Engineers Without Borders Youth Venture Project

Yesterday we had our first introductory lesson with Ilakkiyan and Christopher about our project for this term.  It’s called the Youth Venture program and it’s run by Engineers Without Borders (EWB), which is an organization made up of UBC students.


Ilakkiyan                                                                                                    Christopher

Here is the link UBC EWB

When they came yesterday, they told us about their organization and what they do.  They go around and help people but they do it in a specific way.  Instead of dropping off 1,000 bottles of water and making a band-aid solution, they work on long term solutions and go to the communities they are working with and help the people learn about their situation and ask for their advice because they’re the people and it needs to work for them.  Instead, they might install a water pump and teach the people to use it and then stay there to make sure it works in their culture.

They showed us an example of a play pump, which the engineers designed, where the kids were supposed to play with a carousel and this would work a well to draw water to a containment centre where the water could be used for farms.  Engineers Without Borders thought it was a good idea because it took the power of play and helped everyone to stay alive with water. It turned out not to work because the culture had different roles for kids and the adults ended up using the pump and it was built for kids.  Maybe instead they could have used a machine instead!

We gave examples of band-aid solutions and long term solutions and talked about systems thinking, but we’re not quite sure what that means yet.  It was like dipping our toes in, because when the project emerges, we’ll learn more about it.


The Youth Venture Program will have us working in groups to look at problems and solutions and the Engineers Without Borders will be our mentors to help us push our group project forward.

Over this term, they will be doing weekly check-ins and lessons with us as well as just learning with them, we will be learning with Jody and Tami and Karim when he gets back and we will send them updates of our ideas so they can analyse them and think of way for us to learn.

Today, we worked with their questions and thought about unmet needs in our school and community.  We identified the difference between a need and a want.


We are looking forward to more of these kinds of activities!

by snapshot1178 and chief blobfish


One comment

  1. Youth Venture UBC

    Hi everyone!

    This was a great post and all of us here at Youth Venture are incredibly excited to work with you. Your enthusiasm, your drive and your ability to think critically about complex issues is inspiring – Division 17 and 18, you guys rock.

    Seeing the pictures Jody sent us of your brainstorming sessions was great – and we’re so happy to hear that you’re all as excited as we are.

    Here’s to all of you and all the projects that lay ahead!

    Chris and Ilakkiyan

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