Engineers Against Poverty

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Engineers Against Poverty (EAP) is a specialist NGO working in the field of engineering and international development. It was established in 1998 by the UK’s leading professional Engineering Institutions, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Department for International Development (DFID). It is incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee and registered as a charity.

Mission, Vision & Values[edit]


EAP works with industry, government and civil society to fight poverty and promote sustainable development.


A future in which poverty has been eliminated and the structures of inequality and disadvantage have been transformed so that all people are able to share the benefits of development.

EAP’s Programme[edit]

Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI) play a critical role in meeting the challenges of sustainable development and poverty reduction. EAP works with partners in industry, government and civil society to identify innovative ways for SETI policy and practice to enhance its contribution to addressing these global challenges.

EAP’s programme is focused in three key areas to achieve their organisational mission: infrastructure, the extractive industries (oil, gas & mining) and engineering education. Individual projects within these areas are undertaken in collaboration with strategic partners.

EAP’s programme is built on two propositions:[1]

  • Whilst aid and debt relief are important, they are unlikely to offer sustainable solutions to poverty in the long-term unless they are mobilised to accelerate pro-poor economic growth, promote enterprise development and create millions of decent jobs.
  • Effective mobilisation of the private sector represents one of the single greatest opportunities to step-up the fight against poverty. Achieving this requires the alignment of the commercial interests of companies with the development priorities of poor people to deliver outcomes that are better for society and better for business.

Major Initiatives[edit]

Procurement research[edit]

EAP has been working in partnership with the Institution of Civil Engineers to demonstrate how procurement can be used to increase local content (i.e. the proportion of goods, services and labour sourced locally) in public sector infrastructure projects. Together they conducted extensive research that culminated in the publication of a report entitled ‘Increasing local content in the procurement of infrastructure projects in low income countries’

A range of international agencies have made use of the knowledge contained in the report including the African Development Bank, OECD and the European Commission. In 2009–10 they will be developing systems to measure the impact of the improvements that we have been advocating.


ASPIRE is a software-based tool for planning, monitoring and evaluating the sustainability and poverty reduction performance of infrastructure projects in developing countries. It is the result of an innovative collaboration between EAP and Arup. The tool is used to identify gaps in project planning and to help project managers and other stakeholders maximise the positive social, economic and environmental benefits. It also contributes to the strategic and commercial objectives of users by providing a richer understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with their investments.

CoST Secretariat[edit]

EAP is part of the International Secretariat of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) that is tackling the problem of corruption in the construction sector head on. Launched by DFID in 2008 and coordinated by PricewaterhouseCoopers, CoST is developing systems and procedures to enable the public disclosure of material project information. Improving transparency in this way will make it possible for decision-makers to be held accountable. It will also help to reduce corruption and boost growth and development.

Seven pilot countries - Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Ethiopia, Philippines, Vietnam and the UK [2] – are participating in the pilot phase. EAP is providing policy and technical advice to CoST and helping to ensure that a pro-poor perspective is integrated into decision making.

Health & safety in construction[edit]

EAP has been working with the Institution of Engineers Tanzania to train a team of 35 Tanzanian men and women to international standards in construction health and safety and training delivery. They are also working with them to develop a training programme that is specific to the Tanzanian context and which when finished, will be recognised as a new national standard. The Tanzanian trainers will be running courses with government, industry and trade unions throughout the country in 2009.

Extractive industries[edit]

EAP have recently published innovative practical guidance to industry on maximising local benefits of Oil Gas & Mining projects, including an analysis of the opportunities for engineering services contractors to deliver local content (in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute) and a briefing note on maximising the participation of local enterprises in project supply chains funded by the International Finance Corporation. They have also jointly released a guidance note with International Alert on conflict sensitive business practice for engineering contractors, particularly those working in the extractive industries.

Engineering education[edit]

EAP has been working with the Institute of Education (IoE) to explore the extent to which global issues are incorporated into the engineering curricula of UK universities. Their joint report ‘The Global Engineer’ captures the learning from a series of high-level roundtable meetings held in UK universities. It also makes a series of practical recommendations aimed at enabling UK universities to build on past success, overcome barriers and integrate the ‘global dimension’ into teaching.

They are now working in partnership with the Engineering Subject Centre, Engineering Council UK and the Institute of Education to provide practical support to 7 UK-based universities. Over the next three years they will participate in a programme of high quality professional development and curriculum review support.

Fundraising activities[edit]

Vietnam- Cambodia Cycle Challenge 2010[3]

EAP is holding a Vietnam-Cambodia Cycle Challenge between 24 February and 7 March 2010. The challenge will take cyclists from Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) city, through the rice-paddies and waterways of the beautiful Mekong Delta into Cambodia. All the money raised will go towards helping EAP advance its mission of mobilising the engineering industry in the fight against global poverty.

Kilimanjaro trek 2008

In December 2008 seventeen climbers scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The trek took place over six days and raised nearly £25,000. Most of the money raised went towards Health & Safety courses for managers in the Tanzanian construction industry.


External links[edit]