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
A one-day workshop designed to enhance the understanding of equine draught and harness related issues, is being presented as an in-depth guide .
The outcome of a recent harness related meeting made clear the need and desire for an improved understanding of equine draught harness amongst operational NGO’s working in animal welfare in developing countries.
To further this, a one-day workshop designed to enhance the understanding of equine draught and harness related issues, is being presented.
The venue for this will be at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm in Shropshire, United Kingdom, on the 8th May 2013 between 10am – 4pm.
Open to all vets, veterinary students and NGO’s with an interest in animal welfare, it will consist of an in-depth guide to understanding the principles and dynamics of equine draught, the harness used, its component parts and how they work in relation to the animal.
We will also look at the application of harness to enable optimum draught and harness related injuries, their cause and methods of prevention.
Advice to assist NGO’s in identifying inappropriate harnessing methods or misaligned application of harness will also be offered.
These are just some of the issues to be addressed. If time allows we will look at harnessing animals in multiples and the variations in harness in relation to the task to be undertaken.
‘Without the application of fit-for-purpose apparatus, equine can serve no purpose. They will remain but humble beasts of the field’.
The day will begin with a power-point presentation to illustrate the above and to address other issues of concern. This will be a flexible presentation open to questions and answers as issues arise, taking us through until lunch.
In the afternoon there will be a follow-up, practical demonstration on equine harnessing using the Acton Scott horses/donkey. Much of what was discussed during the morning session will be corroborated.
Simon, the horseman at Acton Scott will be on hand to answer any questions on harness usage and equine handling. Field activities using the horses may also be possible depending upon Simon’s planned farming schedule.
This will be followed by a visit to the wheelwright’s workshop where issues relating to cart/wagon production can be aired.
If you wish to attend this workshop the cost will be £70 per person. Lunch in Acton Scott’s café will be included. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available as required throughout the day. Those interested in attending should apply in advance with cheques being made out to HarnessAid and posted to the address below.
As a gesture to the proposed establishment of a harness development working group to address harness related issues in developing countries, 50% of any proceeds will be held in abeyance to support its much needed formation.
HarnessAid, (Atten. T. Davis.)
c/o. Acton Scott Historic Working Farm,
Wenlock Lodge, Acton Scott,
Shropshire. SY6 6QN,
Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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One of the questions that was asked the other day was whatever happened to the hydrogen economy?
It was a popular subject about a decade ago when it was thought that we would all be powering industry with hydrogen energy but things seemed to have gone very quiet since then. The problem is that the infrastructure change will be huge; it will take lots of money and time to achieve so here we are still waiting. So are there things that we can do now that will work and provide us with clean and convenient energy?
Is locally produced hydrogen on demand a realistic alternative to massive infrastructure development for industrialised economies or could this technology be used for developing economies? Some people are promising this new technology will sidestep some of the difficulties faced by other hydrogen technology. Will innovations such as this make clean energy accessible to everyone on the planet?
Innovation in the energy sector is abundant at the moment but many of these developments are still in the research stage and are some way from becoming used on a large scale. Which technology will win out and make a real impact on a significant scale is hard to tell at this stage.
One of the technologies that is under development, as reported in New Scientist & at EPFL, at the moment is turning solar energy directly into hydrogen without first generating an electrical current using rust as one of the main components. It seems like a strange approach when we are constantly trying to eliminate rust from technologies but a thin layer of iron oxide could be just the thing to generate hydrogen directly from sunlight in a more effective way than the traditional photovoltaic cell and electrical cathode.
Can these technologies be applied to less developed regions of the world? Well, it is too early to tell as they have not been proven in any situation. However we move ahead the demand for energy is on the increase, it enables people to have a better quality of life.
It seems that future energy options are going to be more divers and generally more complicated than they are now.
I was looking at some of these options while editing the book A Handbook of Small-scale Energy Technologies which looks at the more established technologies such as micro hydro and solar thermal technologies. These approaches have been have been tried and tested and can be implemented now with predictable results.
Of course, each technology needs to fit the particular circumstances but a little analysis of any situation will determine what is required. For many the hydrogen economy is a distant future but energy access is much closer.
Practical Answers was recently asked by the Ralphseedway Foundation about organic manure production and the tested evidence for its use in agriculture for farming communities in Nigeria.
Practical Action has successfully used various types or organic composting in various locations, and this is especially useful to farmers who can’t afford more commercial forms of fertilizer, but we would like to get some for scientific evidence as well as the anecdotal feedback that comes through project work.
Does anyone have clear scientific evidence that will help farmers in Nigeria?1 Comment » | Add your comment
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
So after 13 years Practical Action is moving from the AAYMCA Building on State House Crescent off State House Road to a new office block in the leafy suburbs of the city. I hear that the new building will also allow us to enjoy the sights and sounds of the informal – or should I say untamed villages west of the city. I will have to get there and find out.
Just the thought of moving office I am in tormental angst, although it is not immediately evident. I only know because recently I am dreaming in black and white, horror visions causing me to wake up in tears. And you know what they say about a man in tears. My cat Brian has refused his usual breakfast – a mixture of yesterday, today and an alternative proposal of tomorrow’s stew, a menu he has faithfully taken since he moved in with me a number of years ago. Even Thande our old Rottweiler has begun being extremely attaching. I think I am expressing my emotions too openly when I am supposed to be a man – take a hold of yourself mister!
I joined Practical Action about nine years ago. And I liked it. During those days there were about 100 living experts on the available work stations. Everybody seemed busy. I remember that we needed both the second and the third floor of the building to fit everyone. Our office hosted three other organizations; Community Livestock Initiatives Programme (CLIP), International Labour Organization’s Advisory Support Information Services and Training for Employment-Intensive Infrastructure (ILO ASIST) Department; and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN).
There was so much activity at the office that it was like a small town, it even required policing – I guess one of the greatest reasons why “the General” our good watchman at the gate had such a well-defined role. He was always proactively involved in even keeping order not only in the compound but also in our office. Our Director walked about encouraging and motivating staff and residents with a phrase “the struggle continues.” What was evident then and there are traits of it even now, was the passion and drive that kept the organization vibrant. I guess we also made a lot of money then because everyone looked happy – but I digress again.
Fast forward, we have moved to the Methodist Ministries Centre. And I am sad. In fact, I am slowly seeing my ‘waist tires’ grow, my belly hanging and my neck blowing up. We had the hill on State House Avenue to cure this. Now it is good bye England’s rose. I miss the roof top even though it was associated with credulities of the grapevine. I miss the inspiration I always got when I looked at the view of the central business district. I miss how easy it was to simply stroll to the city on the break and back. I simply cannot come to terms with the fact that there is no short-cut to town anymore. Indeed I miss the sense of insecurity we had at the office block that anyone would walk in and out and only stop peremptorily to find directions and not seek permission.
Although we have moved to this uptown neighborhood, I really want to cry. Will we ever get a prettier car park? The trees at the old car park would lavishly and gently paint our cars with flowers; except when one weekend when the most beautiful Acacia Nilotica in the yard faced the detriments of a storm and just gave up the ghost. Much metal and steel was lost in the incident.
Then there is the economics. My accountant – who happens to be the Vice President of my household, tells me that if we are not careful we might be facing a down turn that will see our GDP fall to levels equivalent to those of the great depression. When I married my profit and loss account presented to me an image of progression and profit. My Vision 2015 indicated positive variables with no effect on the principle. It now seems that my advisors were wrong. I now have acquired a new status – “Mrs. Food-Fare Poverty.”
The other day I told myself that just because I am hungry I could sample the eating places in the neighborhood. Afterwards, I spent the whole afternoon in the restroom. The following day I told myself, “It is just a reaction to a new dish.” So I asked a friend to accompany me to the eating joints in the leafy suburb. You can believe it when I say I spent the weekend on my corridor – between my living room and my place of worship. I guess we got so used to the germs in our old neighborhood that we became immune to the ailments. It is all in the process of natural selection and our own evolution.
My new genetic make-up will have to live without the monotonous Mama-party dishes, Migingo Island assortment menu and the watery stew and greens of the church bunker. As a new species I will have to adapt to climate change in the form of the comfort of the loo (did I just say loo?), move from the watery boily and fatty to the hotty, spicy, hygienic lifestyle.
Although I miss the AAYMCA building and we all have to embrace the new culture and living, the new office package does not come with the freedoms I had. I will have to spend more on my second life. Otherwise as Jay Asher says in Thirteen Reasons why, “You can’t stop the future; you can’t rewind the past; the only way to learn the secret…is to press play.” I rest my case.No Comments » | Add your comment
First of all I must confess that I got over excited a few months ago. I had promised myself that I would request to host the next celebrity visitor we got to our office. And I had been granted my wish even though this was not ‘the’ celebrity I was expecting.
When I was informed that I was going to accompany Jamie Oliver to visit our projects in Kenya, I immediately read “The Naked Chef,” a show on BBC. I even started to think about all the recipes I would learn from him, all the ‘Return to School Diners’ I would be experimenting on during the visit and probably be a graduate of ‘Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals.’ In any case this was a dream come true.
I remember my anxiety, the sweat on my face; the dark smudge under my armpits; and my dry mouth. I thought, would I just say ‘hi,’ or just ‘Welcome to Kenya Jamie.’ Would I bow with my left or right knee? Would I smile when they take the pictures or would I just be official? Would I plough in to his chest with my already musty abdomen or would I just stretch out my hand?
And shamefacedly I had announced to everyone during an official update session at the office that I would be travelling the country with a celebrity, who was, in fact a cook! I could see the grin on most of my colleagues’ faces burning with envy. I was going to have an experience of a lifetime and of course learn from the best.
When I ‘Googled’ him, I found a face – a handsome dude in his late thirties. In fact in his pink background website (pink?), I found out that he was more than just a cook; which in essence meant that I would be chatting up a man with diversity in his experience. (This, I like). You can now see how baited-breath-eyes-out I was as I waited for him at the Lodwar airstrip. I was experiencing bouts of movie-like dreams and visions during the day and night in expectation.
I was expecting to see a guy carrying a full suitcase, a horde of camera crew and a thin-looking tall female escort. Of course I did not expect him to have hauled his pans and ladles with him from the UK to Turkana – a remote hot and dusty region in beautiful Kenya. I never knew how thoroughly embarrassed I would be.
My jaw dropped when I met the handsome young man – a little thinner than the guy in my fantasy. And yes, I got the experience of a lifetime. My mouth went dry for days afterwards and I could not tell why. My speech was affected. The Jamie I hosted was not the Jamie who cooks and writes. This Jamie is quiet and it is contagious. This was my celebrity. I have never recovered.1 Comment » | Add your comment
In these straitened times, many of us are planning a more low key Christmas this year. The good news is that recent research has discovered that what most people want from this festival is to “spend Christmas reconnecting with the things and people that matter most to them.” Early planning is vital where thrift is concerned and while Christmas is a time for fun and indulgence, it doesn’t have to cost huge amounts of money.
I was surprised to discover how helpful Practical Action could be in providing ideas for gifts to make myself! Practical Answers, our online database of technical information, has a wealth of information on all sorts of foodstuffs. Browsing through the section on food processing, I was inspired by the possibilities. I think I might make some elegantly labeled jars of green mango or lime pickle or perhaps some lime marmalade?
If I’m feeling more adventurous I might try smoking some salmon, curing bacon or making some snacks like banana chips. I even found some tips for designing my packaging and labels. There’s plenty of rather more complicated guidance for those with carpentry skills (definitely not me) who would like to build a woodworking bench or a simple solar drier to preserve next year’s surplus produce from your garden or allotment? I think I might play it safe and stick with something simpler like making some candles, always popular gifts. Why not give some of these a go yourself? Do let us know how you get on.
All this information has, of course, been compiled primarily for the benefit of people in developing countries, and quantities are often for small scale commercial enterprise. I thought I might try making pineapple jam, but will have to do some maths first as 158 kg of pineapples might be rather too many!
Have a browse through the list of technical information online to get an idea of the wealth of knowledge that Practical Action has amassed over 44 years. The website has information on more than 200 different technologies. And it is practical information that is helping people all over the developing world to develop skills and to launch enterprises that will lift their families out of poverty.
More than 1.5 million information sheets were downloaded last year and Practical Action staff worldwide responded to 9,700 individual enquiries on technical subjects. This is the practical application of EF Schumacher’s philosophy: “The best aid to give is intellectual aid, a gift of useful knowledge. A gift of knowledge is infinitely preferable to a gift of material things.”
I’m hoping this Christmas will be a chance for my family to focus on these simple pleasures rather than spending large amounts on ‘must have’ presents. Putting my time and effort into making gifts for my loved ones will, I’m certain, be time well spent. Now how about a glass of banana beer?No Comments » | Add your comment
I arrived home from 17 days in Bangladesh at 9.30 pm last night.
It was a brilliant trip, great to see Practical Action on the ground, the positive impacts our work is having on the lives of some of the poorest people in the world, to speak with our effective, and often inspirational, staff and to hear about how our knowledge sharing work is taking the benefits of our work to many millions more. The multiplier effect – leveraging every ounce of benefit from our work to the benefit of poor communities.
We do a great job and we should be proud.
But as I try and capture my impressions I am also left with the sense of so much need. The expressionless faces of the girl textile workers plodding into factories, the beggars some with obviously drugged babies, the people living in make shift tents by the side of the road – the black plastic covering ripped by rain and storms. Conversations about extremely high malnutrition in children –the figure quoted was nearly 50% – and the already felt impacts if climate change.
Together – Communities, Practical Action, and our supporters – we are doing great things – helping people make a living, get enough food to eat, access clean water, decent sanitation – but we also have to be humble and say we are not doing enough.
That’s not to down play our vital work but returning home to my healthy family, my safe home, my brilliant job the contrast is extreme.
While in Bangladesh we had a meeting where the Dhaka based team sought to share Practical Action’s learning with others and to learn from other NGOs. Care, Action Aid, IRRI (International Rice Research Institute), World Fish Centre etc. were there.
One guy who came to the meeting was A. Atiq Rahman – he was amazing, inspirational. Look him up on Google and you get a sense of how fortunate we were to have him there. Brilliant that he is a friend of Practical Action. He spoke of how in the late 70s we believed we could change the world and now with the impact and wisdom of age we look for smaller steps. Of how those small steps are vital but not enough – we still need to change the world but no longer have confidence in how. Politics being by the nature of democratic terms of office, the art of language not action and short not long term views.
Practical Action believes that we have to change the world. We believe 100% that the work we are doing to make people’s lives better is vital but we also believe that we need to find a way to deliver technology justice.
My reflection on my visit to Bangladesh is that change is complex but can happen. What’s great about Practical Action is our work but also our vision, our values and inspiration.
Schumacher in Small is Beautiful – to paraphrase said – we need to act to protect our world, to find meaning and a quality of life more fulfilling than consumerism, to find a new way of doing development – and when asked who should lead he said – each and every one of us whether rich or poor, young or old powerful or powerless – to talk about the future is only useful if it leads to action now.
My overall reflection on my visit to Bangladesh is to echo Schumacher !2 Comments » | Add your comment
A new report published today suggests that up to 1.6 million people in Zimbabwe will require food aid next year. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/aug/01/zimbabwe-food-shortages-aid
This is an appalling position to be in. Zimbabwe used to be Southern Africa’s breadbasket – producing and exporting food but a combination of poor rainfalls and political turmoil have reduced their output dramatically. The problems are exacerbated by a lack of skills, inputs and knowledge by farmers, all of which reduces productivity.
The response form the international development world to Zimbabwe’s downfall has been slightly mixed. The big agencies like USAID, World Bank and others, who I met recently in Harare, want to see an emphasis on support to commercial farmers. They think that, if they can get the export market up and running, some of the income will trickle down to the 1.6 million – who have very few resources.
Practical Action believes strongly in working with those in immediate need – who may own only one cow or a goat. Helping them to make the most of their meagre resources, gives them a safety net and an ability to take their own choices. This is what we mean by a hand up and not a hand out. Our podcasting work, for example, helps people to tackle disease and get the best form their livestock. We are also working to get people access to clean water and better sanitation.
On reading the new report my thoughts are with the women I recently met. I wonder what their fate will be, come January and February next year when the problems are due to be at their worst.1 Comment » | Add your comment
The Secretary General of the FAO came to Harare today. According to the papers his most important message was that Zimbabwe should be seeking local solutions to local problems.
This echoes a meeting I had with the FAO just a couple of days back. FAO are excited about our podcasting work. They are currently funding the creation of a post-harvest handbook for farmers and extension workers in the local Nbele language. Now we are talking about breaking down that manual into audio chunks – podcasts – which can be played to the local communities.
Our meeting got exciting as I started to think about the Practical Answers website becoming a repository for podcasts in local languages from throughout the Southern African region. Part of our project is to capture the local knowledge – in danger of being lost as older generations die out. If we could harness the power of all our partner NGOs to capture this knowledge – upload it and then share it we could reach hundreds of thousands of people. To make the project sustainable we could even create a subscription service where NGOs and others contribute to the costs of the service but the information is made freely available to the people who need it.
We’ll see how this one develops but it’s another sign of how powerful our knowledge sharing service already is, but also what the potential for further growth is.No Comments » | Add your comment