About the Global Dimension in Engineering Education project
Global Dimension in Engineering Education, a cross-cutting initiative placing development education into technology studies is a EuropeAid project which aims to stimulate the introduction of education for development in European Universities. This project will impact positively on the attitudinal values and skills of students in relation to sustainable human development (SHD). This is being dealt with by integrating SHD as a cross-cutting issue in teaching activities through a two-fold strategy. Its first objective is to improve the competences of academics to enable them to introduce SHD into the curricula and facilitating the engagement of both staff and students in academic initiatives related to SHD.
Objective of the award
There is little doubt about the role that higher education may play in efforts to promote and achieve sustainable human development. One challenge is a shortage of academics actively engaged in promoting measures related to SHD in teaching activities. The objective of this award is to identify current best practice for the integration of sustainable human development in technology/engineering education. The award is part of a wider European project looking at improving the integration of human development issues into technology studies/engineering education.
There will be 3 awards of €3.000 (before taxes). The tax will depend on each individual situation. The awarded person must be the main author of the work.
Your submission will outline how sustainable human development has been integrated into the applicants teaching. The applicant’s works will be of a theoretical or applied character and can be, but not limited to, one of the following types:
- Innovative methods for integrated SHD into the curriculum
- Converting existing experiences in development education into technology /engineering studies.
- Making materials for the integration of SHD available to the Academic Community.
- Innovative methods for the support and supervision of a PhD Thesis, Master Thesis, Bachelor Thesis, or equivalent.
- The main applicant must hold an academic post at a European University (for example if the work is the supervision of a thesis, Master Thesis it is the academic supervisor that should apply).
- A team can also participate: in this case the principle applicant must be an academic at a University.
- All the participants accept the conditions of the award and the publication of the awarded works.
- The teachers or researchers included in the Organizing Committee, Academic Committee or in the Global Dimension in Engineering Eduction project may not participate in the award.
- The deadline is July 18th 2013.
- Modality one: Individual applicant or small teams with one principle applicant (for example within a department)
- Modality two: Institutional application (university), (only one proposal per institution is accepted)
Documents to be presented
The candidates will fulfil an on line application form available on:
The on line application form will include:
- Summary of the work (maximum 5 pages).
- Any other relevant documents related to the work: paper, book, PhD thesis, Master Thesis
- A short CV of the principle applicant (maximum 2 pages).
- Covering letter.
- Letter of reference from the university (in the case of Institutional award modality).
The Academic Committee will select the best three works based on the previous evaluation of one NGO and one University institution, based on the following criteria:
- Quality of the work, including coherence and sustainability.
- Impact of the work on the academic activities of the European Universities. A high number of students and teachers in the institutions will be a merit for this criterion.
- Innovation of the work, including novel educational aspects.
Organizing and Academic Committees
This award is organized by the Global Dimension EuropeAid project. The institutions involved in this project are:
Universities: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Loughborough University, Università degil Studi di Trento (UNITN).
NGOs: ONGAWA, Ingeniería para el Desarrollo Humano (Engineering for Human Development), Practical Action, Engineers Without Borders (EWB-UK), Training Centre for International Cooperation (TCIC).
The Academic committee is made up of one member from each one of the institutions (Universities and NGOs) that participate in this project. These members have experience in education for development in Technological / Engineering Universities.
Please, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding this award.No Comments » | Add your comment
The past week has seen heated debate over the future of investment in agriculture. At the heart of the mudslinging lies the question ‘what can the New Alliance for Security and Nutrition really offer Africa?’ As detailed in my last blog the New Alliance certainly has big aims – lifting 50 million people out of poverty no less. To do this the New Alliance is advocating partnership with the private sector, new technologies and investment. However, critics of this new development power house are drawing less than flattering comparisons between the actions of the alliance and the land grabbing/colonial ambitions of 19th century western powers. For those with little faith in alliances between government and the private sector the New Alliance brings unjustified risk to smallholder farmers and the environment generally. They fear it will lead to a decline in water resources, soil fertility, biodiversity and access by the rural poor to the natural resources on which they depend. Each camp insists that they are right and are asking or demanding that the other withdraw. Listening to the debate, there appears to be no compromise or middle ground.
Without a more constructive discussion we will simply get more of the same, with neither side listening to the other. Opportunities for investment and expansion of large-scale external input based agriculture will inevitably continue to be explored, particularly in high-potential areas. Policy makers and governments will continue to plan for agricultural growth as a strategy for food security and development. Donor supported, and encouraged, private sector based agriculture programmes will continue – the private sector window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), the New Alliance, etc. Multinational private sector seed suppliers will have an ever increasing market share with protected rights. There will be a continued decline in the use of local seeds and of biodiversity.
So where does that leave us?
The tension currently lies in the contrasting responses to a genuine problem that is recognised by both sides: How to achieve food security at all levels – of rural households, of the growing urban poor population, nationally and globally. The argument is between commercial and external input oriented approaches, versus farmer owned agro-ecological approaches that see agriculture as more than business. Both approaches exist in practice. Both can quote success stories and have advocates. Both have momentum.
Both narratives claim to include smallholders and provide the needed food security and nutrition benefits. All the buzz words are there – women farmers, adaptation to climate change, livelihoods, income, jobs, achieving scale. With our experience to date I find the claims to be quite wondrous – like the miracle cure medicines of the past.
And whilst it would be possible to continue with the status quo for now, the current situation is not without dangers. There is, for example, evidence that government backed external input intensive, large-scale agriculture will have a damaging impact on smallholder opportunities, the sustainability of the food system and the physical environment
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are likely to ask that “none are left behind” and call for the elimination of extreme poverty by 2030. Experience has shown that this is a tall order – a very challenging task. We should not treat it glibly and make over ambitious assumptions – like trickle down poverty reduction coming from agricultural growth and increased production by agri-business.
As a technology based organisation Practical Action recognises that there can be diverse approaches to solving this problem, each with its own risks and merits and situations where it would be most appropriate, or not.
Practical Action believes that an understanding of ‘Appropriate Technology’ and ‘Technology Justice’ can provide a constructive way forward that will also include and address the needs of small-scale farmers, the rural poor and people living in fragile environments.
The objective is to achieve appropriate technology for choice, market systems that provide opportunities for small-scale farmers and the poor and a means of achieving scale, and the capacity for all farmers to adapt to climate change and develop resilient livelihoods.
A range of methods for achieving these objectives exists – i.e. to facilitate appropriate technology and development processes and achieve technology justice. Applications include:
- Facilitating innovation systems that build the capacity of farmers to adapt to change, such as fluctuating food prices and other markets, climate change and increasing variability, and to increase resilience to disasters
- Participatory Market Systems Development (PMSD) to facilitate pro-poor markets – to help small-scale farmers and other value chain stakeholders make markers work for the poor.
With understanding and empowerment, appropriate technology can provide sustainable benefits for smallholders, the rural poor and people dependent on the natural resources in low potential areas. With appropriate technology, small-scale farmers can make a substantial contribution to national food security and nutrition. They can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, and rural urban migration need not be exacerbated by rural poverty.
Our objective should be the appropriate development of rural areas, including marginal areas, so that all people living in rural areas are able to look after themselves, have the opportunity to improve their livelihoods – in or out of agriculture. It not only makes sense, but it is our moral obligation, to assist small-scale producers maximise their contribution to national food systems – for their benefit, as well as for others.1 Comment » | Add your comment
The Royal Society describes itself as ‘a Fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence’. So going to a RS event ‘The post-2015 development agenda: what do civil society and policymakers want from science?’ I was looking forward to hearing the contribution science can make to poverty reduction and a sustainable world.
I have to say I was disappointed. My take away from the meeting was that science believes it can offer the scientific methodology to development. Not sure that’s so great. Let me explain why.
The week before I had met someone from a very large UK based charity who spoke of applying randomize control methodologies to a project in Africa (the scientific methodology?). One village got lots of ‘things’ and support, the other village got nothing (moreover other charities were discouraged from going to help as they would have ‘ruined the control’). All villagers were interviewed every 2 weeks – families were short on time as making a living was so hard but willing to help as they understood their experience may help others. 36 interviews per family. At the end of the 18 month trial period the stuff the charity did was a proven success but the mega donor had moved on. Lots of good will was lost (between the community and the charity) and the charity felt bad for treating people like guinnie pigs!
Sorry to be so vague but I promised not to give her identity away.
In the real world influence is quite complicated. Development on the other hand is quite clear – it has to start with people. It’s about solidarity, relationships, working together, vision. It’s also about doing things that work.
Science too has lots to offer if it also starts with people – I expected to hear about innovation, sharing ideas, open source technology, medical breakthrough, etc. I also anticipated learning more about the most recent scientific response to climate change – which the post 2015 working group – jointly chaired by David Cameron accepts is happening and that 4 degree warming is a likely outcome – disastrous for many poor communities.
Come on scientists don’t be dull. Have vision – help change the world!
Ps I love the topics in the Royal Society Summer Exhibition – not sure why no one talked about any of them.4 Comments » | Add your comment
Each year for one week our international directors come together to reflect on the year just gone and plan for the future, today was the first day of our 2013 meeting.
We celebrated approval from the government of Bangladesh for our call centre which should reach more than 50,000 poor farmers (it’s a standard rate call –as opposed to a number of very premium help lines – and mobiles are now wide spread in Bangladesh), our first ever funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and most importantly, directly helping over 700,000 people in the first year of our new strategy.
We also looked at issues – the most predominant being the political turbulence in the countries where we work – the split into two countries in Sudan, the elections in Kenya which thankfully passed without major violence, and the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe. Funding is also an issue with many big donors now looking for private sector organisations – PWC, KPMG etc. now run big development projects – great for project management but sometimes less great for closeness to the poor people themselves.
What struck me most today, however, was the commitment and passion for poverty reduction of the people I work with. Being with a group of people who want to make a practical and substantial difference and who have the expertise and skills to do it is inspirational.
Week long meetings are not my thing but being with a great group of ‘experts’ is always a joy.1 Comment » | Add your comment
I am really pleased to see the UK Government and G8 focus on food and agriculture and to be invited by DFID to consult on the initiative. This focus is needed to strengthen the resilience and productivity of all farmers to meet the food and nutrition needs of themselves and the growing population.
I am anxious about what the DFID event (Promoting African Agriculture – The New Alliance for Security and Nutrition) will bring.
- Will it motivate investment in sustainable agriculture at all levels – smallholder farmers to large-scale agri-business?
- Will it enable smallholders to invest and grow their agricultural livelihoods, or will it just benefit the multinationals and big business?
Smallholders are key to success
You may ask, why the preoccupation with smallholder farmers? Simple:
- They produce food where it is needed.
- They depend on the natural environment for their food and income.
- They have the potential to significantly increase their production and livelihoods using existing affordable and environmentally sound technologies – i.e. tried and tested ‘appropriate technologies’
- They can, and should be, a major pillar of sustainable agricultural growth and global food security.
In Africa smallholder farmers tend to comprise a very important part of the national food production system and economy in most countries. Transformation of smallholder farming should be an important part of the solution to providing food security and improved nutrition.
Governments are responsible for creating an enabling environment for all agri-business. Care should be taken to not increase the vulnerability of smallholders through ‘quick fix’ reforms designed to incentivise large-scale private sector investment – such as new policy, rules and systems that affect access to land, seed supply, biodiversity and the intellectual property rights. The enabling environment needs to protect and promote the ability of smallholders to develop and improve their farming through innovation and experimentation – a vital mechanism for step-wise adaptation to climate change.
The UK and G8 should meet their commitments
I think the UK and G8 should meet their commitment to spend 0.7% GNI on aid and this should include support for public expenditure within nationally owned agricultural investment plans. These plans should include:
- Support for smallholder farmers for whom ‘low external input’ farming systems can produce significant improvements in food and income security.
- Development of local markets and programmes to support smallholders and agri-business engagement with the markets.
- Support and finance to help communities to adapt to climate change.
So here’s hoping for some realistic commitments to support smallholder farming as part of the solution to food security, nutrition and sustainable economic growth in Africa.
Can the UK, G8, African Governments and private sector work together to promote diverse and dynamic rural economies which enable smallholders to adapt to climate change and generate viable livelihoods from their farming? What do you think?
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Do you believe that everyone has the right to a decent quality of life, no matter where they live?
At Practical Action we do.
We believe that everyone has the right to technologies that enable them to lead a live they value, as long as that does not harm others now or in the future.
We recently held a competition among our staff to find some of the best images we have illustrating what we are doing to make technology justice a reality in the developing world.
We had some amazing entries, the best of which we have put together in the short Youtube video below. We hope you like them.
If you want to find out more about our work and technology justice please visit our website.
For some great teaching resources which help students and look at their own needs and wants in relation to technology, and explore their feelings around technology justice please look at our schools material. They include a top trumps style activity where technologies are given a technology justice rating.No Comments » | Add your comment
The report we at Practical Action have been waiting for, along with the rest of the development community, people interested in poverty reduction, politicians, some business people etc. is here.
The high level panel has spoken. And what they say is good.
Their vision is to
‘End poverty in all its forms and in the context of sustainable development and to have in place the building blocks of sustained prosperity for all’
They start by stressing the need to build on what has been achieved through the Millennium Development Goals, they acknowledge the massive impact of climate change, have consulted with poor people, civil society, business leaders etc., see the important role technology can play yet understand that it’s not a ‘silver bullet’ and they stress the need for a move from vision to action.
I was reminded of Fritz Schumacher’s credo – to talk about the future is useful only if it leads to action now.
Moreover the call ‘for no one to be left behind’ is excellent, building on a critique of the Millennium Development Goals – where there was seen to be an emphasis on lifting those easiest to reach out of poverty and leaving those most chronically impacted untouched. It also speaks to issues of gender and disability.
There are concerns, many of which they themselves acknowledge.
Moving from vision to action – the goals will be monitored but not binding. The risk is that we will do what is easy but avoid those actions which are difficult and/or call for a change in the lifestyles of the rich ‘Despite all the rhetoric about alternative energy sources, fossil fuels still make up 81% of global energy production – unchanged since 1990’ And yet we have levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere probably at the highest level for more than 800,000 years. Does that suggest a world willing to take tough action?
Tackling inequality – ‘of all the goods and services consumed in the world each year the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty only account for 1% of it, while the richest billion consume 72%’ Inequality is growing .
And fundamentally what does ‘sustained prosperity for all mean’? A US type consumer lifestyle for possibly 9 billion people? Id like to think we want something more for our world.
The report could never deliver everything. An acceptable blue print for the future of our world that delivered the High Level Panel’s vision was never possible. What we have are foundations we can build on. And it’s now time to build – the next phase is consulting, debating, refining etc.
Let’s not be glass half empty, let’s be glass half full and with genuine effort and goodwill let’s work – each and every one of us – to build a better future and to achieve a vision.
It’s a report, unlikely to save the world, but it’s a good step forward.
As always I have to emphasise that these are my personal views. Sitting here at my desk on a gorgeous Friday evening I feel in a good frame of mind for a beautiful English weekend. These are my views – so share yours.
MargaretNo Comments » | Add your comment
I will finish the report on my visit to Nepal – distracted again by great people and needing to write a blog!
I am still writing up my notes of all the people I interviewed when I was in Nepal. Every scribbled interview I read – listening, talking, writing and balancing a pad all at the same time didn’t help my scrawl – reminds me of the great work Practical Action’s doing and how we are helping thousands of people help themselves.
From the waste picking group where we have worked on everything from safety equipment, through to getting children into school, to dairy farming and peoples whose lives have been transformed by happy cows (well fed, clean cow sheds, high quality milk).
There was the village where years ago we had worked to bring water to the community, helped improve agriculture, improved bee keeping etc. and where I turned up unannounced (it being too late and me too slow to walk miles to the village where we had helped install electricity) but even so the community were pleased to see me, happy to talk about our work – And where everything was still in perfect working order maintained by the community because they had such a strong sense of ownership and recognised how valuable Practical Action’s help was to them.
However even with all the good things, still what remains with me most was the interview I did with a child picking waste – and my crass question – ‘what’s your favourite toy?’ – I meant to ask about playing games not toys. His response ‘I don’t have any toys, I’ve never had a toy’ touched me deeply. It cut through my shell all the years of working in development had built up.
I was so pleased to learn that his family was part of our project with the waste picking community – and that through it he was able to go to school. So sad that even though the project is doing fantastic work – his father had made the difficult decision that the boy’s younger sister had to continue working and couldn’t also attend school.
There is so much that can be done and so much need to do more.
The boys sister was nick named ‘smiley’!
Let’s celebrate the great things that together we are doing and remember the real people and how their stories urge us – urge me – to do more.No Comments » | Add your comment
Recently we had a meeting with a highly respected, investigative journalism programme at the BBC. The idea was to find out what they were interested in and ways we could work together. The feedback was interest in any scandals, particularly if involved corruption, sex and/or children and in the wake of the factory disaster in Bangladesh anything on seriously abusive trade linked to UK companies. To be honest we weren’t that impressed – any channel will do sex and scandal – we hoped the BBC with its clear public sector remit would want to look at vital issues not covered by others. (Of course they often do which is why we were hoping for more)
But if you want stories of child abuse and trade – there are plenty around.
Years ago when I worked in fair trade I was taken to a remote village in The Philippines where small kids who looked as young as 7, worked on powered circular saws to cut out the tiny components for costume jewellery. I was told that young children were used as their fingers were nimble – but they had no protective equipment and the risk of accidents was very high. Personally I would have lost fingers in minutes!
I talked to buyers in the shops whose labels were attached to the jewellery when I got back to the UK – big brand names – and had the normal response ‘we will do something about it but the supply chain is difficult, our subcontractor contracted out, who then contracted out – but we will sort it’
In the UK we don’t hear as much push for fair trade now – at one level that’s because it’s become more integrated (in my view at often a pretty basic level) into mainstream business. Also because there are less organisations shouting about it! Personally I’m all for insider engagement (working together with people) backed up by public pressure (the shouty bit – or the news bit – or the lovely grannies buying and selling fair trade products and telling others why it’s so important)
In the last week I also read a Guardian piece basically saying that while the sweat shops in Bangladesh are appalling, for many women they are the best option available by far! This was so sad; however it ties in with my experience. When I visited at the end of last year the procession of young women heading for the clothing factories looked despondent, depressed, girls with no life in their eyes – the idea of the day being so crushing – yet when you talked to people there was little else available – and for many women these jobs were prized as a way to feed their families.
We need fair trade!
We also need technology Justice!
We need a fairer world!
But I don’t think my exclaiming will make it happen.
So on reflection I’d like the BBC to talk more about fair trade and why changing the way we do business is vital, I’d also like them to talk about technology and the way our technology choices impact on society, I’d like them to talk about positive solutions to poverty (the good news stories we so rarely hear) but above all I’d like them to be brave – use the public sector remit as its meant – to tell different stories, stories that need to be heard – of course do it in an engaging way. The BBC is great – they can do it!
As with all blogs – a personal view! And I do love the BBC!No Comments » | Add your comment
In North Darfur, we are running a project of low smoke stoves, funded by Carbon Clear. It is benefiting thousands of families in that arid region who now have a clean kitchens, clean lungs and more money to spend on essentials. The project is also helping the environment because the stoves produce less carbon emissions.
Carbon credits delivering sustainable development
It is the first ever carbon credit programme to be registered in Sudan, registered by Gold Standard Foundation, so it is generating carbon credits to deliver more sustainable development in that region.
Climate change – people in Sudan are paying the price
Sudan is a country severely affected by the climate change. People there are paying the price for the actions of other people that contribute to climate change. As a result, most of these people are obliged to adapt their lives accordingly. But this project goes beyond adaptation.
How? Because these people are mitigating carbon emissions in a similar way to the way blue chip companies ought to be ; but here they are acting voluntarily; reducing emissions from their daily cooking activities, and playing another role of offsetting by greening the deserts through what we call community forests.
Such good work and hearted wills and spirits are getting paid instantly in the form of:
- better health;
- cleaner kitchens;
- saved income;
- less time collecting fuel and more spare time to take part in social activities.
Of course, there are also positive impacts on the environment!No Comments » | Add your comment