After 30 years as a civil engineer, half spent supervising construction of roads around Canberra, John Weir has since become a RedR Australia veteran deployee in Bosnia, Timor Leste, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines.
In Cambodia John wrote specifications, called tenders, administered contracts and supervised construction of timber and concrete bridges, concrete pipe and box culverts, and irrigation water gates.
Five local engineers were engaged for detailed supervision, enabling a skills transfer component to John’s assignment, and local labour was engaged under a food-for-work initiative scheme operated by World Food Programme.
Sand and stone sourced locally, fabrication of culverts on site, restriction on activity to the dry season, and the usual requirement for road use while the works proceeded were all prominent features of John’s work.
His down-to-earth approach included living in quite basic conditions where “people’s lives revolve around the daily need to keep their families fed and sheltered”.
It may have been basic engineering, but John’s work made an obvious humanitarian difference.
Are you an engineer?Upload your profile
Engineers Australia is proud to announce that 2011 is the Year of Humanitarian Engineering