Transforming Hand-outs To Hand Ups
Transforming Hand-outs To Hand Ups
2 minutes 27 sec
Engineering As Compassion In Action
Engineering As Compassion In Action
2 minutes 05 sec
Why We Need Disruptive Technology & Alternatives To "Business as Usual"
Why We Need Disruptive Technology & Alternatives To "Business as Usual"
3 minutes 25 sec

Interviewing the Founder of Engineers Without Borders, Bernard Amadei

International development is a two-way street – you learn as much from them as they do from you. Tweet This Quote

Bio: Dr. Amadei is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado-Boulder & received his PhD in 1982 from the University of California-Berkeley. Along with founding Engineers Without Borders USA, he is Faculty Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities at CU & holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering. Among other distinctions, Dr. Amadei is the 2007 co-recipient of the Heinz Award for the Environment, the recipient of the 2008 ENR Award of Excellence, a Senior Ashoka Fellow & an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

What our world needs the most right now is alternatives to business as usual.  Tweet This Quote

About the author

Unreasonable Media

Unreasonable Media

As a company, Unreasonable Media is dedicated to leveraging the power of stories to shift paradigms and solve problems. That's why we have made almost all the videos you see on this site. Long story short, we are not your average production company. Visit our site to see for yourself.

  • lamt5

    During the section of Bernard Amadei’s interview when he talks about charity, he says a very important line: “I’m more interested in turning handouts into hand-ups”. This is an important concept that needs to be internalized by charity organizations around the world. Many of these organizations do a great job of distributing much needed aid to parts of the world. However, what if instead of simply giving aid on a regular basis we provided the tools and expertise necessary for these struggling groups of people to sustain and provide for themselves?

  • kabbasuf

    “Charity is a handout, but I’m more interested in turning it into a hand up”. I’m paraphrasing, but I couldn’t agree more. Often times projects don’t have community buy in and no monitoring and evaluations strategies. Consequently, well meaning projects like water wells and infrastructure fail in less than a year. Most NGO’s fall in this category. In the long run nothing ever changes because it is not a two way street. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him how to fish and you will never have to feed him/her again”

  • Tim Rutkowski

    @kabbasuf:disqus I completely agree with you, that statement from Bernard Amadei gives insight for any future engineers and their projects on the strategies that they will need in order to be successful. I didn’t understand the last part of the interview as far as what Amadei was refering to learning from others as they will learn from him.

  • susantok

    Very informative post!!! I agree with him about “I’m more interested in turning handouts into hand-ups”. I think it is better to teach those people who need aids with some skills so they can sustain and in the future do not depend on the aid anymore.

  • Stephen Chandra Owen

    This is an awesome post. I also feel that charity should teach the struggling groups with some sustainability skills. I think they will feel sense of pride if they can be independent from the charity.

  • PKroening

    Thank you for sharing this. I really liked at the beginning of the video where he said that unless your car has a maintenance strategy its going to fall. What he is getting at is that all these plans that are happening are going to fail unless people really sit down and figure out what to do when things start falling apart to get them back up to where they need to be.

  • hem1

    Great interview with an amazing person! We can all be a little bit more humble and compassionate in our actions. I also liked what he said about charities because it made me look at them differently. We give money hoping that it will provide people with needed provisions(which it does sometimes), but instead we should give money to assist those in need to learn to assist themselves better!

  • ignatius epriladinata

    I really like this post when
    they are saying that handout is good, but it is better to make it into hands-up
    rather than keep handing out. It would give them something more for the long
    run rather than you keep feeding them for the short term period. Besides, they
    can also live independently rather than live dependent on the charity.

  • greatelk

    I really appreciate many of the points made in this interview series. It was also nice to hear from somehow who’s not exactly from a business background (engineering).

  • nguyenb7

    It’s very true that the measurement of successfulness can vary. And I also think not all products have 100% efficiency. Very interesting interview. Thank you

  • thangha

    This gave me a different view point of the charity. Charity should help people how to earn what they need, not to giving them what they need. If they always receive things they need then over a long run they cannot get any better but always depend on others.

  • Cassie135

    Turning handouts into handups is definitely the right idea. It’s like teaching a man fish and feeding him for a lifetime, not just giving him one meal. I think non profits and charity should adopt this idea and teach people more skills rather than giving them handouts.

  • Sara Sanchez

    This compassionate action idea should be emphasized in the work we do everyday. I think that we should remember that we are not money-making machines, but rather we are humans first. Thank you for emphasizing the need of compassion!

  • nornesa

    We live in a world where compassion for others is a lost
    art. The statement “listen with your heart” really touched me. I have very little tolerance for
    ill-treatment of people because it does not serve a purpose and I don’t see the
    point of it. Imagine what you could do
    for others if you listened with your heart; the possibilities are endless because
    there’s depth, sincerity and truth when the heart is engaged. You want to take action for the common good
    because it’s innate in you when you listen with your heart.

  • natebbeard

    Could you say that that is the difference between distributing a tool, such as a drill or education, versus a product, such as a well? Bernard also comments on the sense of ownership that is very important in these communities. I think what EWB does is great, but providing and integrating the necessary tools will probably allow people to find their own solutions to their problems, which will probably be a lot more effective than a foreign solution?

  • jsuuu

    This series of interview is extraordinarily interesting especially when he talks about the handout and hands-up idea in charity. We should change our idea of charity to just giving out the handouts , teaching people life skills are actually more important. Very interesting point. Thank you.

  • IndartoEpriladinata

    This guy seems to be humble and passionate with his job. However,
    the pitch need to be improved in order to spirit his wonderful messages.

  • nguye107

    Thanks for the inspiring post! Successful and failing projects all start with the components as resources, human, strategies, and so on. However, what differentiates one from another is the human factor.

  • Alexanderia Horton

    “I’m going to learn as much from the people as they are from me.” That is a great view to have. As an entrepreneur, even if you have the best idea in the world, you need to be open to leaning from the people around you (no matter who they are).

  • linhvu1411

    Thank you for this meaningful video. I have learnt alot in just 2:26 minutes. There is always room for small thing to grow. However, if one think he/she is big, it will be a thick concrete ceilling press down the entrepreneur.

  • Michelle Spruch

    I agree that an important part of a project’s success is community support and “buy-in”. Without the community’s respect, how can it stay sustainable?

  • duongh1

    Thank you for a great advice. Yes, I agree that with should not only use our eyes and ears to listen to people, we should also listen with hearts .

  • chrinsmas

    I agree that technology itself cannot just be there without disrupt someone that needs it and support.

  • mcniffm

    He definitely us passionate and cares for his initiative. I agree that businesses needtochange ththe way they operate and find ways to improve.

  • i agree. its the age old “teach a man how to fish vs. giving him a fish” proverb. i believe that hand outs do more harm than good in the context of it being just that….a hand out. but working together and allowing others to feel apart of what you are doing whether on a large or small scale gives empowerment and makes the entrepreneur’s idea or business blossom with life and brilliance.

  • mcniffm

    I love this concept of listening with your heart. It’s especially important now with how much people consume their lives with technology, it’s important to stop and hear people and process what they’re saying. Be engaging.

  • vitalecm03

    More people need to be compassionate like this wise entrepreneur. Speaking for the younger generation, we are all about technology and wanting things to make our lives easier but we need to step back and actually listen with our hearts not just our ears. Technology will always continue to grow but we should never take it for granted, use it wisely.

  • Pingback: Blue Coaster33()