Our idea will connect bright young minds with engineering orientated NGOs with the aim of engaging students in real-world problems while saving NGOs time and money.
The process starts with NGOs verifying themselves and signing up to the platform. They will then post problems they are facing or projects they desire support with along with enough information to clearly define the context of the problem, the solution criteria, the approximate hours it will take, and the skills needed. They will also agree to give 1hr in supervision and guidance per 100 combined student hours.
Once the platform is beginning to be populated with problems, teaching fellows, module leaders or degree programme directors will then be able to verify themselves and sign up to get access to the teaching side of the platform and choose a few module/course related projects that they think will enhance the student learning experience. The students will then be encouraged to log into the student part platform where, after taking an approximately 5hr course on the fundamentals of sustainable engineering, design for sustainable development and participatory approaches, they will be able to choose which project they would like to be involved in. The students will then pledge the number of hours that are required of them, once the approximate hours criteria (+10%) is met by hours pledged then the problem will become filled.
The platform offers an interactive workflow for students, tutors and not-for-profit organisations to share guidance, design documentation and progress reports. It will also provide a place for students to log their hours worked. When the agreed amount of time has elapsed, the students will present their solution the member of staff at the university who will check it over. When checked, it is submitted in the required format to the NGO with the legal ability to use the idea. The NGO will then be able to provide feedback on the solution and rate the group. The students are then able to privately rate each other after which both ratings are combined to provide one rating for the student (or one for effort and one for effectiveness). This is to protect the reputation of the platform. The NGO will then be required to provide an impact assessment within 3 months of submission which is sent to each of the students letting them know the impact that their work has had. Universities and NGO’s will be encouraged to make donations to the platform to pay for running costs. If this does not generate enough revenue, then Universities will be required to make a minimum donation per student.
The desired outcomes of this process are:
To educate students on sustainable engineering
To inspire engineers to consider working for NGOs in the future
To improve undergraduate course satisfaction by providing real-world experience
To give universities and extra USP for their courses, improving student recruitment
To give students work experience and more to write in their cv and talk about at interviews
To provide NGOs with the opportunity to outsource routine technical work.