Guiding Principles for Sustainable Humanitarian Engineering Projects
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Guiding Principles for Sustainable Humanitarian Engineering Projects

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The engineering profession must embrace a new mission statement: to contribute to the building of a more sustainable, stable, and equitable world. Recently, engineering students and professionals in ...

The engineering profession must embrace a new mission statement: to contribute to the building of a more sustainable, stable, and equitable world. Recently, engineering students and professionals in the US have shown more interest in directly addressing the needs of developing communities worldwide. That interest has taken the form of short- and medium-term international trips through Engineers Without Borders-USA and similar organizations. There are also several instances where this kind of outreach work has been integrated into engineering education. This paper addresses the challenges and opportunities associated with balancing two goals in engineering for humanitarian development projects: (i) effective sustainable community development, and (ii) meaningful education of engineers. Guiding principles necessary to meet those two goals are proposed.

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  • putting quality above quantity, and remindingall participants that the main goal is to create something sustainable that can be maintained andreproduced by the community.Volunteer participants must also understand that they are bound to a professional code of ethics withregard to behavior, accountability, quality control and quality assurance, and delivery of projects.Specifically, volunteer-basedorganizations are often driven by the motivations of their current volunteer labor force and thosevolunteers tend to want to experience an immediate return on their effortsAt the same time, volunteersshould be discouraged from innovation simply for the sake of their own interest in the projects. Acomplicated new system design might be more exciting for volunteers, but a simple modification to anexisting design is usually better for the partner community.EvaluationThe concept of evaluation instills fear into the minds of many individuals and organizational leaders.However, without this key component, it is impossible to determine the true success of any project.Standard methodologies for evaluating civil engineering projects, which typically are large-scale, longlivedprojects involving many economic, financial, social, and environmental factors may or may not bedirectly applicable to these types of projects. However, those traditional methods provide a frameworkfor the development of appropriate metrics of success. The MC-EDC is currently collecting samples ofevaluation methodologies for incorporation into a best practices guide.

Guiding Principles for Sustainable Humanitarian Engineering Projects Guiding Principles for Sustainable Humanitarian Engineering Projects Presentation Transcript

  • Guiding Principles for Sustainable Humanitarian Engineering Projects
    Robyn Sandekian, Managing Director
    Mortenson Center inEngineering for Developing Communities
  • Intro to Humanitarian Engineering Concept
    Goals of Humanitarian Engineering Activities
    Proposed Guiding Principles
    Overview of Presentation
  • View slide
  • Why Engineering for Humanitarian Development?
    • 1.2 billion lack clean water View slide
    • 2.4 billion lack adequate sanitation
    • 2.4 billion are at risk with malaria
    • 29,000 children die from hunger daily
    • 1.1 billion overfed vs. 1.1 billion underfed
    • 1.2 billion lack adequate housing
    • 1.6 billion have no access to electricity
    • 4.2 billion are unable to read
    • 1.8 billion live in conflict zones, in transition, or in situations of permanent instability
  • “…responds to the global need for engineers who:
    …understand problems of development & sustainability,
    …are motivated by a sense of the future, and
    …are able to interact with other disciplines,
    …to design and implement solutions.”
    - George Bugliarello, 2008
    Engineering for Development
  • Engineering for humanitarian development contributes to the implementation of the eight Millennium Development Goals
    Engr for Humanitarian Development
  • Within the academic context, two basic goals:
    effective sustainable community development,
    and
    meaningful education of engineers.
    Goals of Engr for Humanitarian Dvlp
  • Shared Mission, Vision, Values, and Approach
    Quality Control and Ethics
    Organizational Accountability
    Education
    Innovation and Technologic Appropriateness
    Fundraising
    Collaboration and Teamwork
    Duration of Intervention
    Sustainability
    Evaluation
    10 Proposed Guiding Principles
  • Thank You!