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Quebec employees putting global responsibility at the heart of all engineering

August 05, 2021

Employees in our Quebec office volunteer to utilize their engineering skills to help expand a secondary school in West Africa

In Quebec, the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) team are supporting a project called SUKU which is the expansion of a secondary school in Togo, West Africa. The plan is to construct a building that consists of a classroom, library, and administrative offices and to renovate the three existing classrooms. As it stands, the parents of the students have to rebuild the classrooms every time they are damaged by the rain or severe winds, as the current facility has a straw roof that exposes students and school equipment to the weather. This slows down the learning pace of the students and makes for difficult teaching conditions which demotivate students to attend school and leads to a higher dropout rate.

A model of the new Suku school.

The EWB Quebec team have partnered with Togo organization, Echo de la Jeunesse. Their goal is to develop communities by fighting for the fundamental rights of children around the country—fighting for children’s health, hygiene, and to provide better education for young children and promote literacy.

To accomplish this project, a team of Stantec and EWB volunteers was put together. “The EWB members were selected in July 2020. Since then, Stantec became the principal partner of the project, which allowed the opportunity for some of Stantec’s employees to join the team.” Julien Durand, a water engineer in Montreal, Quebec said, “The role of Stantec and the team is more than just a financial sponsorship—engineers and professionals are directly implicated in the conception and production of the plans and specs for the new building.”

Julien Durand with the EWB team: Véronique Gisondi, Mélodie Vignealt, Annabelle Boinet, Julien, Arianne Provost-Savard.

Julien joined EWB Quebec in July 2020 and is an active member of the team. “The SUKU project is a wonderful opportunity to make a real difference for an entire community by offering them a chance to obtain a quality education. Having the privilege to access a full education myself, I deeply believe that everyone should have this chance; access to education is a powerful agent of change for a community by reducing poverty, exclusion, and social inequality,” Julien said.

With the help of the four engineers and professionals from Stantec, the team are in the process of finishing the plans and specifications needed for the construction of the new building. In September, the EWB members will be departing for Togo for three months to supervise and help the local contractor for the construction of the new building.

Marc Perreault, Vice President in Buildings, Montreal, Quebec, is the spokesperson for this project. He’s hoping this project inspires others around the company. “This is a project that leverages the skills and expertise of our Quebec team. And at the same time, it resonates with us because we’re able to help a local community by promoting education and perhaps even training future engineers,” Marc said, “Our engineers will forever remember this project and will hopefully inspire others. That’s what I’m hoping for.” 

Students in Suku.

International cooperation projects, like this one, provide great opportunities to exchange and learn from people who have diverse background. We’re proud to support EWB and our employees who volunteer their time to give back to communities around the world.

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