Development Philosophy

As a dynamic and growing organisation, we continue to learn through our work and the work of others in the field of humanitarian engineering.

Each project and partnership is different, but we always aim to take a community-first approach to our work. This means that we think that the best drivers of development are communities themselves, who know best what their own needs and aspirations are. It is not our role to ‘do’ development, but to support and enhance the efforts of existing communities and partner organisations that are doing great work.

While every case is different, the four key principles we work by are:

Partners before projects

The strongest determinant of our ability to successfully assist a community to create sustainable positive change is our ability to form strong and meaningful relationships. We seek to partner with community based organisations that match our goals and values, and without a suitable partner there can be no project. We may, however, build partnerships with organisations that do not yet have clear ‘projects’. Key questions we ask are:

  • Does the partner match our mission, vision and values?
  • Is the partner representative of the community?
  • Does the partner organisation have the capacity to undertake the proposed project?
  • Do we have the capacity to undertake the proposed project?

Community identified needs and project ownership

We believe for work to be sustainable and appropriate it must be community driven and owned. EWBNZ does not ‘own’ projects. Instead we partner with organizations who are seeking assistance with work that they have identified.

We fund people, not projects

EWBNZ assists through humanitarian engineering, but not through direct funding. EWBNZ can help provide funding to build partnerships, create links and support our volunteers, but does not pay for building costs and the costs of our partner organisations.

Effective communications

Communication is central to our success. We communicate actively and directly within our organisation and chapters, and with all our partners, both in the community and corporations.


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