As in the case of a UNB engineering student, ending poverty in Africa can start at UNB.
This summer, Cody Munford, a second-year engineering student, will be spending four months in Africa as part of the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Junior Fellowship Program.
Munford was chosen to represent UNB’s EWB chapter in an 18-month leadership program that will eventually take him partway around the globe to help eliminate poverty.
“I’m most excited for everything. Just to have this opportunity to go over to Africa and help create change, whether it be in a small way or big way. I mean, that’s really exciting for me,” Munford said.
EWB is an organization dedicated to creating systemic change in Africa through working with other organizations, called ventures, in Africa. The Junior Fellowship Program pairs students with ventures where they are most needed.
Munford is still waiting to hear about his placement.
“I don’t know specifically what I’ll be doing in Africa because there’re about 10 African ventures that EWB has, so I could be placed with any one of them. They’re going to be putting me there based on need,” he said.
Achieving the position wasn’t easy. Munford had to submit essays and go through an interview process at both the regional and national level before he was finally chosen.
It’s especially an accomplishment as this is Munford’s first year with EWB.
“I initially wanted to get involved with Engineers Without Borders last year but I was playing football with the Bombers so I wasn’t exactly sure if I’d be able to handle school, sports and EWB. So I waited a year and I realized this year I would have enough time,” he said.
“I really wanted to get involved and get that whole university experience. And being in engineering myself, I looked at Engineers Without Borders and I immediately fell in love, basically. I really like what they’re doing over in Africa and it’s a really unique approach, the way they work with the communities there to help create sustainable and systemic change.”
Between now and April, Munford will be completing the training portion of the program in preparation for his time in Africa.
“They call it foundation learning so it just gives me a lot of background of what I’ll be doing. I’ll be pretty much working by myself with the venture staff and living with a host family too, so I get to pretty much immerse myself fully,” Munford said.
Besides training, Munford will be helping the UNB EWB chapter organize fundraising events. Donations can also be made at Weare.ewb.ca/codymunford.
Munford said he hopes to make an impact in Africa whether it’s big or small. He also knows the experience will impact him as well.
“I’ve never done anything like this before so it’s really a unique program in that it gives me a lot of training – leadership training, problem solving training, things like that,” he said.
“I’m excited to develop as a person, but [mostly] just to go over there and immerse myself in the culture and really help out a big problem: poverty in Africa. That’s really exciting.”