Engineering Organizations Join Humanitarian Project

The project aims to develop sustainable solutions to humanitarian challenges

10 February 2012

Four organizations with worlds of technical expertise have joined the Engineering for Change Project, known as E4C, which seeks to develop technical, locally appropriate, and sustainable solutions to humanitarian challenges.

Founded last year by IEEE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders, E4C now counts the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the Optical Society (OSA) among its supporters.

The initiative is a community of engineering and technology professionals, nongovernmental organizations, and local advocates working together. ASCE, WFEO, SWE, and the OS plan to help in various ways, but much of their initial effort is expected to involve adding content in their respective areas of expertise to the E4C website. The site is currently a repository of reference information on seven areas: water, energy, health, agriculture, sanitation, structures for housing, and information systems. Each section contains case studies, news articles, publications, NGO blogs, upcoming conferences, tools, and other references. Each organization also is expected to raise awareness and interest in E4C through its publications, conferences, and other venues.


ASCE represents more than 140 000 civil engineers. Founded in 1852, it is the oldest national engineering society in the United States. It plans to contribute civil engineering–related content to the E4C website.

WFEO, an international NGO representing more than 15 million engineers, cooperates with professional institutions to develop and apply engineering to resolve issues for the benefit of humanity. The federation plans to post content about the issues it deals with.

SWE, which has about 17 000 members, strives to help women succeed and advance in their field and be recognized for their contributions. The society plans to post humanitarian-related content on the E4C website.

OSA, with more than 130 000 professionals from 175 countries, has worked to advance the optics field since 1916, providing educational resources to scientists, engineers, and business leaders.

Organizations are not the only ones that can participate in the E4C project. The E4C website offers ways for individuals and communities to get involved. You can offer your assistance on the bulletin board, and if your community needs help with a project, you can post information about it there.

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