Frequently Asked Questions
Donations and Fundraising
- How can I start a new EWB chapter?
- Is there an EWB chapter near me? How can I contact them?
- I am not a student. How can I get involved in EWB?
- What is the difference between humanitarian assistance and development?
- Why does EWB focus on development, not humanitarian assistance?
- What is EWB Canada's relationship with other EWB organisations?
- Is EWB affiliated with Doctors Without Borders (MSF)?
- Are there any job opportunities with EWB?
- How can I help?
- I still have a question. Who can I contact?
Donations and Fundraising
How does EWB raise funds?
EWB depends primarily on the generosity of individuals and corporations to financially support our activities, whom in 2005 contributed 23 per cent of our total revenues. We have also benefited from the ongoing support of foundations and corporate partnerships such as the McConnell Family Foundation and Aeroplan's Membership Donation Program, as well as government funding through the Canadian International Development Agency.
For more information see our 2005 Financial Statements in our latest Annual Report.
How is my donation spent?
When you make a donation to EWB, we spend $72 out of every $100 on our overseas programs, and $19 on our Canadian programs. The remaining $9 covers various overhead expenditures, which are kept low by the dedication of our large volunteer base.
The largest expenditure, designated to our overseas operations, includes insurance, training, travel and modest living stipends for our volunteers. They receive monthly living stipends of roughly $300-400 that pay for their accommodations, food and travel expenses. This amount enables them to live at the level of a local civil servant.
Our Canadian program expenditures provide support for our chapters and our Canadian education and outreach projects.
In 2005, our employees received an annual income between $26,000 and $34,000, representing a minimum standard of living in Toronto.
For more information see our 2005 Financial Statements in our latest Annual Report.
How can I give to EWB on a regular basis?
You can join EWB's monthly donor program. By setting up regular payments, you are helping reduce our administrative costs and are supporting us throughout the year. You can decide how much you would like to donate to EWB each month and your preferred method of payment.
To become a monthly donor, please call us toll free at 1(866)481-3696.
How can engineers become involved in EWB?
The engineering profession in Canada has the opportunity to play a major role in the promotion of human development by contributing time, money and expertise. Engineers Without Borders addresses this role by providing a realm for engineers to become involved, focusing on helping build technical capacity overseas and encouraging pro-development social change in Canada.
If you are interested in becoming an overseas volunteer, learn more about our Overseas Placements. If you would like to contribute right here in Canada, you can get involved with one of our chapters, participate in online discussions about development at www.myewb.ca, run a Workplace Campaign, invite an EWB speaker to present to your engineering association and/or donate to EWB.
Remember, we are the Charity of Choice for Canadian Engineers.
Is there a role for non-engineers in EWB?
Technology is but one component in the development process, and therefore EWB can benefit from the involvement of people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.
Many non-engineering students are active members of their university chapters. At our national office in Toronto, we often need volunteers and staff with communications, marketing, business, graphic design and other skills, and we welcome anyone passionate about development to apply to join our team.
Previously, people with a more general international development background have gone overseas as EWB volunteers. It is important however to note that all of our projects have a technical component and some require a higher level of technical expertise than others. People with other backgrounds are welcome to apply for EWB overseas placements.
How can I start a new EWB chapter?
EWB has 24 university chapters across Canada. Each of these receives support from the National Management Team to help build their leadership and program development. We dedicate approximately 200 hours of staff time per year to supporting each chapter.
At this time, we are unable to provide support to any more chapters. If your university has over 1,000 engineering students, a team of strong leaders dedicated to EWB and does not have access to a neighbouring EWB chapter, we will consider your request for September 2007. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org stating your interest.
Is there an EWB chapter near me? How can I contact them?
To see if there is an EWB chapter in your area, please visit our chapter listings. There you will also find contact information for each chapter.
I am not a student. How can I get involved in EWB?
Currently there are three professional EWB chapters, in Vancouver, Calgary and the National Capital Region (Ottawa/Gatineau). If you are interested in becoming involved in any of these chapters please contact them directly at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. More professional chapters will be established in other cities across Canada over the next few years.
If there is not a professional chapter in your area, please contact the closest university chapter to participate in or assist them with their events. Please see our chapter listings for their locations and contact information.
How does EWB select projects and partners?
For our work to produce sustainable solutions and bring about the desired impacts overseas, selecting projects on which to work and partners with whom we work is critical. We evaluate all potential projects and partner organisations ourselves. We select projects that are sustainable and meet the local populations' needs, and we select organisations that are experienced and knowledgeable about the local community and the socio-economic and political environment.
To learn about our current overseas projects and partners visit EWB Overseas.
How does EWB decide where to work overseas?
Determining where to work is a great challenge as there are thousands of communities internationally living in extreme poverty. We are currently focusing our attention in Africa so as to increase our expertise in a region where the need is particularly great. We are also working in the Philippines and Haiti, where we are continuing our involvement in projects previously established. When selecting projects we look for communities in which the skills of our volunteers will be helpful, as well as an environment that is safe and free from civil strife and conflict.
Where does EWB work?
EWB has worked in the following 27 countries:
|Africa||Asia||South and Central America|
|Burkina Faso*||East Timor||Chile|
*Countries in which EWB volunteers are currently working. For more information, learn about our current Overseas Projects.
What is the difference between humanitarian assistance and development?
Humanitarian assistance demands a rapid reaction to a situation, such as a natural disaster. In contrast, development is based on the principle of patient capacity building, working with local partners and communities, sharing knowledge and helping local populations gain access to the resources they need.
Why does EWB focus on development, not humanitarian assistance?
EWB recognizes that engineering skills are useful to those suffering from natural disastersfinding access to water for refugee camps, setting-up temporary housing and coordinating logistics. The immediacy of the situation is often enough to compel a large numbers of westerners to help in the aftermath of disasters.
But having analyzed the sector, we feel the Canadian engineering profession is already represented by Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief (RedR), as well as other organisations such as Care, MSF and Oxfam, who also hire engineers.
EWB focuses instead on the challenges of long-term development, where the need in developing communities remains great. Through long-term projects we are able to help people lift themselves out of poverty, which in turn reduces their vulnerability to disasters.
Engineers interested in international work should consider which area of work best suits them. While humanitarian assistance requires people who are decisive, resourceful, and able to maintain composure under pressure, development requires humility, patience and a long-term commitment to the community in which one works.
How can I volunteer overseas with EWB?
We are looking for candidates who are committed to working with the developing world to enact positive and sustainable solutions. If you are interested in learning more about our overseas placements and what we look for in candidates, please visit our Volunteering Overseas page.
Current Opportunities are posted on our website.
How long are EWB placements?
We offer both long and short-term placements.
Short-term placements (four months) are offered to our student members only through the EWB chapter at their university. This provides students with an introduction to development, preparing them for longer placements and giving them a greater understanding of development and developing communities to share with other Canadians.
We also offer about 20-25 long-term placements each year for graduates, young professionals or professional engineers. These placements aim to build capacity in our partner communities and therefore require a long-term commitment, ranging from 12 to 36 months.
To learn more about our placements visit Volunteering Overseas page.
What is EWB Canada's relationship with similar Engineers Without Borders organisations based in other countries?
The concept behind Engineers Without Borders Canadatapping into the engineering profession to contribute to developmentis not revolutionary, nor is the name. Many people in other countries are also interested in engaging engineers in development and have adopted the EWB/ISF name. As a result there are a number of organisations with similar mandates and names around the world.
- Engineers For a Sustainable World - US
- Engineers Without Borders - Australia
- Engineers Without Borders - UK
- Engineers Without Borders - USA
- Ingegneria Senza Frontiere, Italia - Italy
- Ingenieria Sin Fronteras - Spain
- Ingénieurs Sans Frontières - France
- Ingenjörer och Naturvetare utan Gränser, Sverige - Sweden
Most of these organisations started between 2001-2003, following EWB Canada's inception. Each is legally independent and there is no formal affiliation among them.
There are a number of informal affiliations however. At our annual conference, we have invited and had members of EWB UK, EWB Australia, ISF Spain and Engineers for a Sustainable World participate and share experiences. We plan to continue sharing knowledge at future conferences. We also have close relationships with EWB UK, having helped initiate their start up, and with EWB Australia, ISF Spain and ISF Italy.
EWB Canada sees a challenge in the proliferation of similarly named but legally and operationally separate organisations. Each organisation has different mission statements, development beliefs, areas of operations, expertise, ambitions and experience.
There is an informal network called EWB-ISF International. While EWB Canada has chosen not to become a member of this network, we do attend their meetings and contribute our perspectives. EWB Canada believes an organisation is more than just a name and roughly similar goals. In order for organisations to work together, they must have a common strategy and culture, neither of which are currently present in the international network.
EWB Canada will continue to work with members of the EWB International network to raise questions about strategy, find areas of agreement and work through differences in strategy.
Is EWB affiliated with Doctors Without Borders (MSF)?
Engineers Without Borders Canada and Doctors Without Borders are separate entities and not affiliated.
Are there any job opportunities with EWB?
Current job opportunities with EWB are listed here. Because we are a small organisation, there are often no positions available. However, we are always looking for volunteers for our national office in Toronto. If you are interested in volunteering please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I help?
If you want to help, please visit What You Can Do to learn about ways to learn more about development, engage in pro-development behavior and get involved in EWB.