The poor not only die young – they also suffer most

February 21st, 2010

This year, I am completing 25 years working for the poor. My first assignment, as a fresh engineer in 1985, was to survey 80 remote villages in a low income country – villages where 100% of children go to madressahs and 100% of mothers deliver their babies at home. There were no schools, no hospitals, no electricity and no roads.

The government engineers were supposed to build water sources and sanitation services in those villages. This was funded by a UN organization and designed by highly-qualified professionals overseas. The work was supposed to be already completed and my task was to verify this and prepare a report. When I visited these villages, to my surprise not much work was completed and some which was completed was irrelevant to the needs of the poor. Remembering this, it is clear that the poor not only die young but they also suffer most.

The role of young engineers is often more complicated and beyond the physical planning and designs. Practical Action is keen to work with young professionals and aims to build their capacity in pro-poor engineering.

Dr Mansoor Ali
International Projects Manager, Practical Action

Is there a role for external technical support in the Community-Led Total Sanitation Approach? – paper delivered at the Annual Research Conference, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), London

One response to “The poor not only die young – they also suffer most”

  1. Joe Says:

    As a young engineer myself, it’s really good to hear that you are so keen to work with people like me.

    For my part, I can only say that I think there are many people out there like myself, who have useful knowledge but seemingly no way of actually applying it in a way that benefits the poor. All too often the only open door on the completion of one’s studies, is the door of a multinational company.

Leave a reply