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EWBGR

News and Updates from our Chapter

24 Jun

By

EWB Recruiting New African Program Staff

June 24, 2011 | By |

Engineers Without Borders Canada is yet again seeking bright, outstanding leaders to join our African Programs Staff (APS). Training and departure for the following positions will begin in mid-October 2011.

In Agriculture ~

Agriculture Value Chains
Position: Market Development Field Officer
Ghana, Zambia and potentially Tanzania

Market Development Project Manager
Ghana, Zambia and potentially Tanzania

Business Development Services
Business Growth Specialist
Potentially Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia

Public Sector Agriculture Development
Specialist in New Models for Impact
Ghana

Entrepreneuriat Rural Agricole (Français)
Agriculture Capacity Building Officer
Burkina Faso

In Water and Sanitation ~

Water and Sanitation
District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst
Malawi

In Governance and Rural Infrastructure ~ 

Governance and Rural Infrastructure

District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst
Ghana

Who can apply for these positions?

New graduates and professionals of any educational background are eligible to apply for this chance to use their skills to help change the way development is done. Evidence of prior leadership in one’s field or studies is an asset. The application process begins with a Personal Information Form, including one’s resume and personal language assessment, as well as essay-style application questions, and is followed by interviews with those selected.

It is important to note that all costs for training, travel, and living are provided by EWB. We understand that many recent graduates may be struggling under the burden of student loans and do not want this to prevent anyone from applying. We encourage these individuals to contact us before they have applied so that alternative means can be explored.

For more information on EWB projects in Africa and what characteristics EWB is looking for please see http://www.ewb.ca/en/whatyoucando/volunteer/longterm.html

What does it mean to be an APS?

These volunteer positions provide APS with incredible opportunities for professional growth as a social change leader, all while creating lasting impact in rural Africa. Being an APS means working with purpose, collaborating with African partners, and having a life-changing experience. EWB’s African Programs Staff are humble entrepreneurs that become powerful change agents working as part of a larger movement for Africa.

What do APS do?

All of EWB’s work is designed to help our local partner organizations do what they do better. Our APS add value to partners in a variety of ways including executing on project specific work, building management capacity, improving learning and accountability systems, increasing skills of field staff and creating stronger connections between different stakeholders.

See the Agriculture, Water and Sanitation, and Governance and Rural Infrastructure paragraphs below for specific projects that our APS have been working on and for details of their successes.

Where are APS working?

EWB is currently working in Ghana, Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Zambia, and with new projects in Tanzania and Kenya.

When do I need to apply? When do these positions begin and end?

Applications for all of the above positions are due on July 3rd, 2011. Within two to four weeks of this closing date, all applicants will be contacted and interviews with selected candidates will begin. Training and departure for these positions will begin in mid-October 2011. All positions require a minimum commitment of one year.

How do I get more information? How do I get involved?

· To apply, go ewb.ca/volunteer.

· For detailed information about the responsibilities and requirements specific to each available position, please see the attached documents.

· See http://my.ewb.ca/posts/86606/ for brief descriptions of the open roles.

· Send any questions you have to Sarah Grant at sarahgrant@ewb.ca

Creating Change in Agriculture Businesses

In Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, EWB is investing in the agriculture sector – the main employer and export earner in most developing countries – as a way to unlock African prosperity. Historically, Western aid has focused on dispersing subsidized fertilizer, hybrid seeds, and machines, or purchasing products from farmers as a functioning private sector would. Regrettably, these efforts simply distort markets and prevent private sector growth. There is no reward for the innovation and risk required to work in the private sector, so the cycle continues. So EWB is addressing the underlying issues, working with existing organizations that have the ability to greatly impact the agricultural sector, fostering entrepreneurial, private sector growth and helping farmers develop new business skills. These organizations include – NGOs, private businesses, impact investors and major donors.

Driving Results in Water and Sanitation

EWB believes that the persistent water and sanitation challenges in Malawi, and in much of the rest of the developing world, are due to inefficient investment rather than lack of investment. EWB realizes that while drilling wells is an important part of the solution, it will never be long-term without a systemic approach. So EWB focuses on changing the system to support these outputs. One example is the creation of a simple water-point mapping and monitoring system that relies on coordination with existing government programs to get the data. In short, it identifies broken outputs, the places where new outputs are needed most and the best location for them (strong water supply). The water mapping system is now functioning in 11 out of 28 districts in Malawi with plans to expand countrywide. EWB is also working with the government and communities to create functioning business models for water delivery, then sharing their findings within the sector and with the national government, influencing change.

Having Impact in Governance and Rural Services

EWB believes in the potential of public services such as water, education, and agriculture extension and ensuring that people who aren’t yet well connected to markets can still get the support needed to grow their business and raise a healthy family. EWB is working with governments who are far ahead in terms of decentralization and minimized corruption (currently this work is happening in Ghana and Malawi). We work with them to continue the process of decentralization. We work with them to develop state of the art monitoring tools that can guide resource investment at all levels. We work with them to invest in their management and field services to ensure that the services provided are backed by talented leaders.

Become a part of this important work by applying for one of the unique new APS positions available in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania or Zambia.

31 Mar

By

Strategy Development in Small Meal-Sized Chunks

March 31, 2011 | By |

What am I doing here? Thoughts from an agricultural development gal in Ghana

Here’s another good update from Erin’s blog, reposted here with her kind permission:

Hello world,

I’m writing this post to introduce a new concept we want to try over here at EWB. I’ve been hanging out in the “international development/aid online community” for a while now and while it’s fun to chat, I’d actually like to put this community to work! (And yes, family, friends and colleagues, I want you to help me out too!) One of the favourite conversation topics is poorly designed development projects. While it’s fun to bash these projects, it’s harder to design good ones. I’d like to use this opportunity to seek out feedback on our team’s next move in public sector agricultural development.

This is an experiment! The plan is to outline our team’s strategy development process and the various investment opportunities we have, then seek external feedback on where we can invest and how we can play a bigger role in the agric sector. I have no idea if this experiment will work out, but I think it will be interesting to try! In order to work, it relies on a few success factors:

  • lots of readers – so please share widely so we can ask for widespread feedback!
  • feedback from within and outside the sector – if you know people in the agric development sector, send them this way. If you know smart people who would just be interested in providing feedback, please also send them this way!
  • sustained readership – unfortunately there is a lot of info, so it’ll be going up in a series of posts – you gotta keep reading to get to the meat! We’ll see whether people can hang in this long.
  • understandable posts – we’re looking for feedback on whether you have any idea what we’re talking about… so let us know!

As I wrote in a previous post, our team is currently undergoing a rigorous strategy development process. Thanks to Ben‘s personal interest in the tech start-up world, we’re trying something very new: applying start-up business principles to our strategy development. For a bit of background on why we’re applying these principles, see Ben’s earlier post, Tech start-ups and human development: different worlds?. Ben will introduce you to the tech-world language, but it basically advocates a Searcher rather than a Planner mentality – figuring out what people want before scaling it to a broad level.

Ben will be writing a series of blog posts in the next few weeks describing our process, model and some of the initiatives we’re looking to invest in. I’ll post links here on my blog, but please comment over on his blog – we’re hoping to get tons of feedback and discussions going!

So, without further ado, I will guide you to the first post over on Ben’s blog: Strategy Development in Small-meal-sized Chunks.  Enjoy!

06 Mar

By

EWB Guelph’s Annual Gala

March 6, 2011 | By |

Translating Actions to Impacts: EWB Guelph’s 5th Annual Gala event

Join EWB for a celebration of our collective efforts for social
change. This evening will connect students, professors, and
professionals to explore the ways that we can become social change
leaders. All proceeds from the evening will support two Guelph
undergraduate students who will be volunteering in Ghana and Malawi
this summer.

The event will take place at the Albion Hotel on Wednesday, March
23rd, 2011. Doors open at 7:30pm, and the evening commences at
8:00pm.

Enjoy a fair trade auction, stories from past overseas volunteers,
the premier screening of EWB’s global engineering documentary, and a
variety of talented performers.

Tickets are $15 for students; $20 for professors, professional, and
community members. The ticket price listed includes appetizers.

Tickets can be securely purchased online through this link:
https://www.ewb.ca/en/whatyoucando/uoguelph/index.html

Contact Kevin Lees at klees@uoguelph.ca for more details.

Come out for an unforgettable evening of inspiring dialogue and
meaningful connections!

05 Mar

By

African Programs Staff Positions Open !

March 5, 2011 | By |

Could This Exciting Opportunity Be Calling You ?

From Erin Flinton ~

Dear Members,

I am very excited to announce that EWB is yet again recruiting exceptional leaders to join our African Programs Staff (APS). Departure for the following positions begins in July 2011, but the positions are also available for November 2011:

In Agriculture

Team Position Location
 Agriculture Value Chains Market Development Field Officer Ghana, Zambia and potentially Tanzania
Market Development Project Manager Ghana, Zambia and potentially Tanzania
Business Development Services Business Growth Specialist Potentially Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia
Ministry of Food and Agriculture Agriculture Extension Research and Capacity Development Officer Ghana
Entrepreneuriat Rural Agricole (Français) Agriculture Capacity Building Officer Burkina Faso

In Water and Sanitation

Team Position Location
Water and Sanitation District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst Malawi

 

In Governance and Rural Infrastructure

Team Position Location
Governance and Rural Infrastructure District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst Ghana

 –

For detailed information about the responsibilities and requirements specific to each available position, please see the attached documents. Also see http://my.ewb.ca/posts/84661/ for brief descriptions of the open roles.

An elite placement with EWB offers new graduates and professionals of any educational background the chance to use their skills to help change the way development is done – as an individual and as a part of a movement committed to sustainable solutions to poverty. These volunteer positions provide APS with incredible opportunities for professional growth as a social change leader, all while creating lasting impact in rural Africa. Being an APS means working with purpose, collaborating with African partners, and having a life-changing experience.

EWB’s African Programs Staff are humble entrepreneurs that become powerful change agents working as part of a larger movement for Africa.

Creating Change in Agriculture

In Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia (Tanzania and Kenya added this year), EWB is investing in the agriculture sector – the main employer and export earner in most developing countries – as a way to unlock African prosperity. Historically, Western aid has focused on dispersing subsidized fertilizer, hybrid seeds, and machines, or purchasing products from farmers as a functioning private sector would. Regrettably, these efforts simply distort markets and prevent private sector growth. EWB is addressing the underlying issues by working on two problems – helping farmers access markets and market development. To help farmers access markets we are working with Ministries of Food and Agriculture and existing farmers’ unions to provide support and information access to rural farmers. To develop markets, we work with progressive non-government organizations that are fostering private sector growth and directly with the small and medium sized businesses to help them grow and increase the number of small-scale farmers they support.  In addition to working with government, non-government and the private sector on the ground we are partnering with donors, becoming part of the donor chain to more easily share field realities and drive change at scale.

Driving Results in Water and Sanitation

EWB believes that the persistent water and sanitation challenges in Malawi, and in much of the rest of the developing world, are due to inefficient investment rather than lack of investment. EWB realizes that while drilling wells is an important part of the solution, it will never be long-term without a systemic approach. EWB focuses on changing the system to support these outputs. Beyond EWB’s creation of a simple water-point mapping and monitoring system to address this issue, the Water and Sanitation Team is also working with the government and communities to create functioning business models for water delivery, then sharing their findings within the sector and with the national government, influencing change.

Having Impact in Governance and Rural Infrastructure

In Ghana, public services, such as clean water from wells and hand pumps, reliable roads for food transport, and schools for youth, are hard to come by or have limited access. EWB is testing new approaches to evidence-based planning and developing strong decision-makers to address the root causes of this widespread infrastructure failure in Ghana. EWB volunteers are working in conjunction with local government partners to identify relevant data for decision making, to develop centralized data systems, and to analyze trends to get a better picture of where infrastructure is needed most. Rural districts can now, therefore, prioritize clean water, education, transportation, and healthcare work based on tangible data. Furthermore, EWB volunteers are testing new approaches to involve communities in planning decisions in order to better hold leaders accountable; they have also developed a mentorship program matching experienced planners with district level staff to expand the quality of planning capability at the district level.

All of EWB’s work is designed to help our local partner organizations do what they do better. Our APS add value to partners in a variety of ways including executing on project specific work, building management capacity, improving learning and accountability systems, increasing skills of field staff and creating stronger connections between different stakeholders.

Become a part of this important work by applying for one of the unique new APS positions available in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania or Zambia.

To apply, go to ewb.ca/volunteerApplications are due on April 8th, 2011. All positions require a minimum commitment of one year.

All costs for training, travel, and living are provided by EWB. We understand that many recent graduates may be struggling under the burden of student loans. We encourage these individuals to contact us before they have applied so that alternative means can be explored.

For more information on EWB projects in Africa and what characteristics EWB is looking for, please see http://www.ewb.ca/en/whatyoucando/volunteer/longterm.html.

Send any questions you have to Sarah Grant at sarahgrant@ewb.ca 

13 Feb

By

Grand River Chapter Planning Meeting: February 17

February 13, 2011 | By |

Next Grand River Chapter Meeting:  February 17

The next meet-and-greet and planning meeting of Grand River Chapter’s winter season is currently scheduled for February 17th at 7 PM.   (Please check back here on the day of the meeting, in case of any last minute update regarding location or time.)  Anyone considering becoming more involved in our Grand River Professional chapter, or wanting to learn more about Engineers Without Borders in general, is invited to attend.  You’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback from one of EWB’s great group of volunteers, recently returned from working in Malawi.  See you there !

Location:   229 Glasgow Street (SIDE entrance), Kitchener

04 Feb

By

EWB Accepting Applications Now For New African Programs Staff

February 4, 2011 | By |

EWB Grand River is excited to share the news that Engineers Without Borders is recruiting exceptional leaders to join the African Programs Staff (APS) in the following positions:

With the Agriculture Team (in Ghana and Zambia)

Agricultural Value Chains Team Market Development Field Officer 

Agricultural Value Chains Team Market Development Project Manager

African Business Development Team

With the Malawi Water and Sanitation Team

District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst

Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Leader

For detailed information about the responsibilities and requirements specific to each available position, please see the attached documents. Also see http://my.ewb.ca/posts/83112/ for brief descriptions of the open roles. (Please note that the application deadline has been extended to February 11th.)

How Can You Benefit From an EWB Placement?

An elite placement with EWB offers new graduates and professionals of any educational background the chance to use their skills to help change the way development is done – as an individual and as a part of a movement committed to sustainable solutions to poverty. These volunteer positions provide APS with incredible opportunities for professional growth as a social change leader, all while creating lasting impact in rural Africa. Being an APS means working with purpose, collaborating with African partners, and having a life-changing experience.

EWB’s African Programs Staff are humble entrepreneurs that become powerful change agents working as part of a larger movement for Africa.

In Ghana and Zambia, EWB is investing in the agriculture sector – the main employer and export earner in most developing countries – as a way to unlock African prosperity. Historically, Western aid has focused on dispersing subsidized fertilizer, hybrid seeds, and machines, or purchasing products from farmers as a functioning private sector would. Regrettably, these efforts simply distort markets and prevent private sector growth. There is no reward for the innovation and risk required to work in the private sector, so the cycle continues. So EWB is addressing the underlying issues, working with existing organizations that have the ability to greatly impact the agricultural sector, fostering entrepreneurial, private sector  growth and helping farmers develop new business skills.

EWB believes that the persistent water and sanitation challenges in Malawi, and in much of the rest of the developing world, are due to inefficient investment rather than lack of investment. EWB realizes that while drilling wells is an important part of the solution, it will never be long-term without a systemic approach. So EWB focuses on changing the system to support these outputs. One example is the creation of a simple water-point mapping and monitoring system that relies on coordination with existing government programs to get the data. In short, it identifies broken outputs, the places where new outputs are needed most and the best location for them (strong water supply). The water mapping system is now functioning in 11 out of 28 districts in Malawi with plans to expand countrywide. EWB is also working with the government and communities to create functioning business models for water delivery, then sharing their findings within the sector and with the national government, influencing change.

All of EWB’s work is designed to help our local partner organizations do what they do better. Our APS add value to partners in a variety of ways including executing on project specific work, building management capacity, improving learning and accountability systems, increasing skills of field staff and creating stronger connections between different stakeholders.

Become a part of this important work by applying for one of the unique new APS positions available in Malawi, Ghana or Zambia.

To apply, go to http://my.ewb.ca/volunteering/applications/. Applications are due on February 11th, 2011. All positions require a minimum commitment of one year.

All costs for training, travel and living are provided by EWB. EWB understands that many recent graduates may be struggling under the burden of student loans. Recent graduates are encouraged to contact EWB before submitting their APS application, so that alternative means can be explored.

For more information on EWB projects in Africa and what characteristics EWB is looking for, see http://www.ewb.ca/en/whatyoucando/volunteer/longterm.html.

Please send any questions you have about these opportunities to Robin Farnworth at projects@ewb.ca.

22 Nov

By

Engineers Without Borders 10th Anniversary Conference

November 22, 2010 | By |

Have you seen the list of truly fabulous speakers that are all coming for the conference in January?  And we’ve heard there are a few more still being added to this impressive list.  This really will be the best ever EWB Canada conference.

21 Nov

By

Farming Lessons

November 21, 2010 | By |

From Don McMurtry’s EWB  Blog  Mudzi Madzi :

Last night it rained most of the night and today the radio was saying “the rains have arrived” as they forecasted clouds and rain across most of the central and southern parts of the country. The farmers have been preparing their fields for months and will probably move into planting mode this week. In some places where it has already rained, maize is sprouting.

Over the past few weeks I have learned a few things about farming in Malawi:

Lesson #1 — Everybody farms
Well almost everyone, but with over 80% of people in Malawi depending to a great extend upon their farming income and harvest, it is the foundation of the economy. Obviously we all rely upon farmers, but at home it is easy to forget about them. Here in Malawi, farming, even if you live in one of the large cities, is hard to ignore — there are people selling domestically grown food in the streets every day. Even wealthy Malawians will frequently have some land within their walled and guarded grounds to grow some food, typically mazine (aka white corn).

Lesson 2 — Farming can be Controversial
I started this message about three weeks ago when I discovered enormous lineups for subsidized fertilizer. The photo doesn’t give a sense for the scale of hundreds of people waiting to get seeds or fertilizer. It also doesn’t show hundreds of bicycles like the ones in the foreground that will peddle and push a 50kg bag to a near-by village. The door opens at 7:30, I am not sure when the line starts forming — probably very early if you live 10 or 20 kilometers away. These lineups will continue for some more weeks as some people just received their coupons today.

A few weeks ago the lead story in the newspapers was about a large NGO suggesting the government could not sustain the small farmer assistance program and it should be stopped. The President of Malawi says and does a lot of strange things, but I agreed with his response that western nations have substantial subsidies to various industries and they have no grounds for complaining about his government helping poor farmers.

In each village there is a process for deciding who qualifies for subsidy assistance, with input coming from the village chief, a committee and the Agriculture Ministry’s local staff. Being on the list means you will receive four coupons (50kg fertilizer, 50 kg urea fertilizer, maize & legume seeds) and it seems they must come on different days for each item. The subsidized price for the fertilizer is about $3.50 vs the normal $30-$35 list price. Apparently fertilizer this year is half the price of last year. I can only imagine that someone left off the list would not be very happy.

Lesson 3 — Small change, big result
A few weeks ago a colleague from Canada made a short visit to Malawi on her way to Mozambique and Zambia to check some facts and gather some first-hand stories for a report she is helping edit. Nidhi’s contacts took us to visit some farmers who have been using a technique referred to as conservation farming.

Since I arrived in Malawi, I have watched people all across the country hoe their land into long ridges that contour the land — the standard method for growing maize. Everyone grows white corn in Malawi because virtually everyone eats it a couple times per day in the form of nsima. The conservation method creates pits across a field and they generate about 50-100% more yield for the farmers we met. The logic is that the pit holds rain water better and reduces runoff. In a dry year that is critical. The land is also not tilled every year which helps reduce soil loss and also keeps more water in the soil. Some farmers we met also inter-crop — meaning they plant other species within the pits. Beans are the classic because they put nitrogen into the soil while maize consumes it.

You can continue to follow Don’s blog at http://donmcmurtry.wordpress.com/