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Engineers Without Borders, change agents of our time

The global movement

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) International proclaims in their slogan: “We believe that more can be done to address global inequity and injustice. Engineering can be a critical enabler of change that allows the planet, including all people and living things, to thrive”


EWB International supports Engineers Without Borders organisations worldwide that are committed to working together and delivering demonstrable benefits globally. There are 60 – 100 organisations worldwide of which South Africa has several chapters, including Stellenbosch University’s EWB Maties.


The vision of the international movement is to bring the global movement together to achieve collective impact against today’s most pressing challenges and accelerate progress for a sustainable and equitable future.


About the EWB Maties chapter

We asked change agent, Tenzin Koetsier, who is a 4th year student at M&M Engineering and Chairman of the Maties chapter to tell us more about EWB Maties and he gave us this very exciting info: “As an overview, EWB-Maties is a society focused on solving community centred issues using an engineering mindset and a Human Centred Design (HCD) approach. This is basically an approach to defining a problem from the perspective of those experiencing it, rather than creating solutions to problems that the community itself does not deem necessary. It’s an exciting and deeply insightful process.”


“The global EWB movement is a community that believes in doing more to address the needs of disadvantaged communities through engineering projects. Our focus is on addressing today’s most pressing challenges and accelerating progress for a sustainable and equitable future while spreading awareness for such initiatives. The majority of EWB organizations are linked to academia and students, with many of them being student-led. This is also the case with EWB-Maties, the Stellenbosch University chapter.


EWB-Maties’ executive committee consists of 5 students and an annual member base of around 60 students. To date our biggest project, every year, has been the Solar Gen project. This project is completed in close unison with lecturers within the Engineering Faculty. The event invites the top 20 mathematics and science students from less privileged schools in the community to attend a practical learning session. The pupils are taught how to build a simple yet effective solar charging kit which they then get to take home after the session. Our current plans are for a housing project, with the goal of building a small eco-friendly prototype unit.


The vision is clear

Several projects are planned for this year to promote females in STEM and to encourage more young people to join the engineering profession. The society hosts speed mentoring and personal development courses yearly to give members better insight into industry and the opportunity to ask industry professionals any questions they may have.


EWB Maties have been working with Professor Thinus Booysen over the past years and welcome any other academic staff to contact them if they would like to join the movement in any way.


As a relatively new society, they have been active for more than five years already. The latest addition to the society is a co-curriculum program where members can receive academic recognition for their involvement.


Members are very passionate about the potential for EWB Maties to grow and improve, and all help to achieve this is greatly appreciated. The first event for 2022 takes place on Wednesday 4th May. This event will serve as a welcoming to all members and an overview and introduction to what is planned this year. ”

As a department we are immensely proud of our students who are already engaging, and we encourage others to participate. We will be bringing regular updates of the valuable contribution this society lends to our immediate communities.