2022 Was A Time Of Change And Opportunity
Another year has come to a close, and as leaders we can’t help but look back at 2022 with immense pride in, and gratitude for the entire EWB community. 2022 was a time of change for Engineers Without Borders Canada with a transition in leadership, community members stepping up and internal staff stepping in. As a community that believes in learning and growing in the face of adversity and the capacity of change to drive action, we have embraced this as an opportunity to innovate for greater and more sustainable impact.
2022 brought the return of in-person events for EWB, beginning with our successful Chapter Leadership Summit in Ottawa. During the summit, we saw advocacy in action as Chapter leaders from across the country took this opportunity to meet with MP’s and let them know that young leaders care about Canada’s stance on global issues. We hosted our first-ever Canada-Africa Innovation Fellowship retreats in person, and saw the climate change innovations of our fellows gain funding and traction in the global community. In Africa, our Fellowship reach expanded from Uganda to include Ghana. We designed, re-designed, and eventually stepped away from the traditional Run 2 End Poverty event, in favour of creating a more inclusive signature event moving forward. We watched university Chapter members return to their in-person studies with excitement and hope for their academic future; bringing with them a new level of passion for technology and engineering for social impact, and an ignition of Chapters that were dormant during the covid years. At the end of the year, our community came together like never before in support of Giving Tuesday, as we saw a record number of gifts and messages of hope flood through our doors. As vessels through which our community is able to function and thrive, all of this was both humbling and invigorating to witness.
Now, as we look toward the future, we travel back to EWB’s Engineering roots. For most of us, engineering and technological marvels are so woven into our daily lives that we hardly notice them, and may even take them for granted. For a large portion of the global population, access to and benefits from these marvels has been uneven and in some cases, intentionally blocked from reaching those who could benefit most. Throughout our careers, and experience in global development and aid projects, we’ve learned that technological ‘fixes’ often don’t work. There are so many other parts (like cultural, behavioural and political systems) that need to fit into and integrate with the views and feedback of those closest to the issues on the ground. We believe that, like us, many engineers, technologists and other tech-literates and allies aren’t mainly driven by profit and recognition, but rather by a belief that technology should benefit the greatest number of people, improve their lives in some clear way, and do so without compromising the planet’s life-support systems.
During the first months of 2023, EWB will be undergoing a reset in its ambitions and strategic direction; keeping what works and evaluating what could work better as we begin to focus more on the ‘engineering’ in our name, both pragmatically and overtly.
Although we have been together as a (new) team for a relatively short time, the EWB community has been very welcoming (and patient) while we begin to find our new “flow” as an organisation. Each day brings new knowledge and a deeper understanding of not only the great organisation that EWB is, but also its potential for growth.
Thank you for your ongoing support and your belief in EWB. With your input, knowledge, experience, and support, we will continue to work towards the exchange, sharing and free-flow of technological and engineering practices and solutions to increase well-being for all.
Brian Harrigan, CEO & Shivani Patel, COO