders’ (EWB)
systemic approach to addressing the root causes of poverty.
Intrigued? Read their perspectives. And, if you suddenly
see things a little differently, make a donation to EWB.”

There sure are some inspiring profiles on the EWB Perspectives website !

For starters, do drop by the Perspectives pages of our Grand River Team ~

         NaomiDane and  Alyssa.

17 Aug


Canada’s Chance To Lead Global Food Aid Reforms

August 17, 2010 | By |

Important opportunity for Canada to lead reform in global food aid governance

This week’s enthusiastic recommendation is an excellent perspectives piece recently added to the website of The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).  This article, Canada’s Chance To Lead Global Food Aid Reforms, describes why the rules governing “international food aid need serious overhaul, and Canada is well placed to do something about it.”

On April 20th this year, I attended a CIGI Environment and Resources Noon Lecture Series presentation by Jennifer Clapp:  “Over 1 Billion NOT Served: The Global Economic Crisis and Food Governance”.  It was a fascinating and very informative talk, and I was hoping to summarize a few of the main points for one of the EWB member learning sessions in our chapter this autumn.

How much better to have so many of the important points from that lecture presented so clearly and concisely by Dr. Clapp herself in this essay?  This information is relevant for EWB members and others interested in current news and perspective on how international food governance impacts hunger and poverty.

(Photo credit – IFAD/ Piero Tartagni)

11 Aug


Building Water Systems, Not Just Wells

August 11, 2010 | By |

Stories from the field ~ Development in Ghana

There’s a really interesting new EWB Special Report  by Toronto Chapter member Daniel Olsen, on the website of The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers.

Definitely worth a look.  And you might also want to bookmark Dan’s blog:

Through Dan’s Eyes:  Stories from the field – Development in Ghana, Africa.

10 Jul


Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development

July 10, 2010 | By |

The role of technological advances in alleviating poverty

This week’s pick is a valuable new publication available from The Rockefeller Foundation.  This venerable institution “supports work that expands opportunity and strengthens resilience to social, economic, health, and environmental challenges—affirming its pioneering philanthropic mission since 1913 to ‘promote the well-being’ of humanity.”

From their website:  “There is little doubt that technology will continue to drive change across the developing world. However, uncertainty exists about the role of technological advances in alleviating poverty. To uncover the range of possibilities that may emerge, novel approaches like scenario planning are essential.

Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development,” a new report, features four very different—yet very plausible—visions of how technology could profoundly alter how we address some of the most pressing challenges in the developing world.

Scenario planning – an innovative method of creating narratives about the future – is a powerful tool for assisting organizations in considering how complex problems could evolve and be solved over the long term. The scenario planning process helps to identify unique opportunities, rehearse important decisions by simulating their broader implications, and illuminate previously unexplored areas of intersection.”

A pdf of the full document is available to download free.

Also available on the Rockefeller website is the complete text of “Scaling Innovation“, an excellent speech delivered by Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, at the inaugural conference of the Social Impact Exchange, on June 17, 2010 in New York City.

I’m not expecting you to postpone your summer vacation in order to read both of these interesting documents right now.  But do take a peek, so you’ll know where to save these files for when you’re next awoken by a pesky midnight craving to learn more about planning and communication advances for action-oriented collaboration.