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Philanthropod

Leading a humanitarian engineering charity as a woman leader in the face of the growing climate crisis

Season 6, Ep. 1

In our first episode of our new season, Philanthropod’s host Anubha Rawat sits down with Eleanor Loudon.


Eleanor is an experienced international development leader with a deep, lifelong commitment to social and environmental justice. She has spent over 10 years in professional leadership roles, including in Sri Lanka (ChildFund International), and Cambodia and Thailand (Australian Volunteer Program). Eleanor is also on the board of the social enterprise ATEC.


Eleanor is currently the CEO of Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) – a humanitarian engineering charity that uses the power of engineering to help create a more equitable and sustainable world. They work with communities in Australia, Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu in need to provide access to clean water, renewable energy, disaster recovery and develop sustainable infrastructure. At the heart of their programs they ask: How do we engineer differently? How do we engineer sustainably? How do we engineer with community?


In the episode, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about EWB’s huge remit - from being integrated into university engineering curriculums, to building technical capacity of in-country engineers, to challenging gender norms and supporting women engineers, to working on major infrastructure projects in Timor-Leste. A focus on Indigenous outreach is also core to their ethos.


The episode, launched on IWD 2023, is also a must-listen for those interested in the intersection of gender, engineering and women's leadership more broadly. Eleanor and Anubha discuss women’s leadership in a sector where women’s representation drops from 70% across the sector to 40% at a senior level. Eleanor provides sound advice for other women looking to take up leadership positions in the international development sector and beyond. 

Eleanor sheds light on her experience of a changing ecosystem – it is now the private sector who come to EWB to ask about Sustainable Development Goal 2030 strategies. For Eleanor, this represents the fact that issues like climate change are no longer ‘dirty words’ in the urgent development context of today. 


To learn more about Engineers Without Borders follow the link: https://ewb.org.au


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