We could quite easily have copied the blurb from the EMI website, but we thought we’d try and explain things in our own words – explain why we decided to move to Uganda, and why Laurence has decided to work with EMI, that is, Engineering Ministries International.
Imagine you are running a programme to fight poverty in some way… let’s say a rural education programme. You have a good understanding of the local community and educational needs, you have a local project manager who understands the culture and context, and you have a good flow of funding from some generous donors. All you need to really tackle the educational needs of the community is a school building from which to deliver your programme, but while there is plenty of willing labour there is little professional experience available to design your school and ensure it is built to a safe standard. In addition, the country where you are working is in an earthquake zone and local buildings often collapse during seismic activity, leading to injury and loss of life.
This is where Engineering Ministries International (EMI) comes in. EMI will…
- Send a volunteer team of architects and engineers to spend two weeks producing a conceptual design for your school,
- Produce a full design report that you can use to plan the financing and management of the construction of your school,
- Provide ongoing Construction Management support through to the completion of your school building.
All this is done at minimal cost, but using professional and experienced architects and engineers.
EMI is not just about quick fixes. Local architects, engineers and site foremen are employed by EMI, giving them professional experience and personal development, thus building the capacity of the country in question: in the EMI Uganda office around 50% of the staff are Ugandan.
Where does Christianity come into it?
There is one other ingredient that makes EMI more than just another development NGO. For us and the other staff at EMI, everything we do is motivated by our faith in Jesus. This doesn’t make us better people, and it doesn’t mean we don’t get things wrong. But it means we care about the people as well as the projects. We believe in the power of God’s love, and we want to share that love with others. Sometimes that means showing an unskilled labourer how to pour better reinforced concrete; sometimes it means praying for a fellow worker’s family; sometimes it means taking the time to explain why a building has been designed a certain way; sometimes it means explaining that faith in Jesus isn’t just about going to church on a Sunday.
Want to read more about EMI? Visit the website