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Engineers Without Borders International (EWB-I) has long been known as an organization for those aspiring to contribute to the society through the efficient implementation of engineering structures and innovations. Throughout the years, EWB-I has branched out in numerous countries, allowing their respective citizens to volunteer, donate or register as members of the said organization. It enabled engineers with the same objective to connect with each other and help countless communities in need. Its primary vision is to build “a sustainable world where engineering enables long-term positive social and global development for the benefit of people and the environment everywhere.” EWB-I seeks to promote collaboration so that collectively, it can achieve more than the sum of its parts and fulfill its mission, “To be the beating heart of the engineering movement for sustainable global development, building and evolving engineering capacity throughout the world.”

Fortunately, EWB was able to reach the Philippines as well with the supervision of Ateneo de Davao University’s School of Engineering and Architecture (AdDU-SEA) Dean, Dr. Randell U. Espina. Discussions regarding EWB-PH initiated way back 2016 when it was first introduced to the department and its Student Executive Council (SEC) officers. Mrs. Agnes Wark, an active member of EWB in Texas, conducted a brief seminar for the students of AdDU-SEA last December 20, 2017 to showcase the importance of the role of engineers in the society. It was only this August 30, 2019 that the membership application was approved by EWB-I, making AdDU the official host institution for EWB-PH.

(Photo) EWB Orientation with Mrs. Wark last December 20, 2017 held in W300 AdDU Campus

The main goal is to provide communities in Davao region, alongside other Philippine regions, with the necessary technology in order to ease their ways of living. In the long run, the said communities would then be able to utilize renewable energy sources in their day-to-day activities. By accomplishing the mission of EWB-PH, not only will the target areas be aided economically, but the welfare of the environment will not be compromised at the same time.

The current Board of Directors and so-called incorporators of EWB-PH are Dr. Randell U. Espina (President/Chairperson), Engr. Ruben W. Salvador, Jr. (Internal Vice President), Engr. Jason T. Occidental (External Vice President), Ms. Lilibeth Diane Yu (Secretary), Engr. Eduardo E. Descalsota, Jr. (Treasurer), Engr. Ryutaro Yamamoto (Auditor), Engr. Maria Leah Flor A. de Castro (Public Relations Officer) and Mrs. Agnes Wark (Adviser). Ateneo de Davao University is the first and only EWB group to be successfully registered here in the Philippines. As of the moment, only professionals are part of EWB-PH, but the board is looking forward to accept interested undergraduates in the years to come.

In collaboration with AdDU-CREATE (Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technologies), AdDU-TechnoHub and MREC (Mindanao Renewable Energy Center), the organization is open to conducting projects and researches which could help save Mother Earth and succor Davaoeños’ daily lifestyle. Some of the topics covered by AdDU include RF Energy Harvesting, Missionary Electrifications, Grid Integration of Variable Renewables, DSM and Energy Efficiency, Low Carbon Urban and Rural Development, Energy Products and Service Valorization, Waste to Energy Technologies, Systems Modeling and Other Appropriate Technologies (Water, Energy, Food, Transport, Telecom). However, its primary focus is on the development of energy sustainability through the use of solar technology, not only within the university but in different areas of Mindanao as well, especially in places where the supply of electricity is limited.

In addition to EWB-PH’s host institution, Ateneo de Davao University, the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UP-Diliman) is also an active contributor to EWB-PH. In contrast to AdDU, UP-Diliman’s EWB society is comprised of undergraduates conducting projects and research works. It is a student-led, service-oriented and university-wide organization established to support community development programs and partnerships for the benefit of Filipinos through engineering applications. It aims to promote the interdisciplinary approach of solving problems by providing sustainable solutions as manifested in its diverse member base coming from different programs inside and outside the College of Engineering.

Some of the projects of UP-Diliman include 1.) the Bokashi Project, a bioremediation project to revitalize polluted bodies of water through the use of organic matter such as fermented rice husks, effective microorganisms (EM1), molasses, garden soil and corn starch; 2.) Project Puray, wherein the university was able to provide solar lamp posts to selected off-grid communities in Barangay Puray, in association with Liter of Lights, Pepsi-Cola and AFP; 3.) Seed Drive, a fundraiser, in partnership with Sibol Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT), for the rehabilitation of mangrove areas in Tacloban after it was devasted by the storm, Yolanda; and 4.) Project Biodigester, a mechanical stomach that digests kitchen and food waste to create fertilizer and biogas in Tumana, Marikina.

Another university-wide research and design group based in UP-Diliman, namely HEED, which stands for Humanitarian Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Design, also aims to effectively deliver technological solutions to underserved areas within their region.