About Us

Our Vision and Mission

Our Vision is for a world where "everyone has the access to the engineering leadership and capability required to lead a life of opportunity and be free from poverty in all its forms".

Our Vision statement is an expression of the future that Engineers Without Borders aims to create for the community and stakeholders that we wish to impact.  All decisions, projects and services are filtered through our vision statement to assess whether they are truly “vision-driven” and hence creating the strategic awareness of possible futures and the impact that we desire.

Our Mission is to "connect, educate and empower people through humanitarian engineering".  Humanitarian engineering uses a people-centred, strengths-based approach to improve community health, well-being and opportunity.  Our mission statement explains how we plan to achieve our vision.

Our Values



We are a community of people and organisations who share a common vision for the future. Through collective action and community-led change we will learn more, achieve more and have fun together.



We strive to address the immediate needs of our communities without compromising the needs of future generations. Along with our people, our planet is our most valuable resource.



We build relationships based on mutual trust and respect. We believe all relationships thrive on a two way sharing of knowledge and culture. 



We create new opportunities for learning and lasting change.  We have a passion for continuous learning and seek to embrace and harness new experiences, wisdom, ideas and expertise.  



We strive for quality, professionalism and excellence in everything that we do. We believe we can create positive and long lasting impact in the world. 

Why Engineering?

Engineers save lives. Whether it is making sure water supplies are free of contaminants or designing buildings that withstand cyclones or earthquakes, the work of an engineer involves mitigating risks to human health on a daily basis.

However, access to these live-saving skills is not equitable; some people are without these services simply because of where they were born.

At EWBNZ we don’t believe in borders defining who does or does not get to live a life of opportunity due to the stability that well designed, operated and maintained infrastructure provides.

What are some of the barriers that EWBNZ are trying to overcome?

For anything to be sustainable it must consider all drivers to its long term success. This includes social and cultural, environmental, technical and financial capitals. 

EWBNZ acknowledges that when working in the context of other cultures, we can’t possibly understand everything about the social and cultural context without a significant amount of help.

How does EWBNZ resolve this?

EWBNZ resolves this challenge in two main ways:

Using Human-Centered Design (or participatory design or co-design) the users themselves are involved in the design process. This enables them to make sure that the technical solution is appropriate for their own needs and naturally incorporates that social and cultural context.

Partnering with local organisations (usually staffed by locals) who can provide that context. EWBNZ’s role then becomes about developing the technical capability of those local staff - a much more long term solution!

So how does Humanitarian Engineering fit into this?

We aim to enhance the efforts of existing communities and partner organisations using Humanitarian Engineering.

Humanitarian Engineering is an approach that is:


We recognise and build on the strengths of our people, partnerships and collective experiences. We emphasise the self-determination, capabilities, gifts, abilities and ideas of communities and incorporate local knowledge, networks, connections as well as financial and physical strengths. This approach enables us to promote community resilience and resourcefulness, which, whilst not as tangible as physical outputs, produces more sustainable long term outcomes.

Participatory and community-centered

We view the fundamental purpose of engineering as the creative application of science for the benefit of humankind and therefore it is important that people and community are at the centre of engineering. We aim to actively involve all stakeholders, including vulnerable groups, in the design process to help ensure the result meets their needs and is usable. Participatory design is an approach that enhances capability through the processes and procedures of design, not only the design outcome.

Focused on capacity building

We work to strengthen and support engineering capacity in the communities in which we work. Capacity building is the process through which individuals, organisations and societies obtain, strengthen and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time.

Facilitating appropriate technology 

We support the use of small scale, energy efficient and environmentally sound technology which is owned and operated by communities. Through this approach we ensure accessibility, acceptability, adaptability and affordability of solutions.

We approach our work with humility by valuing our partners and putting communities first.

How does EWBNZ actually go about doing this?

EWBNZ runs a series of programmes that aim to:

  • enable appropriate solutions to alleviate poverty and accelerate inclusive sustainable development;
  • empower communities with a voice and knowledge in dealing with engineering issues;
  • redefine engineering as a community centred profession providing leadership for a more sustainable world; and
  • inspire and mobilise a global community in engineering for social change.

For more information on these programmes, and what their objectives are (i.e. how they are a step towards achieving the Vision), visit our Programmes page.