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Stories from EWB Australia
Global travels and local impact – Bea Duffield’s volunteering journey

Global travels and local impact – Bea Duffield’s volunteering journey

Bea Duffield isn’t an engineer, but her experience spans almost everything else. From her academic background in scientific research to her career across both private enterprise and government sector, she has worked in a range of diverse fields including resource development, communications and marketing, policy, and infrastructure development. Her varied career has taken her across the globe, from her home base in Brisbane to Vietnam, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga. 

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Remote field visits, tuk-tuk commutes, and fish amok: a year in the life of an Australian volunteer

Remote field visits, tuk-tuk commutes, and fish amok: a year in the life of an Australian volunteer

Water, risk, and sustainability engineer Nicole Locke had always wanted to work overseas but there had never been a good time to do it. She graduated into a difficult job market and was lucky enough to find a position with Water Corporation in Perth. Fast forward a few years to 2019 and Nicole was considering her next move. 

“I was talking to a mentor and she said, you’ve always thought about going overseas and volunteering,” Nicole said. “’Why don’t you just do it?’ I thought—well, why not?” 

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Congratulations to the 2023 EWB Challenge Showcase award winners

Congratulations to the 2023 EWB Challenge Showcase award winners

Each year, the EWB Challenge Showcase brings together top university student teams from across Australia and New Zealand, EWB staff, our community partner representatives, and industry. Students present the most innovative, community-centred design ideas developed in response to the EWB Challenge Design Brief, and all event participants celebrate a year of learning, focused work, and collaboration. This year’s EWB Challenge Showcase saw students, academics, judges, and EWB staff from across Australia, New Zealand and Cambodia travel to James Cook University’s Nguma-bada campus in far north Queensland to battle it out for the top spot.

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Inside the Dili Water System Emergency Repair program

Inside the Dili Water System Emergency Repair program

The Dili Water System Emergency Repair Program (DWSERP) addressed the catastrophic flood damage to Dili’s water transmission systems wreaked by heavy rains in April 2021. The program, funded by the Australian Government via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, commenced in June 2021 and concluded in June 2023. EWB Australia, along with its program partners, played a key role in providing technical support, concept design, advice and delivery of multidisciplinary engineering to repair and stabilise major sections of Dili’s water system. The project was a wonderful opportunity for EWB to display its ability to engage in emergency infrastructure recovery projects. With the project now complete, the project team shared some of their reflections.

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Engineer by profession, engineer in spirit

Engineer by profession, engineer in spirit

Picture this; you’re an undergraduate university student working on your first introductory engineering assignment where you are required to draw a bridge for a remote village in Cambodia. Or you are a Master’s student designing a HVAC system for households in Nepal, with variable temperature, pressure, and elevation levels to consider. University teaches you the basics – the software, the calculations, and how to write the report at the end – but how can you be sure that it’s fit for purpose in those locations? Do you really need to understand the socio-technical and cultural aspects of building something for a community you might never visit?

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‘Impactful Futures’ Immersives return on Lama Lama Country

‘Impactful Futures’ Immersives return on Lama Lama Country

‘Look, listen, learn’ was the mantra of Traditional Owners on Lama Lama Country during EWB’s Impactful Futures Immersive in July, which took participants on a journey through the tropical landscapes and cultural sites of Cape York for a week. By observing and attuning themselves to the sights, sounds and voices around them, participants were able to experience a deep immersion in the culture and history of Lama Lama Country.

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Exploring opportunities for native plants at the ‘Nguluway’ Local Design Summit

Exploring opportunities for native plants at the ‘Nguluway’ Local Design Summit

The cultivation of native grains through careful land management was once central to Aboriginal life. However, following colonisation, the shift to European foods and farming methods damaged native grasslands and reduced biodiversity.

At Nguurruu farm, 40 minutes north of Canberra, Murray Prior is working with Ngambri custodians to implement regenerative farming practices and revive native foods and land management. Farming practices at Nguurruu are informed by Indigenous knowledges and seek to restore biodiversity and reverse ecological damage.

The second iteration of the EWB ACT Chapter’s ‘Nguluway’ Local Design Summit, held earlier this year in collaboration with Nguurruu farm, gave university students and industry professionals a firsthand insight into regenerative farming practices on Country. 

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A climate resilient and community-led solution to sanitation challenges in Vanuatu

A climate resilient and community-led solution to sanitation challenges in Vanuatu

For environmental activist David Kalsal, fishing and swimming in the Emten Lagoon on Vanuatu’s Efate Island has always been a part of local life for him and his family. In recent years however, the lagoon has also become an indicator of how climate change and sanitation challenges are impacting his community.

The Erakor Bridge community lies on the edge of the Emten Lagoon and is home to approximately 200 residents. The community consists of low-lying areas with a high groundwater table, meaning the area is especially vulnerable to cyclones and frequent flooding during periods of heavy rainfall. As a result of flooding and inadequate household sanitation systems, swimming and fishing is no longer safe for the community due to high levels of e.coli bacteria detected in the lagoon. 

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Meet our Futur-neers: Eve Visser

Meet our Futur-neers: Eve Visser

As a high school student, Eve Visser was told by a career advisor that she shouldn’t consider university. However, Eve was determined not to let this dissuade her. She took it as added motivation, going on to receive a scholarship to study at the Australian National University (ANU). Currently in her third year studying Engineering and Science with a major in Climate Science, Eve is passionate about sharing her experiences and knowledge with prospective students. This interest in outreach inspired her to start volunteering with EWB’s ACT Chapter, running workshops to encourage students to pursue a path in engineering.

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Inspiring the next generation of technology stewards with Bentley Systems

Inspiring the next generation of technology stewards with Bentley Systems

An annual STEM outreach event that explores and showcases the opportunities possible in STEM careers brought 60 high-school students from three schools across Victoria together for a series of design challenges in November, 2022. The outreach program known as the Innovation Challenge has been run in Victoria by the EWB Australia University of Melbourne Chapter since 2019. The program engages Year 9 and 10 students, primarily from backgrounds under-represented in STEM, in an in-depth, hands-on socio-technical design challenge.

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