1. What is appropriate technology?
Appropriate technology refers to technology that is suitable for use in developing nations or less developed rural areas of industrialised nations. This is often described as using the simplest level of technology that can effectively achieve the intended purpose in a particular location. In industrialised nations, the term appropriate technology takes a different meaning, often referring to engineering that takes special consideration of its social and environmental ramifications. (Source: Appropedia)
2. What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology refers to any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customised, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. (Source: Wikipedia)
3. Does Engineers Without Borders Asia focus on development or relief?
Humanitarian relief refers to the rapid response required after a situation, such as a natural disaster, to assist affected populations. Development, on the other hand, refers to longer-term capacity building through engagement of local partners and communities, helping them gain access to the resources they need to improve their quality of life.
Engineers Without Borders Asia currently focuses on the challenges of long-term development, recognising the need for co-creating sustainable solutions that can help improve the quality of lives of developing communities. Long-term partnerships also enable us to better understand local contexts and build trust within the community, that will be valuable to us should we enter into emergency relief in the country. As the organisation establishes itself, we will review our capacity to respond to emergency relief situations.
4. What is Engineers Without Borders Asia’s relationship with other EWBs?
Engineers Without Borders Asia is not formally affiliated with EWB-International, or with any other national EWB, and are legally separate and operate independently from these organisations. Engineers Without Borders Asia feels that we do not yet have the capacity to fully commit and contribute as a formal member of EWB-I, though this will be reviewed as the organisation establishes itself. However, we do seek to engage with other EWB organisations on an informal basis to share knowledge and experiences in the field of humanitarian engineering.
5. Is there a role for non-engineers in Engineers Without Borders Asia?
Development is a complex and multi-disciplinary process, and technology is just one of the components. Integration of any technological solution into a developing community requires a larger understanding of the (political, social, geographical, etc.) context for successful take-up. The involvement of people from different backgrounds and disciplines can therefore add diverse perspectives and benefit the overall work of EWB.
Engineers Without Borders Asia is a completely volunteer-run organisation, and we are constantly on the lookout for people with project management, volunteer management, marketing, communications, business development, graphic design and other skills. We welcome anyone passionate about development to apply to join our team.