Five Guiding Principles to Enhance Community Participation in Humanitarian Engineering Projects.
Humanitarian engineering (HE) is a very complex endeavour that requiresÂ addressing technical problems whilst concurrently engaging the community members who willÂ ultimately benefit from the engineersâ€™ solutions. Community participation is particularly importantÂ because it is directly linked to the sustainability of projects. Whilst many strategies have beenÂ proposed to engage partner communities, the HE literature lacks a comprehensive framework ofÂ guiding principles for more effectively engaging community members. The goal of this study isÂ to develop a framework of principles that can support humanitarian engineering professionalsÂ and educators to enhance the participation of community members. In this study, we used aÂ qualitative systematised literature review to collect 49 journal articles focused on humanitarianÂ engineering projects and strategies. The analysis of the collected papers led to identification of fiveÂ guiding principles: 1) collaborating with local champions (NGOs and similar), 2) harnessing localÂ resources and expertise, 3) integrating ethics and social justice, 4) building trusting and equitable relationships, and 5) creating competent multi or inter-disciplinary teams. The identified principlesÂ provide a framework that can enable humanitarian professionals and educators involved inÂ small-scale HE projects to enhance the way they interact with community members. We concludeÂ the paper with a series of questions based on the five principles that may allow humanitarian engineers to reflect on the way they interact with community members and thus enhance theirÂ relationships. We also invite other humanitarian engineers to further expand concepts related toÂ the suggested principles, and to explore ways to best apply these principles in practice.
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