Global Village Engineers (GVE) is an organization that recruits and manages a volunteer corps of civil engineers, environmental scientists and other technical experts to work with rural communities and non governmental organizations (NGOs) in the developing world. It's unique mission is to empower these bodies through education and training on infrastructure issues that impact them in order to become effective advocates on their own behalf. This mission is based on the fundamental principle that people are powerless when self-doubt prevents them from participating in the political and social systems that bring infrastructure to their local environments.
Today, there are organizations which mobilize engineers and engineering students to construct housing, small water supply systems, and schools. These volunteers actually perform the work, and, in doing so, supply a valuable development function. However, they tend to work on small, relatively uncomplicated projects, and, more importantly, they do not focus on educating and training their communities and NGOs about the scientific and engineering knowledge required to understand the technical details which describe a projects impact on a particular community. These villagers and townspeople, therefore, learn from GVE volunteers how to integrate technical facts into their strategies for participating in the planning, design and implementation of a project. It is this education that allows them to deal effectively with the private and public agencies that all too often control or impact their local environments to their detrement.
Another important and somewhat unique component of GVE's strategy is to capitalize on seasonal downturns in the civil engineering industry by providing working engineers with meaningful volunteer work that enriches their professional careers. The small to mid sized firms which provide GVE's volunteers rarely offer the international, cross-cultural experiences like GVE's that many excellent employees want.