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14 Feb


George Roter to speak on February 16

February 14, 2012 | By |

George Roter, co-founder and CEO of Engineers Without Borders Canada, will be presenting a lecture called “Stop ‘helping those poor people in Africa:’ An argument for a systemic approach to supporting international development.

He will examine our standard approaches to poverty reduction and development in sub-Saharan Africa. He will argue that simple actions – like building a well or a school – are insufficient to achieving poverty reduction and get in the way of more effective approaches. A different way forward is needed – focusing on systemic change – in order to drive economic and social development, and greater justice for those living in poverty.

The public lecture will be in the Lecture Hall, STP 105, at St. Paul’s University College at 7 p.m., Thursday, February 16.

Admission  is free. Parking is available at St. Paul’s on a first-come, first-serve basis and is free after 4:30 pm.

For more information, please contact Kelly Deeks-Johnson,

18 Jan


EWB Speaking Tour hits Grand River!

January 18, 2012 | By |

EWB has received funding to organize a speaking tour that will visit offices and campuses across Canada in order to increase interest and support nation-wide of EWB’s work.

Mina Shahid, who works with the Agricultural Value Chains team in Ghana, will be speaking in our area. EWB Grand River has teamed up with the University of Waterloo to host a workshop style presentation with Mina, that has lots of opportunity for interaction and engagement and of course learning!

The workshop will be Monday January 23 2012 in room 2004 of the Enginereering 5 building at the University of Waterloo. (Engineering 5 is the newest engineering building on Ring Road.) Participants are asked to arrive by 4:30pm.

The event is open to everyone and we hope that we might see lots of old and new faces alike. This is a great way to learn more about the work EWB does from one of our awesome overseas staff!

Feel free to contact if you’d like more information on the event or directions to the venue.

02 Dec


December Meetup

December 2, 2011 | By |

Join us for our next monthly meetup!

When: Thursday December 15th 2011 ,6:00 pm

Where: Huether Cafe (Downswtairs) in Uptown Waterloo


02 Dec


Holiday Outreach Event

December 2, 2011 | By |

EWB Grand River will be teaming up with the University of Waterloo student chapter for a holiday outreach event at the St. Jacobs Market. We will be running a stand on Saturday December 3rd during market hours and sharing ideas on making more ethical gift giving choices this holiday season and celebrating holiday cultures around the world. If you are interested in volunteering for an hour or two with us please email for more information. If you’re planning to on a trip to the market this weekend, please stop by and see us! We’d love to talk to you!

25 Aug


August Meetup Tonight

August 25, 2011 | By |

BarleyWorks Patio at Huether Hotel (Upstairs)
59 King Street North, Waterloo

We’d love to see you if you have a chance to drop in. Folks from the UW chapter will be joining us to give us the low down on Fair Trade Waterloo and update us on the great things happening at UW.

25 Aug


Buy from Africa – Chapter Fundraiser

August 25, 2011 | By |

Thanks to Chad Hamre, former overseas volunteer, CEO of Ethical Ocean and all around awesome guy, we have a new tool for chapter fundraising and trading fairly with Africa all in a one-two punch.

Ethical Ocean has curated 180 African made and sourced products from 9 different social businesses on a page dedicated to EWB fundraising at

From now until August 31, 10% of all sales from the page will go to our chapter. All you have to do is list Grand River in the order comments.

Challenge yourself to buy from Africa! Please share the link with your friends and consider some early holiday shopping or a gift for an upcoming occasion.

15 Aug


Updates and Opportunities

August 15, 2011 | By |

2011 Eastern Regional Retreat
September 16-18


This weekend retreat for members of the Toronto, Grand River, Ottawa and Montreal City Networks is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to share ideas with other EWB city networks, push your thinking on international development, and most of all have a great time with other members. If there’s just one event you come to all year, this should be it!


The retreat will be held at Scotsman Point Resort near Peterborough ON. (map) Sessions will kick off at 8 pm on Friday September 16, and will wrap up on Sunday September 18 with lunch. We can easily arrange carpooling for those who would like to attend.


Goals of the retreat:


1. Spark and nurture the growth of change leaders as individuals and teams

2. Build strong personal and working relationships between EWBers across the organization

3. Create excitement and ownership over EWB purpose, direction, and strategies

4. Move from a National Office-Chapter dichotomy mentality to a partnership (“we’re in it together”)


I encourage anyone that has expressed an interest in EWB in the past but is unsure of how to get involved to attend. My personal experience is that attending this retreat is one of the best ways to learn more about what EWB does and who we are as an organization, and discover what role you would like take within the group. Above all else, you will meet and make connections with absolutely fantastic people.


I’d like this year to be Grand River’s best turn out at the Regional Retreat. I know we have an awesome group of individuals with tons of potential in our membership and I would love to see some of you come out to interact with other EWBers.


How much will the retreat cost? The final cost of the registration is contingent on the number of people attending. So the more the merrier and the less expensive it will be for everyone. Historically the cost per person has been around $100, and that includes food and lodging for the weekend. If you want to attend and the registration fee is a problem, contact me and we can discuss your options.


Those that are interested in attending, please e-mail me at no later than Sunday August 21.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to chat more about the retreat, please feel free to drop me a line.


Finance Lead

We are seeking an individual looking to increase their involvement with the Chapter, who is organized and motivated, to take over the position of Finance Lead for the group. Interested candidates must be paid members of EWB, because access to myEWB is required.


Responsibilities include:


  • Send monthly reports to National Office via myEWB
  • Review monthly reports from National Office
  • Keep all receipts
  • Write cheques
  • Deposit funds from events
  • Issue reimbursements for expenses
  • Issue payments to National Office when required
  • Provide monthly finance updates to Chapter Executive
  • Attend Chapter Executive meetings


It can be expected to require approximately 5 hours per month to complete these tasks. Attendance to the Regional Retreat would be preferred, and would be covered by the Chapter.


Please email me at if you are interested in applying for this position.


Monthly Meetups

As a new initiative to promote a sense of community among members and supporters of EWB in the Grand River area, we are pleased to launch Monthly Meetups. Our Monthly Meetup will occur the third Thursday of every month at 7 pm. Locations for the meetups will be posted in advance on and will be somewhere such as  a local park or pub. The location will also be tweeted on our Grand River Twitter account: @ewbgrandriver .


The idea of the meetup is a casual atmosphere for people to get together to chat and interact with others in the Grand River community that share similar interests. Topics will be provided to jumpstart discussions and may range from international development and/or EWB to local issues to personal development. Folks are encouraged to bring their own topics and chat about whatever is on their mind.


August’s Monthly Meetup will be on Thursday August 18th at 7 pm. The location and jumpstart topic will be posted to, so stay tuned. We look forward to seeing you out. Feel free to bring a friend!

24 Jun


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

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

In Water and Sanitation ~

Water and Sanitation
District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst

In Governance and Rural Infrastructure ~ 

Governance and Rural Infrastructure

District Capacity Development and Decentralization Policy Analyst

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

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

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

· See for brief descriptions of the open roles.

· Send any questions you have to Sarah Grant at

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.