Water for the World Workshop: Exploring why access to potable water is still difficult

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Access to clean water is sometimes taken for granted by the vast majority of people living in developed nations. With today’s access to technology, it may seem hard to fathom that in many parts of the world, access to potable water is still difficult. So, why couldn’t we simply port over the knowledge that possess, especially to rural areas? The Water for the World Workshop organised by Engineering Good for Hwa-Chong Junior College students aims to explore that.

The Workshop


In the interactive part of this workshop, students were split into small groups, with each team representing a different country (Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc.) Tasked to create a working water filter, they were each given a different amount of funds, based on the relative real-world wealth of each country. They would then use the currency to purchase necessary materials to make their filter.

Lack of funds is only one of the difficulties faced by developing countries in helping citizens gain access to clean water. Technical challenges such as inefficient technologies can also be a major hurdle, as is the low level of literacy common to some rural areas. Applying this to the workshop for instance, the instructions as to how an ideal water filter should be built were left incomplete for some teams who represented developing countries. Students had to use their skills and prior knowledge to figure out how to build the most cost-effective and reliable water filter with the limited resources that they have.

Students also had to put on a different thinking hat when they had to simulate international relations. Countries possessing advanced technology traded their knowledge in exchange for funds or materials for their water filter. Some teams were also more generous, rendering help to lesser developed countries.

At the end of the activity, the water filters were tested for their effectiveness using muddy water.  

What Students Say About It

"I'm confident that my water filter works!"

“I’m confident that my water filter works!”

Most people have the impression that the cutting-edge technology that we have access to can easily be ported to the developing countries to help them. The students agreed that while there has been a lot of media coverage and awareness regarding the lack of clean water in rural areas, little light has been shed on the complexity of the issues faced by these countries.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

“I really enjoyed the session. The trainers may seem young but they were very professional. They managed to keep us entertained and engaged. What I particularly liked was the fact that there were hands on activities and not just didactic lectures, making the session much more interesting. The trainers were well prepared in their materials and passionate about their area, which could be felt amongst the participants. I was thrilled to see their enthusiasm for such a good cause. There were fun moments such as when Indonesia “invaded” Singapore to get resources but the whole activity allowed me to gain insights into what the real world was like.”

“Though the hands-on session (where we construct the water filter) was simple, there were many lessons to be learnt here. I learnt that the world is a much more complicated place and diplomatic negotiations can be tough for any country. I learnt more about the importance and difficulty of obtaining clean water as well, and surprisingly, the richest countries may not necessarily produce the cleanest water. In today’s workshop, I was surprised that the team representing Indonesia was able to come up with the cleanest water among the four countries. I liked how the trainers were then able to link together the activity and real world implications, leaving a lasting impression on me as a student.”

Moving forward

We are thankful for the opportunity to be able to put our hearts and hands together for this wonderful workshop! To the student organizers, thank you for putting in all your effort to make this one a success. We’re looking forward to having more students join in the fun- while learning a thing or two about water and engineering good too (pun-intended)! If you’d like your school or organization to participate in this experience to create awareness, write in to us at contactus@engineeringgood.org.


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Engineers Without Borders Asia - Worley Parsons

WorleyParsons is a global provider of professional services to the energy, resource, and complex process industries.

WorleyParsons shares the conviction that each individual has the ability to make a positive impact in the world, which is reflected in WorleyParsons’ internal key organisational value of leadership which strives to empower individuals and encourages them to take responsibility. WorleyParsons envisages a global support scheme of humanitarian engineering organisations in each of our Regions to further develop our internal commitment to Corporate Responsibility.

WorleyParsons Singapore is Engineering Good’s founding corporate partner. Through their Corporate Responsibility Team, WorleyParsons Singapore incubated Engineering Good (formerly known as Engineers Without Borders Asia) in Singapore. A dedicated staff was heavily involved in the inception journey of the organisation, seeing it through successful registration. WorleyParsons also provided seed-funds and office facilities to support the initial operations of the organisation.

For more information on WorleyParsons, please visit their corporate responsibility page.


Engineers Without Borders Asia - NYC

The National Youth Council (NYC) was set up by the Singapore Government on 1 November 1989 as the national co-ordinating body for youth affairs in Singapore and the focal point of international youth affairs.

At NYC, we believe in a world where young people are respected and heard, and have the ability to influence and make a difference to the world. Together with our partners, we develop a dynamic and engaging environment where young people are inspired to dream and committed to action. 

We hear youth >>> Here for youth


We would like to thank the following donors for their contributions to our crowdfunding campaign:

Aditya Bansal Emily Zhang Jean Oh Low Eicher Peter Stones Tan Alvin
Alan Forshaw Eric Wong Jean-Philippe Fontaine Low Zhi Ni Phua Huijia Tan Angeline
Alex Chio Esther Lim Joanne Sansfacon Luckanong Souliyavong Quek Henry Tan Hui Shan Grace
Ali Mousavi-Torbati Fauvel Simon Joy Leong Magdalen Ng Rayannah Kroeker Tan Hwee Roy
Amy Sim Fern Neo Jun Wei Tan Mani Malekesmeili Rong Wang Teo Keng Pheng
Antony Watkins Floris Jan Donders Justin Freedin Marcia Harr Bailey Ruei Lung Neo Teo Orion
Audrey Lam Fnu Md Nasir Kah Chine Sim Maria Belen Amiano Sahas Bikram Shah Teo Wee Teck
Caesar Sengupta Frederic Fauvel Kang Hua Lee Maria Kajstad Seungwoo Jun Tham Nicholas
Catherine Cyr Wright Gan Daniel Kang Yilin Marie-Helene Querin Shaan Seth Thiam Huat Ng
Cecile Weil Geraldine Kwek Kelvin Kwong Lam Loh Martin Loh Shangar Eagamathan Thye Yoke Pean
Chandrasekhar Vaddadi Gopalakrishnan Sai Aparajitha Kevin Labyt Maude Beaucaire Sharma Shweta Titan Zhuang
Cheah Lynette Grace Foo Kim Cathering Cung Mayer Hoe Shu Yang Tong Chin Hong
Chester Chee Guillaume Brouillette Ko Hak Chin Melvin Tan Sian Hun, Willy Koh Tun Ei Ei
Chin Theng Lee Han Yu Koh Joseph Meng Fan-Ru Sidji Sumijati Vincent Chua
Cho Rick Heiko Rothkranz Kok Meng Lim Mihai Barbulescu Siew Chin Chua Vincent Rajotte
Chua Serena Herk Low Ng Leong Chia Jang Neek Low Siew Ling Ho Vivien Denis
Chun Ming Au Hock Jin Alvin Tay Leong Yoke Fun Hannah Ng Jeremy Siew Yong Ong Willi Smolan
Colleen Gosse Hui Bing Thio Ler You Wei Ngiam Song Wee Silvia Hua Xin Ying Lim
Daniel Eden Hui Ching Michelle Teo Lim Cindy Nicolas Fauvel Sindhu Tjahyono Yeam Chin Heng
Daniel Luzinda Hwee Kuang Lim Lim Jean Nirupam Khanna Singh Bhavdeep Yeow Xian Ching
Dexter Chee Ivonna Ivonna Lin Han Nitish Khanna Siti Maryam Yaakub Yiyuan Qin
Di Wang Jacques Fauvel Lin Yong Xiang Pang Sze Fei Sivasothi N Yoong Heng Tan
Dongting Tay Jasmin Blais St-Laurent Loh Weng Yee Patrick Chan Stacey Rodrigues Zhang Huiguo
Ee Lyn Tan Jasmine Hu Loo Ling Tan Patrick Miller Stephanie Budiwarman  
Emilie Beaucaire Jaya Myler Low Chun Kiat Pei Lee Yeap Susanna Kho  

Special thanks to Teo Keng Pheng for sponsoring the 4% admin fee for this crowdfunding campaign ♥


YCS (Full Colour)_1252x1252

Youth Corps Singapore is a national institution that supports youths who are keen to serve the community. As the catalyst for youth volunteerism, it harnesses the energy and passion of youths to ignite positive change in society through community development projects. Bringing together Singapore Citizens and PRs aged 16 to 35, Youth Corps Singapore provides a platform for youths to learn new skills and meet like-minded peers, who aspire to go forth and create a better Singapore and a better world for all.

Click here to visit our Portal and discover how you can get involved.


Envelope 2015

Envelope 2015, held in August of 2015, was a seminar event organised by the Engineering Good Student Chapter. Envelope exposed and engaged more than a hundred students to how organizations in Singapore use sustainable and appropriate solutions to help various communities, be it in Singapore or overseas. Guest speakers included speakers from World Toilet Organization, Operation Hope Foundation, Ground Up Initiative, NUS Energy Office and many more!

The first half of Envelope consisted of a series of talks by our invited guest speakers, where they introduced Humanitarian Engineering as it is done in its many different forms, showcasing the many possibilities for students to engage in Humanitarian Engineering as it best suits them. In the second half of Envelope, students could chose to more directly engage with speakers they were more interested in by joining their respective short workshops.

Check out Envelope 2015’s Facebook page for more photos of the event!


Project Make-Possible with IES-NUS

Project Make Possible was an event to help bridge the current gap between engineers and disadvantaged communities. Project Make-Possible began with a Humanitarian Engineering talk, where participants were introduced to the concept of Humanitarian Engineering, followed by a Makerthon.

The Makerthon was made possible through collaboration with Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) Labs and the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD). Over a week, 10 teams of 4 participants went to SPD to learn more about the problems faced by the physically disabled and develop prototypes to tackle problems identified for a mini-competition. The winners were awarded a total seed funding of $3000 with the option of continuing their work with SPD.

Read more about the event at SPD’s publication on Project Make-Possible and check out more photos at Project Make-Possible’s Facebook page!