Summer Programs :

Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) – Opportunity in Ethiopia

Program dates are: July 18 – August 11, 2016 (tentative)

Location: Mekelle, Ethiopia  

Technion’s Engineers Without Borders Chapter is leading the international program Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC), conducted entirely in English. This unique multidisciplinary four-week program provides students with real-life field work experience in small-scale sustainable community planning and development. The program is open to talented undergraduate students studying engineering, science, architecture, medicine, economics and any other field relevant to community development. Subjects related to sustainable community development, public health, infrastructure, renewable and low cost energy, and other related topics are covered.

The 2016 EDC summer course, in its fifth year, will take place in Mekelle, Ethiopia. In previous years it was given in remote communities in Nepal, China, and Bedouin communities in Israel’s Negev region.

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The course will have participants from the Technion, Ethiopia and diverse universities around the world.

  • Watch a video about the first EDC course in 2010 here.
  • Hear more about the program and the reasoning behind it from Prof. Mark Talesnick, the head of the program in his TEDxHiriya Talk.
  • Take a look at the blog created by students describing their experience in Kathmandu, Nepal 2013 here, watch the movie on youtube, and join us on Facebook.

The Engineering for Developing Communities program provides a hands-on, life learning experience enabling students to apply fundamental and theoretical knowledge to real world situations. The program challenges students to approach problems with innovative thinking and provides them with multi-disciplinary tools to address a wide range of engineering and development challenges.

The program introduces students to appropriate technology and techniques that can be applied to both rural developing communities setting as well as to larger engineering and environmental projects in developed countries. By learning and working as part of a team, students will hone their skills and knowledge in a variety of subjects and gain practical field experience which they can directly apply to programs and coursework back at their home universities and bring projects and ideas to life for the benefit of the overall good.


Course Topics

  • Sustainability: UN sustainable development goals; consumerism; population limit; appropriate technologies; sustainable engineering; firstsecondthird sectors.
  • Social Processes: community; human development; group work; cross-cultural communication skills; language gaps and translation skills; transformative learning approach; leadership types; personal contribution to society.
  • Engineering: contribution of engineering to society; open ended problems; systems approach.
  • Ethiopia: history; culture; society; politics; language skills; development process in Ethiopia and Africa.
  • Project Design: community appraisal; holistic project design; participatory approach; sustainable capacity building.
  • Developing World: processes in developing countries; aid; gender, economics, energy, safe water, health, education.

Teaching Methods

  • Lectures
  • Hands-on training workshops involving appropriate technologies* in labs and field
  • Group work
  • Social activities, site visits
  • Cultural and language studies
  • A full week of the course will be spent in rural Ethiopia, where students will experience village life, and practice community appraisal.

*Appropriate technologies such as solar energy, wind power, water filtration, compressed earth blocks, fuel briquettes, and/or bio-reactors.


Academic Credits

Technion academic credits will be awarded to students upon completion of this 4-week program. A student’s home university may accept these credits according to their own academic scales and evaluation.

Time Schedule

Dates: Monday July 18-Thursday, August 11, 2016 (tentative)

Arrival date to Ethiopia: by Sunday July 17, 2016

Course activities will include:

  1. University segment: activities on campus and sites in the area.
  2. Field segment: 6-8 full days in the field working within a rural village community, including one weekend.
  3. Weekend Excursion: Guided tour to popular sites, outing, and cultural activities.
  4. Free time: During the university segment there will be some afternoons off, and one weekend off.



The course will consist of a diverse 10 member team. Staff members include faculty from Technion and Ethiopia, and international experts in community development.

The Engineering for Developing Communities program is designed for open-minded students studying engineering, science, architecture, medicine, economics and any other fields relevant to sustainable development, with a 80/3.0 GPA or higher.


To begin your application process, click  Apply Now to launch the online application system.

On the online application you will be asked to upload:

  • Academic record, supplied through a transcript (original or approved copies).
  • A personal statement explaining your motivation for applying to this course (up to 2 pages in length).
  • Email address of a faculty member or academic supervisor at your home institution. An e-mail will be sent directly to your academic reference asking them to send their recommendation letter.
  • CV (Resume).
  • A passport sized photo.

* In addition, please ask your university to send an original or approved copy of your transcript to:


Technion International

Mauerberger Building, 2nd floor

Technion City, Haifa 3200003, Israel

English Proficiency

Since this academic program is taught entirely in English, applicants are required to demonstrate their English proficiency before their enrollment. Applicants from countries where English is not the primary language will be required to undergo an interview in English.

Admission decisions will be based on a close evaluation of each application on a case-by-case basis. Qualified candidates will be invited to a Skype interview.


Program Cost: $4,500 (USD)

The cost includes: Tuition, Accommodation, Most meals, and all course activities.

The cost does not include: Flights to and from Ethiopia, Visa, insurance, vaccinations and personal expenses during free afternoons and weekend.

*Prices are subject to change due to Technion decision, fluctuations in market prices and currency exchange rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who can apply to the program?

Any undergraduate/graduate student who meets the academic requirements may apply to the Engineering for Developing Communities summer program. We accept not only engineering students but all eligible candidates who are interested in the course topics (mainly sustainable development) and are studying any other field.

2. What and to whom do I need to submit my application?

You need to submit your application form together with your university transcripts, CV, one letter of recommendation and a personal statement detailing your motivation to participate in the program. All documents must be sent to

3. What is the minimum required grade point average for submitting an application?

The minimum required grade point average is 80/3.0 and above.

4. What is the deadline for submitting an application?

The deadline for submitting an application is April 15, 2016. Please note that there are a limited number of scholarships available. We will not be able to award any scholarships after this limit has been reached.

5. Where will I live?

All students and staff are housed in a local hotel or at university dorms. Each room accommodates between 2-3 students. During the field segment, students and staff will stay in accommodations at the local village community center or homestay. Please expect that housing and meals will be simple.

6. What is the cost of the program?

The cost of the program is $4,500. It includes your tuition. housing and all program activities. The program costs do not include airfare, visa, health insurance, vaccinations and personal expenses.

7.  Will I have free time during the course?

During the course students will be given a few afternoons off and one free weekend.

8. How do I submit a recommendation letter?

An original copy of your recommendation letter must be sent directly from the evaluator to

9. I am a graduate student, do I need to also send my undergraduate transcripts with my application?

No, you only need to send us your most recent transcripts (from graduate school). We will notify you should we require a copy of your undergraduate transcripts.