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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?”

04 Feb


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 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 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

Please send any questions you have about these opportunities to Robin Farnworth at

18 Jan


My Malawian Home

January 18, 2011 | By |

Video Tour of Alyssa’s Home in Malawi

Hi EWB Grand River ~
As EWB African Program Staff we are strongly encouraged to take some time to experience rural life and better understand the realities of the people we are working for.  I’ve spent the last two months living in Andrea Jere Village, just outside of Mzimba Malawi.   Here’s a brief tour of my family’s home, to hopefully share a little window into my experience. 

My favourite parts of this video are the obvious improvement in commentary as my brother Andrew takes over from my bumbled attempt, and Amama’s slightly prompted, but genuinely friendly, wave at the very end of the clip.  Enjoy warming up from the Canadian winter with some warm Malawian hospitality!  Just click this wmv video link:  My Malawian Home .

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.

22 Nov


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.

30 Oct


EWB 10th Anniversary Gala

October 30, 2010 | By |

The 10th Anniversary EWB Gala is all set to wow you. On Saturday, January 15, 2011, 2000+ people will come together at the Allstream Centre in Toronto to celebrate African humanity and achievements like never before. And we have a world class presenter excited to join us.

Engineers Without Borders is thrilled to announce that K’naan, the internationally acclaimed poet and hip hop artist, will be joining us to celebrate our 10th anniversary conference.

K’naan is not afraid to shed light on sensitive issues and address real global challenges through his music. Whether standing up to the UN, or consistently creating urgent music with a message, K’naan always makes his voice heard.

To read more about K’naan: click here.

K’naan will inspire attendees through a unique keynote address and then close the night with a small performance.

(Above text courtesy of the EWB National Office website)

Register for the exciting 2011 EWB national conference here  .

15 Aug


Culture Shock

August 15, 2010 | By |

Update From The Field

One of EWB’s African program staff, Grand River chapter’s Erin Antcliffe, has posted another intriguing new entry in her blog (August 13, 2010) .  You can read it here, or on Erin’s own site “What am I doing here?   Reflections on my role in Ghanaian development.”

Erin writes: 

I met John while at a meeting in the garden of a local guesthouse. “Hey, Wayne, how is it?” he greeted us. “Hey, John, long time! How is Accra?” replied Wayne. Wayne, our team leader, introduced John as an employee in the M&E department for MoFA in Accra. He sat down to join us and his animated personality soon made us forget our meeting.

John had come to “the north” on a data collection assignment for MoFA National. Apparently all districts had been asked to submit some data on the farmers in their area, but hadn’t been doing so. John came to find out why, and to assist the districts in submitting the data.

He is young, maybe 30 years old, born and bred in Accra. This was only his second time traveling north of Kumasi. Last time he got very sick on his second day, so this time he had packed his white pick-up full of bottled water and food from Accra. “But John, they sell bottled water in Tamale.” “Yes, but it’s not the same quality as what we have in Accra. You never know what you’re getting.”

As his driver chauffeured him north, out of the lush green forests of the south and into the savannah of the north, he marveled at what he saw. “People actually live in mud huts here! Some don’t even have electricity! Me, I can’t imagine living without a microwave.”

He stopped the driver a few times in villages to talk to people as they passed, but they couldn’t understand each other. “You mean there are people in Ghana who don’t speak Twi??” Twi is one of Ghana’s major languages, spoken by many people as a common language even if their local language is different. But is mostly found in the south.

Through an interpreter, he had a conversation with an old woman in a village. “I asked her how old she was, and you know what she said? Ten! I mean, I didn’t expect her to know her exact age, but ten? She doesn’t even understand the concept of numbers!” The fact that someone in Ghana can live her whole life with no formal education is unfathomable to John.

“How can you live here? I don’t know how you EWB people do it.” “But John, this is your own country. You don’t think you could live here, in the north of Ghana?” “No no, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I could go to your country, Canada, and live in the north there. It would be an adventure! For you people, living in Ghana is an adventure. But I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t live here.”