Our ImpactStories

Leading and building the movement for Humanitarian Engineering takes us all over Australia and overseas. And we love to share the inspiring stories of impact from our programs!

Field Professionals - the inside advantage

How bringing best practice engineering knowledge in-house is supporting EWB Australia’s partners to deliver more. Aleixo Santos is a naturally cheerful person keen to take the time to talk about Plan International’s work with EWB A...
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Special Toilets Have Special Needs

What kind of toilet is the right toilet? We ask that question every day, because we work with communities living on lakes, floodplains and high in remote mountains - places where standard sanitation systems simply don’t work. One of our ke...
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How local skills safeguard local water supply

As we celebrate World Water Day, Daniel Miller-Moran, EWB field professional with Plan International, shares some of the ways we are working for Sustainable Development Goal 6 to ensure all Timorese have access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene...
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Sighting the horizon: STEM pathways for foster children

“I can't tell you what a thrill it was for our staff, and especially all the Foster Carers in the room, to have these motivated, caring and intelligent young adults standing in front of 26 children living in foster care, and sharing not j...
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Feto Enjiñeira – forging powerful pathways for female engineers

“Generally in the world it is tough to be a female engineer, and in Timor Leste it is especially hard due to social beliefs that engineering is a male profession, and that women should be in the kitchen, or always below a man.” explains...
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Not all toilets are created equal

Without access to sanitation, millions of people still practice open defecation, leaving them vulnerable to disease and pollution. We believe everyone has the right to access a toilet, and in Cambodia our national staff like Piseth Kim, train an...
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Showcasing Stories of Indigenous Engineering

In recognition of Reconciliation Week 2017, EWB-Australia hosted an evening to showcase Stories of Indigenous Engineering. Through video and conversation we shared this story series celebrating the rich contribution of Indigenous tradit...
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Finding the glowing happiness inside

"A small glowing happiness on the inside’ is how Jenny Mackay describes her feelings having spent some time volunteering with EWB School Outreach.  Jenny, a chemical engineer at Origin Energy put her hand up to volunteer with E...
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The guide to Non-gineering for Not-Engineers everywhere

"Before I started volunteering at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Australia, I could barely explain what my sister a Sustainable Systems Engineering student did. Although we are identical twins (with supposedly identical genetics) I chose the ...
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Inspiring change in the classroom

"School outreach makes a difference because it can inspire change at classroom level, and that is where the greatest impression can be made.” When Erhart was a young student making subject choices that would shape his future career, he...
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The human centered approach to sanitation

Engineers Without Borders Australia uses human centred design to empower people in Cambodia to be the change they want to see in their communities Just two months before this picture was taken, Mr Chin had never heard the word toilet before....
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Emergency response to El Nino in Timor

  Rural Timor-Leste relies heavily on the rainy season for the replenishment of their aquifers and water sources. Additionally, agriculture and livestock rearing depend on the rainy season precipitation. The 2015-16 El Nino event crippled pa...
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It's sanitation but not as we know it

Engineers Without Borders Australia has pioneered access to sanitation for communities living in challenging environments, and is fostering cross-sector collaboration to help rural Cambodians access appropriate, affordable sanitation solutions...
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Designing for Disabilities

Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) uses human-centred design to promote equitable access for people with disabilities in Australia and the Indo-Pacific. One in five people in Australia, almost four million people, have a disability and the...
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Empowering women in engineering in Timor Leste

Working hand in hand to overcome gender barriers, EWB Australia and Feto Enjiñeira are empowering women in Timor.  A civil engineer in Timor-Leste, Dulce Adolzinda Ximenes Soares, is passionate about the importance...
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From Aid to Enterprise with Atec*

Engineers Without Borders Australia’s ATEC Biodigester project is an innovative social enterprise providing clean energy and health benefits to rural Cambodians. (Watch the video) Like 85% of rural Cambodians, Long Sokhon&nbs...
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"Generally in the world it is tough to be a female engineer, and in Timor Leste it is especially hard due to social beliefs that engineering is a male profession, and that women should be in the kitchen, or always below a man.” explains Dulce Adolzinda Ximenes Soares; civil engineer, Timorese woman, and founding member of Feto Enjiñeira (Women in Engineering) in Timor Leste, an organisation Engineers Without Borders Australia is proud to work closely with.

Feto Enjiñeira aims to empower women engineers, and build professional capacity through training, collaboration and knowledge sharing because as Dulce explains, “it is difficult for women to be a leader in something here, so this group supports women in their professional career.” Members have access to training and mentoring as well as networking, internship and scholarship opportunities. “We may come from different backgrounds, but we share knowledge and experiences with each other, which is very motivating,” says Dulce, “Together we bring our positivity to empower more women to get involved in engineering and create a better future in Timor-Leste.”


Just as important is that Feto Enjiñeira is locally-led; providing relevant initiatives and a knowledge sharing forum for female engineers that is nurturing an important new generation of engineers in Timor Leste. Having gained independence in 2002 after years of conflict, the country is working hard to overcome some tough challenges. Currently four in ten Timorese live below the national poverty line, three in ten people still lack clean water and over half the population has no access to a toilet. The private sector too faces difficulties including a low-skilled workforce and poor infrastructure, and women face significant barriers in accessing education and employment.

“Community organisations like Feto Enjiñeira play a crucial role,” explains Heidi Michael, Acting CEO of EWB Australia “ and we support Feto Enjiñeira in order to increase the capability and diversity of professional engineers and build sector-wide capacity in Timor-Leste, especially in regard to our partner organisations and the development sector.”

With women’s participation in the engineering sector in Timor-Leste well below 30%, Feto Enjiñeira also provides female role models for young women starting their engineering careers.  “Sharing the knowledge of a professional female engineer with young students, boosts their confidence and transition from university to their professional career; helping to produce better young graduate engineers.” Dulce says.

With plans to expand the group and recruit more local staff, Dulce is upbeat, “I am able to work with a group of women sharing great ideas to empower women. I didn’t get that during my time as a student so I am happy not to see them struggle as we did. My dream is to see more women in engineering, and give hope to others for the future.”