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6 Humanitarian Jobs in Engineering

Humanitarians can contribute to global development in many ways. We have previously talked about humanitarian jobs in healthcare, logistics, and science & technology. We even discussed a few tasks you may have never thought of! Today, let’s see how engineers can be part of the humanitarian field. 

The ultimate humanitarian traveling list

Here are some of the top humanitarian jobs for engineers:

1. Civil engineer

Civil engineers can work in a variety of roles in a humanitarian setting. Their experience in assessing and building communities is essential for the aid sector. Here are some of the ways a civil engineer can contribute:

Disaster preparedness and response

Countries that often experience earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters need to prepare for them. For example, Japan sees hundreds of earthquakes each year, but few cause actual damage to the infrastructure. Civil engineers make sure of this by designing infrastructure that is resistant to natural disasters.

In the aftermath of a disaster, engineers can assess the damage it caused. They can then make recommendations on the next steps in the shelter and recovery process.

Water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH)

When communities do not have clean water, diseases spread like wildfire. Civil engineers can support humanitarian teams to design the infrastructure to ensure proper WASH standards in each community.

Waste management

In many countries, waste management is a vital issue. Garbage dumping and burning cause pollution. It can also lead to worsening floods and exacerbate the impact of hurricanes. When it comes to human waste, improper management can lead to health-related problems. Civil engineers can help to design and optimize waste management strategies in communities.

Transportation management

Whether for logistics or only for community access, transportation is another vital area for engineers in the humanitarian field. They might prepare evacuation routes, therefore ensuring the safety of residents.

Engineers may also manage transportation in development contexts. This, to create more equitable access to jobs, healthcare, education, and other essential services.

What NGOs are looking for in a Humanitarian Aid Worker

2. Electrical engineer

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, electric power may be down. Conflict zones may also need to recover much of its electrical grid. Further, environmental issues require alternative solutions to power generation. So, electrical engineers can get involved in disaster recovery, post-conflict zones, and ecological work, among other humanitarian jobs.

3. Environmental engineer

Development projects focus a great deal on environmental issues. Environmental engineers can help projects to design innovative solutions to managing waste, accessing clean water, and other infrastructural systems. They may also work on contaminated sites for clean-up and otherwise support environmental mandates of humanitarian organizations.

4. Software engineer

Most organizations today need proprietary software to run large-scale projects. Software engineers typically work in humanitarian headquarters to oversee design and implementation. However, in complex cases, they might need to deploy to design field-specific software programs.

5. Mechanical engineer

As robotics and artificial intelligence enter the humanitarian field, mechanical engineers are more in-demand. For example, crewless aerial vehicles or drones are becoming more popular in search and rescue, as well as delivery. Mechanical engineers support the automation process of these activities.

6. Project manager

Finally, an engineer with a wealth of experience can manage project teams. Be it in mechanical, civil, environmental, or software engineering, project management is an essential humanitarian job. The key responsibilities of an engineer project manager are to ensure the proper implementation of a project. For this, they need both management skills and in-depth knowledge of their specific field.

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