The overall competition winner was TIDE, a menstrual tool kit concept which also includes a pad washing system, to help those in refugee camps
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‘Where There Is No Engineer’ (WTINE) is a design initiative co-ordinated by the Development Technology in the Community (DTC) Research Group in DIT together with Engineers Without Borders Ireland.

Engage young engineers and scientists to design creative solutions to development challenges globally


The programme is funded by Irish Aid and the EU and aims to engage young engineers and scientists to design creative solutions to development challenges globally. Participants are challenged to apply their research in a developing country to create change and find opportunities to improve resilience within communities.

Recent data from the UN shows that more than 68.5 million people worldwide are forced into leaving their homes due to climate change, war, persecution or economic reasons. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said recently: “We are at a watershed, where success in managing forced displacement globally requires new and far more comprehensive approaches.”

Forced migration is possibly the greatest global challenge for this and future generations, and this formed the theme for this year’s competition.

Outstanding undergraduate and professional teams were invited to participate in the national finals, which took place on June 9 in DIT Grangegorman. Six teams were selected from various Irish universities and institutes of technologies.

Difficult and complicated personal story of seeking asylum in Europe


The topic was brought to life with a first-hand report from Peter Kifle, who shared his journey from Eritrea, which started in 2002, to make his way to Europe as a refugee. He shared his difficult and complicated personal story of seeking asylum in Europe, with many of his friends losing their lives on the way.

The design competition has an overall award sponsored by Davies group where the project winner will travel with a developing partner, Concern Worldwide, to work directly with recent immigrants to a refugee camp to implement their project. There are also two innovation awards sponsored by Ove Arup Trust to allow the young innovators to develop their concepts further.

The overall competition winner was TIDE, a menstrual tool kit concept which also includes a pad washing system, to help those in refugee camps. This project was designed and presented by two final year students from DIT’s Product Design programme, Olivia Holbrook and Rachael Ryan.

The judges were particularly impressed with the effort that the team had gone to while carrying out research for their concept, speaking to women living in direct provision in Mosney and ensuring the product made sense on a practical, social and cultural level – meeting the needs and concerns of their end users.

Both members of the team will travel to a refugee camp to meet people who are affected by this issue, and to further develop their concept. This trip is sponsored by Davies Group.

Highlight plight of females in refugee crisis


“We are delighted with this achievement and hope that it will help to highlight the plight of females in the refugee crisis. We are very grateful to Engineers Without Borders for the opportunity to enter this competition and to our lecturers for their guidance and to the guest talkers who gave of their time generously to help us in attempting to understand the scale of this issue,” said Olivia Holbrook.

The project was incorporated as part of their final year module in Ethical and Sustainable Design with the help of Dr Colm O’Kane, Kevin Colton and Dr Pearl O’Rourke of DIT.

Second place was awarded to a team from Trinity College Dublin, who developed a solar powered battery bank and phone charger. This team included four second-year students from the School of Engineering: Daniel Hall, David O’Flynn, David Simonian and Allan Finlay where the competition was incorporated into their second year module, Environment and Engineering.

The team received support from their lecturers in TCD: Dr Sarah McCormack, Prof Laurence Gill and Dr Liwen Xiao and support from Dr Hind Ahmed, Dr Subhash Chandra, Dr Hoda Akbari and Anita Ortega.

Universal door lock which can provide security and peace of mind to those living in refugee camps


Third place was awarded to National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Erasmus student Maria Jędryszek, who was a part of the Design for Social Impact module of the Industrial Design course. Jędryszek’s concept, LockIt, is a universal door lock which can provide security and peace of mind to those living in refugee camps or unstable accommodation. She completed the project with the help of supervisor Derek Vallance and head of department Sam Russell.

Both second and third place winners received an Ove Arup Innovation Award, and will have their product concepts developed further here in Ireland over the coming months with the help of the team in DIT, EWB and other local partners.

The judging panel on the day included representatives from ARUP, EWB, Roughan & O’Donovan, Concern Worldwide and the Nepal-Ireland Society. The high standard of presentation from the students on finals day and throughout the year was inspiring to see, with several students taking the issues of forced migration to heart, going above and beyond to learn about current political and social issues affecting refugees and migrants in Ireland and around the world.

Linking in with development engineering for real-life problems


The competition aims to educate students and raise awareness of how their engineering, problem-solving and design skills can extend beyond their textbooks. By developing skills in human centred design across all sectors of education, and linking in with development engineering for real-life problems, students can learn the true value of their own potential to help others in all walks of life.

Students from all universities over the course of the year were extremely motivated to problem-solve for those who are living in difficult situations with a severely reduced quality of life.

The WTINE competition is linked with DIT and EWB’s three-year project with the EU’s Build Solid Ground campaign, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and 13 other organisations across Europe.

The campaign aims to increase awareness among European citizens on land and housing rights at home and abroad, linking local issues to social and political issues in the Global South under Sustainable Development Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Encourage public engagement and involvement in improving housing and land rights


The project aims to encourage public engagement and involvement in improving housing and land rights, improving slums and urban settlements around the world, and increasing access to affordable housing, therefore helping those who have been forced to migrate from their homes.

“EWB would like to congratulate everybody who took part in the WTINE finals day in June, as well as all the students who took part in the competition over the course of the year as part of their own learning modules,” said Katie Mahon, Engineers Without Borders Ireland.

“Once students can see that their own skills, knowledge and learning experiences can be used beyond their end-of-year exams to solve real-life problems, they can realise the huge potential for improving lives and communities all over the world.

“Special congratulations to Rachael and Olivia from the winning team TIDE, who went the extra mile to engage members of the public including women living in direct provision in the design of their concept. Humanitarian engineering starts with the end user.

“Defining the problem, gaining feedback and generating solutions can only be effective with input, feedback and active participation from the people and communities who are going to use your product. We hope that these concepts can be incorporated by any NGO or social enterprise which sees value for the product or service in their own local community.”

Next year’s ‘Where There Is No Engineer’ competition will be launching in September 2018. If you would like to know more about the competition, or wish to get involved in any way please get in touch with Katie at Engineers Without Borders Ireland, at katie.mahon@ewb-ireland.org.

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'Where There Is No Engineer' (WTINE) is a design initiative co-ordinated by the Development Technology in the Community (DTC) Research Group in DIT together with Engineers Without Borders Ireland. Engage young engineers and scientists to design creative solutions to development challenges globally The programme is funded by Irish Aid and the...