Engineers Without Borders at Boston University

Young engineers making their contribution to change



Wrap-Up of Zambia and Looking Forward to Next Year

By ewbexec

Hello everyone!

Our travel team is back safely from Zambia and we’ll be hearing from them shortly for a more in-depth account of their time in Zambia. They had a pretty exciting time on their pre-assessment trip. They were able to visit the city of Lusaka, the districts of Choma and Kalomo, and the community of Naluja. They were also able to meet a lot of people during their travels including our NGO partners, the community members of Naluja, American doctors running their own successful hospital, and even a Zambian Parliament member! They’ve been very busy and the last two weeks have been exciting for our travel team, to say the least.

Our team did a lot of hard work in not only laying out the groundwork for a strong relationship with the Nalujan people, but also through the data collection they did for assessment of the needs of the community. The team was able to gather information on water, sanitation, solar energy, road maps, and cell phone signal. Additionally, the team was able to meet up with another community in the Kalomo area that has already been able to implement some solutions to the infrastructure problems Naluja faces. The travel team was able to do some data collection on how well the other community was able to implement these solutions and any problems they faced along the way; the hope is to use this community as a model, of sorts, for Naluja.

On a lighter note, the team were able to enjoy some other things in Zambia. They were able to try a Zambian food called nshima (made of cornmeal) and explore the Nalujan community and spend time with its occupants. During their stay in Naluja, our travel team all got Zambian names and some even got marriage proposals! Our team was also able to visit Victoria Falls and two of the team went bungee jumping over the falls – it was definitely an exciting and memorable experience for them.

We’ll have more information for you as soon as we are updated more thoroughly by our travelers. Until then, let’s look to the future.

We’re been working towards this pre-assessment trip for a long time, and now that it’s done, we should definitely take the time to celebrate! However, we must also remember that we’ve now got a lot of valuable information about the Naluja community and we must put it to good use. All the information the travel team was able to get about Naluja can be used to determine which projects would be the best to implement in Naluja and help in improving the quality of life for the members there. We must look to take the next, necessary steps toward implementation.

Much of this will be taking place over the next year! We have a lot of work to get done now that the information has been obtained, and we welcome every one of our existing and new members at EWB-BU to help us with our program in Naluja. We have a lot of exciting events to help us along the way, including our annual Silent Auction, the upcoming Millenium Campus Conference, the EWB Regional Conference, and our Spring Film Festival with the EWB Boston Professional Chapter, to name a few.

We’re really excited about having completed this first step with a pre-assessment trip. It’ll enable us to go on implementation trips in the future and truly become a part of the change in the Naluja community. Join EWB-BU and become a part of the change!



Traveling to Zambia

By ewbexec

Hello everyone!

Our travel team has left for Zambia!

EWB-BU members Grace Wang, Declan Bowman, and Nathanael Lee, in addition to mentor Mohammed Jafri of the Boston Professional Chapter, left for our pre-assessment trip on August 13. They plan to come back on the 27th.

During the two weeks our team is in Zambia, there is a lot to get done! This is a pre-assessment trip, so our team will be looking to get a better understanding of Naluja, the community where our program has opened, and of its people. By sending our members to Zambia, we hope to pinpoint some of the problems the Naluja community is experiencing and start brainstorming projects that might be able to appease these needs.

One of the ways we’ll be collecting data is through a Baseline Health Assessment, with which we’ll try to explore the health-related challenges the community faces. Our team will be collecting information about the Naluja community through interviews with the residents and their own observations. We’ll also be using data already compiled by Measure DHS and the Central Statistical Office of Zambia. If you’d like to take a look, check out the following links:

By the end, we hope to get a better sense about the needs of the community so we can figure out to best address them.

Check back on our blog soon for more updates about what we’re doing in Naluja, Zambia!

We’re really excited to be able to send members of EWB-BU to Zambia! The entire group has been working towards this goal for a very long time, so it’s very exciting to see all the hard work come to fruition. Thank you to our members for helping us reach this point! We wish our travel team the best of luck in Zambia!



Happy 10th Anniversary!

By ewbexec


As of Wednesday, June 6th, EWB has had its 10th birthday! Ten years of commitment to the application of engineering principles to raise the living standards of the world’s poorest.

Today is a great day to remember how far this group has come. The dedication of all of the EWB members has resulted in the betterment of 2.3 millions lives in 48 countries! Many lives have been improved as a result of EWB’s dedication. It’s great to say that the existence of this group and the commitment of these members has actually made a visible impact.

Today should also be a day to look at the present and the future, and to answer the questions that arise. What are we working on right now? How can these projects and implementations be made better? In what other ways can we help to make a difference? What are our plans from the future? Where do we go from here? Being complacent is not an option. Already, this group has come so far. This needs to continue so that we can continue to make an impact.

Happy 10th Anniversary to EWB!



MCC 2012 – Keynote Speaker Dr. Jeffrey Sachs

By ewbexec

mcclogoWe hope everyone’s vacations are going well and everyone has been able to relax on this much needed break!

Looking to the future, the 2012 Millennium Campus Conference (MCC) is coming up in September. It will be held at Northeastern University on Septermber 14-15, 2012. The MCC is held as part of a greater effort by students across many universities to end extreme poverty as well as to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set forth in 2000.

Every conference has a keynote speaker. Speakers of past years have included: K’naan (poet, singer); John Legend (singer, Show Me Campaign); Dr. Paul Farmer (Partners in Health); and Adam Braun (Pencils of Promise), among many other notables. This year’s speaker has been announced as Dr. Jeffrey Sachs.

Dr. Sachs has been involved with MCC for many years on the Board of Advisors. jsachsAdditionally, he is the director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and a Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. In addition to these impressive accomplishments, Dr. Sachs has been heavily involved with the fight against extreme poverty, having served as advisor to many governments with regard to economic strategy and healthcare in developing countries, and is considered the world’s leading expert on economic development. Having worked with such people and organizations as Pope John Paul II, the African Union, the World Health Organization, Polish Financial Minister Leszek Balcerowicz, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Dr. Sachs has become a very important and influential person. Indeed, he was recognized as such, being listed twice in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential World Leaders.

With such an impressive resume and inexhaustible drive to help ameliorate conditions in today’s developing countries, Dr. Sachs is indeed a very welcome guest at this year’s Millennium Campus Conference! It will be an interesting and enlightening experience to listen to him speak, based on his extraordinary knowledge and previous direct experiences in the developing world, and hear his views on the world and how each of us can contribute. Needless to say, we’re really looking forward to MCC 2012!

The video below details Dr. Sachs’ ideas regarding technology and connectivity and how the two can help to springboard the developing world forward. With the advent of cheaper technology, the entire world becomes accessible with just the click of a button, and within the comfort of people’s homes. Even in some of the most rural areas, its inhabitants are able to connect to the outside world through the use of a simple mobile telephone. Mobile telecom is extraordinarily cheap in developing countries, and has helped many nations to advance in that respect. This idea of communication with the outside world and the flow of information has enormous consequences.

Enter EWB BU. This is one of the things we’ve been working toward with our antenna project to extradite the results of Dried Blood Spot (DBS) tests for HIV using mobile phones and Short Message Service (SMS). We’ve definitely taken Dr. Sachs’ example as inspiration and hope that our trip to Zambia this summer will help us forward in our project and one step closer to implementation!



Live Below the Line

By ewbexec

Live Below the LineHere’s what you need to know about the Live Below the Line Challenge:

  • You have 5 days – March 7th to March 11th.
  • You have $1.50 per day to feed yourself.

Ready? Go.

Join the EWB-BU team this year as we try to Live Below the Line! 1.4 billion of the world’s population lives on less that $1.25 per day, in extreme poverty. Many people are suffering as a result and should not be allowed to continue. That’s where Live Below the Line comes in.

Live Below the Line is a fundraising campaign to raise awareness of the difficulties people face when living in extreme poverty, when sustenance is hard to come by. This is done by challenging people in developed countries to live under the same conditions (eating less than $1.25 worth of food per day).

“To really tackle extreme poverty, we’ve got to try to understand it – and what better way than by spending just a few days living below the poverty line.” We often hear that most of the world lives in unimaginably difficult conditions, but this information is not realized until it has been experienced. It’s easy to sympathize, but it’s harder to empathize. And only when that empathy has been realized can one truly just begin to grasp the severity of the problems that 1.4 billion of the world’s population have to contend with.

If you’re interested in joining, please do! There needs to be greater awareness and movement toward the eradication of extreme poverty around the world. Click on the second link to sign up for the EWB-BU team! For more information, click on any of the following links:

Good luck with the challenge, everybody!



World Water Day

By ewbexec

water1Today is World Water Day! It is important to take a moment today to recognize the great need in this world for water. In countries such as the US, access to clean drinking water is not a problem. However, it can be one of the main concerns for survival in less fortunate countries. Life without easy access to water is difficult one because of the many uses it has in our everyday lives. Bathing, cooking, cleaning – water is necessary for all of these things, among many others. Hygiene and good sustenance is difficult to obtain. We depend heavily on water directly and indirectly (e.g. its use in the manufacture of many of the products we use) for many things. For more information about how we depend on water, click on the following link:

Access to clean drinking water is not readily available in poorer countries due to a variety of reasons, especially in rural areas. In Zambia, for example, only about 60% of the population has access to an improved water supply ( The situation is complicated by seasonal changes. While a long-term solution is needed, obviously, as a solution to this problem, there have been many simple technologies that have been implemented in the meantime in an effort to get better access to clean water, such as:

There are many available methods to help get easier access to clean drinking water. Why, then, is it still a problem? Water is a necessity for survival; it is a very basic need. It’s a shame that even though the means to obtain clean water are available, not everyone is able to gain access. Learn more about the problem and ways you can help at:

The BU Chapter of Engineers Without Borders is looking into the possible implementation a water filtration system in Zambia this year, and we’re glad for World Water Day because it has certainly opened our eyes to the need for water in the world. Please let us know if you’d like to become involved in our project!



Engineering in a Greater Context

By ewbexec

zaman-new-profile-picHello everyone! Hopefully everyone has had a lovely spring break and are looking forward to the next couple of months before summer vacation.

In recent news, check out the blog posts of Professor Muhammad Zaman, advisor to our BU chapter of Engineers Without Borders, on The Huffington Post! With titles such as “Make Development Part of the Equation” and “Engineering a Healthy Tomorrow for the Poorest Billions,” Zaman looks at the greater context of engineering in today’s world and the impact it can have on the lives of billions in the future. It’s incredible, he says, that engineering has led to such technological innovations and accomplishments already, such as “sending the man on the moon and building bridges and buildings that defy imagination.” Hopefully, continued imagination and creativity and hard work on the part of global engineers can continue this trend, with the focus of using engineering to better the lives of those in the poorest countries. While in recent years engineering programs have seen a decline in the number of applicants and interested individuals, this field has enormous implications for the future.

With the world’s population over 7 billion people and growing at an exponential rate (, efforts must be made so that the poorest regions in the world are not held back, or regress, due to a disparity in resources and innovation and education, but instead are encouraged to progress and create the foundation for a healthy and sustainable future by investing in education and innovation. It is imperative that the conditions today in the poorest countries – including a lack of proper infrastructure, inadequate health services, etc. – not set the tone for the future. As Zaman says, “gone are the days when we accepted disease, suffering and poverty as the common lot of the poor.” It is no longer acceptable to simply sit back on our laurels when there are issues that can be acted upon and situations that need to be changed. It’s not an option to let such suffering continue. And engineers play a big part in ensuring that this idea of growth and progress, even in the poorest of countries, come to fruition in the future. Ultimately, everyone benefits from this investment in the future. “The creation of new knowledge and new paradigms to address the global problems will inevitable lead to discovery of new, cheaper and robust design criteria that will have an impact on all societies, including ours, here in the US.”

And this is something that the BU chapter of Engineers Without Borders is working on. We hope that our project in Zambia, in partnership with the Center for Global Health and Development (CGHD) and the Zambia Center for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD), will help to contribute toward alleviating the current situation with HIV test results. For more information on our project, click the following link:

To read Professor Zaman’s blog posts, click the following link:



New EWB-BU Website!

By ewbexec


5… 4… 3… 2… 1… We’re Live!

Check out our new website for the EWB-BU Student Chapter! It’s got the most recent information on our events and projects, such as our work with CGHD (Center for Global Health and Development) and the Zambia Center for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD) in addition to details about our upcoming Marshmallow Challenge for E-Week!

New Website Picture

On our new website, you can get updates from our Facebook page, this blog, among many other things. We’ve also set up a donation link! Looking to get involved with EWB-BU? Look into our Contact Information and shoot us an e-mail! We’ll be looking to add to the site a lot more in the future, so be sure to give us your feedback! Our brand new website, courtesy of our Webmaster Alan Pacheco, can be used in the future, with our Facebook page and our blog, to get information about our group. Be sure to stop by!

Link to our NEW website:



E-Week 2012

By ewbexec

marshmellow2This year, the Boston University chapter of EWB has teamed up with ENG GOV 2015 to bring you the Marshmellow Challenge! The objective is the make the tallest tower using just spaghetti noodles, tape, and a marshmellow. E-week is a tradition that was brought about in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers to highlight the important contributions engineers make to society. This year’s E-Week, which runs from Tuesday, February 21st to Friday, March 2nd, features a host of excitingevents such as the Egg Drop Contest, the K’Nex Roller Coaster Design Contest, a Wii Tournament, and the Marshmellow Challenge!


We’ll also be accepting orders for our new EWB T-shirts! Come by and place an order and drop by for some engineering fun!

The Marshmellow Challenge is on Thursday, February 23rd at 5 pm – 6:30 pm in CAS B14. We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!

Additional details about the events can be found at:



Project Mailbox

By ewbexec

Project Mailbox We’ve been approved by Project Mailbox for a February fundraiser! As a “charity for other charities”, Project Mailbox is a new organization that was founded on Boston University’s campus. Each month it helps raise both awareness and funds for different non-profits. Luckily for us, we’re partnering with them for this month! If you’re wandering down Comm Ave, you’ll notice a red and white mailbox standing by Warren Towers that’s right outside of University Grill at 712 Commonwealth Avenue. You can drop in change, cash, or checks to support our work in Zambia! So if you find yourself jangling with spareProject mailbox-mailbox coinage in your pockets, swing by the mailbox and drop it in! Every bit helps, and we are so excited to see the small acts of generosity total up as we roll into March. You can also donate online directly to our chapter here (just make sure you select “Boston University Chapter” under the “Allocate your funds” section!)

So, before you toss your change onto your dresser where it’ll be lost in the chaos of your room, think about swinging by 712 Comm Ave to help out the Naluja community in Zambia.