YOUNG ENGINEERS are being urged to join a fledgling international network geared to solving fundamental infrastructure and resources problems in the world's poorest countries.
An internet-based forum dedicated to delivering poverty relief was launched last week at the Commonwealth Young Professionals Millennium Conference. It focused on the themes of poverty, inequality, sustainability and the environment. Outgoing Commonwealth Engineers' Council chairman Dato' Ir. Lee Yee Cheong called for urgent support for the initiative.
'If the network doesn't get off the ground in the next three months, nothing will happen at all, ' he warned. 'Just having a one-day conference is not enough if we really want to do something about poverty. A lot of delegates who attended the conference have access to the net. I sincerely hope the forum will be fully up and running in one year' The network, to be supported by the Commonwealth Engineers' Council, is intended to bring individuals from different disciplines together to address local issues. It will also provide a database of completed relief projects enabling people to draw on prior experience and best practice.
Dato' Lee called for young professionals to contribute solutions that are sensitive to local needs and environmental circumstances.
Young engineers would benefit from being involved in the network by gaining experience on projects requiring sensitivity but also technically well within their ability. Working overseas would also offer valuable opportunities to develop skills in liaising with local people, Dato' Lee added.
'The age when you could impose a solution on a community is over, ' Dato' Lee noted. The majority of aid projects require collaborative work to deliver improvements in water provision, sanitation and transport, he said. 'These areas are vital to improving health and local economies. Small roads may not be exciting or glamorous, but they enable local trade.'
Details from the Commonwealth Engineers' Council, c/o the Institution of Civil Engineers, Tel (020) 7222 7722.