22 August 2023
Latifah Hamzah (OS 2008)
Latifah Hamzah (OS 2008) has a BMus from Codarts Rotterdam, an MS in Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. They co-founded Engineers Without Borders Malaysia (EWBM), a non-profit organisation.
‘After graduating, I wanted to put my engineering education to work with underserved communities at home in Malaysia. Thus, EWBM was born. Our aim is to improve quality of life with simple, sustainable solutions that consider context, nuance and myriad perspectives, with emphasis on community empowerment. One of our projects, building a hydrotherapy pool for a centre with special needs, recalled fond Sevenoaks VSU afternoons spent volunteering at the Valence School.
‘EWBM has installed renewable energy systems for indigenous communities that enable them to continue living on their ancestral lands, while reducing energy poverty. Through sharing in the lives and experiences of our partner communities, I found myself wanting to further explore sustainable and equitable development coupled with environmental justice. As part of my PhD, I am working with indigenous Malaysian cacao farmers and the Chocolate Concierge, a tree to bar social enterprise, to establish a circular economy in the chocolate industry and increase farmer incomes. We hope to create reactors to convert the cacao husk waste into biochar, which can improve soil health and yield while reducing fertilizer inputs and sequestering carbon.’