Volunteering in East Timor
An interesting opportunity was recently provided to Paul Callum, Director of Bligh Tanner, via Engineers Australia to work on a small pro bono project in East Timor. The project is for a not-for-profit organisation called “Many Hands International” (MHI) which works in extremely poor developing countries to “provide skills development” and to support “cultural based economic development”.
Paul’s role is to lead a small technical team to the poverty stricken rural town of Lospalos (about 240km east of the capital Dili) to begin the process of establishing a site and preliminary design for the construction of a community centre. The team leaves 3rd February and will be in East Timor for 10 days.
Best practice environmental design is a significant objective along with the transfer of skills and knowledge. Community involvement is critical to the project’s success. The design must maximize the use of local materials, cultural heritage and skills as well as re-use of existing structures.
While the first phase is primarily an information gathering exercise it is critical in ensuring community consultation is embedded in the design. On their return, the team will develop a design for the centre.
While this is the first project undertaken with MHI, it is hoped that we can establish an ongoing relationship that will provide future opportunities for more Bligh Tanner staff across all our disciplines.