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Community Approach

EWB Australia’s work in communities currently spans four countries across the Asia-Pacific and Australia.

In collaboration with local partner organisations, EWB Australia focuses on working with disadvantaged communities in-country to assist them in gaining access to the knowledge, resources, skills and appropriate technologies needed to achieve their community priorities. 

Together we strive to facilitate meaningful and lasting change through partnerships and community engagement, capacity-building, professional skills development and appropriate technical solutions development. 

Our History of Community Engagement

EWB’s international program began in 2006 with our first overseas volunteer placement in Nepal. Since then, our community development approach has primarily been focused on skilled volunteer placements with overseas partner organisations (the ‘placement’ approach) to strengthen the technical skills and capacity of local technical staff and communities.

In 2014, EWB piloted a new ‘project’ approach, where EWB leads the project and facilitates a number of different partners to strengthen skills and knowledge across the sector. In addition, EWB has facilitated professional and design skills development initiatives to supplement technical skills development, through application of university and industry design challenges and internships.

People, Projects and Partnerships

Underpinning both the ‘placement’ and ‘project’ approaches is working with partner organisations who in turn work directly with community. We call this approach the ‘3Ps’: People, Projects and Partnerships.

EWB Australia’s model aims to support partners with established strong relationships with community, indirectly supporting community outcomes through supporting partner organisations’ capacity.

Our Foundation Principles

Underpinning our work are four guiding tenets.


Two-way knowledge sharing and capacity building.


Working with partners who have long-term, respected relationships with community.


The technical thematic areas within which we work are based on universal rights to water, sanitation, energy and shelter.


Ensuring we only work on community-centred and community-identified priorities.

Our Cross-cutting Principles

EWB Australia’s cross-cutting principles guide our approach and set expectations of how we work with community.

 Capacity & Skills Development

Through developing and strengthening the skills, abilities, processes and resources of people and communities, we enable the people themselves to lead and drive the change they want to see in their communities. This provides people with the opportunity to create the long-lasting, sustainable change needed to adapt and thrive in a changing world.

Diversity & Inclusion

Everyone has the right to be included and feel safe without distinction of gender, ability, race, social standing, religion, age or other status. We aim to enable appropriate solutions and accelerate inclusive sustainable development for the creation of a more community-centred, sustainable, inclusive world.

Child Protection

We have a responsibility for the welfare of children and young people impacted by our work. Children have the right to feel safe. 

Environmental Sustainability

The environment affects the quality of life of all human beings, the diversity of life on earth, and the earth’s ecosystems. We need to improve and preserve our environment without compromising the quality of life of future generations. We strive to address the immediate needs of our communities without compromising the needs of future generations. Along with our people, our planet is our most valuable resource.

Economic Sustainability

Economic sustainability and sustainable human-centred engineering initiatives rely on robust financial and social capital investments, which decrease risk and increase the ability to scale. Economic sustainability satisfies human needs in a manner that creates a financial, resource-rich (both physical and social) future, without jeopardising future generations. We support impactful, collectively owned, financially sustainable initiatives.

EWB Australia’s overseas programs are supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). EWB Australia partners with the Australian Volunteer Program to recruit and place our Field Professionals.