By: Elizabeth Iwunwa

Last week, the Cadre sat down with Laura Mohan and Nick Scott, organizers of “Common Grounds”. This coffeehouse event is intended to generate awareness for Engineers Without Borders, and the Unity Project.


TC: Could you provide some insight on the event?

Laura: This is an idea we got from another chapter in another university in Canada. By chapter, I mean an Engineers Without Borders chapter. A coffeehouse is essentially a gathering.

TC: What are the societies behind this event?

Laura: This is a combined event. Just recently, our two groups kind of came together as we’re both involved in international development.

Nick: And I think we’re working specifically in sub-saharan Africa. My society is in Kenya and Laura’s is in Kenya and Ghana as well.

TC: What is the purpose of the coffeehouse?

Nick: I know that both of us really want to reach out to the public, start talking about our projects more, and have a bit of a community outreach. Obviously, part of the goal is to fundraise for the projects.

I know that EWB is trying to send some of their members to Ghana, to work with other EWB chapters in a specific location. Our project is looking to fundraise to support the women in the village of Unity, who are trying to attain higher education goals in general and digital literacy.

Laura: So, awareness and making the entire community aware of our two projects is definitely crucial. I know that our chapter started out about seven months ago and we’re in the initiation stage. So that means that we can’t send anybody as a junior fellow this year, we’d have to send them next year.

To be able to send them next year, we have to finish the initiation of our chapter. A lot of that has to do with our goal setting, so creating awareness and fundraising.

TC: So EWB, how many different chapters are there?

Laura: There are forty different chapters in Canada. Some of them are professional and most of them are in universities. I know that they’re in every single province in Canada. There is also a national office in which twenty-five professionals work at 24/7. So they are employed and that’s in Toronto.

TC: What is the mission of your organization?

Laura: A lot of what we focus on is definitely creating partnerships with entrepreneurs that live with these African communities. And so that way once we’re gone, we still connect with them online but they’re also able to keep the projects sustained on their own.

TC: Can you give the details of this event?

Laura: The night of January 21st at Upstreet Craft Brewing, right on Allen Street. It will go between 7 and 11 pm.

Nick: We are having a local musician coming to perform and it will be a good opportunity for people to come out and socialize.

For further information on both societies, email Nick Scott at,  and Laura Mohan at

See their Facebook pages for additional information.

photo credit: Elizabeth Iwunwa