NGOs are underfunded and would benefit from free technical assistance
Universities struggle to give all students the opportunity to get involved in real-world projects and gain work experience
A lack of sustainable engineering and design in different cultural settings coverage within university engineering courses
A voluntourism attitude to development work
Our vision is to build upon the excellent Engineering for People design challenge and 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 Universities and NGOs verifying themselves and signing up to the platform. They will then post projects they desire support with, including:
Enough information to clearly define the context of the problem
The solution criteria
The approximate hours it will take
The skills needed
They will also agree to give 1 hr 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 choose a few module related projects to enhance the student learning experience. The students will then be encouraged to take part in a 5 hr course covering:
The fundamentals of sustainable engineering
Design for sustainable development and participatory approaches
They can now choose which project they would like to be involved in. After pledging the number of hours required, the student is given access to the collaborative workspace.
The workspace 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. Once approved, it is submitted to the NGO. The NGO will 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 NGOs 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. A possible extension to the platform would be to allow students who have achieved high ratings for professionalism to privately assist NGO’S on other projects fostering great contacts and opportunities for the future.
To provide NGOs with the opportunity to outsource routine technical work, freeing up precious time to take on more projects.
Leverage the time of their employees with student hours
Improvement of undergraduate course satisfaction by providing real-world experience
An extra unique selling point for their courses, improving student recruitment
An increase in student satisfaction and engagement
Work experience with real value
Something worthwhile to talk about at interviews
To educate university students on sustainable engineering and broaden their horizons
To inspire engineers to consider working for NGOs in the future