Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Canadian Red Cross seeks architects for humanitarian aid work

The Canadian Red Cross is recruiting for casual construction delegates, shelter and settlement delegates, and water, sanitation and hygiene delegates for its international roster, all roles where an architect’s skills are needed.

The skills of an architect can be put to various uses in humanitarian responses, from supporting reconstruction efforts after a natural disaster or for those displaced by conflict, to working with local communities to improve access to clean water.

Neil Bauman, MRAIC, from Saint John, New Brunswick, a registered architect, has worked on shelter projects around the world for the Red Cross since 2005. This work has taken him to many countries including Pakistan, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Haiti, and Nepal, providing aid after natural disasters.

According to Bauman, architects are particularly well suited for humanitarian work because they can “apply their existing skills to look at large, complex problems and find practical, effective solutions.” They can also break down technical construction knowledge to effectively engage and consult with the local community.

Bauman often finds that some of the most difficult projects are the most interesting. In Nepal, following the devastating earthquake in 2015, he helped develop emergency shelter solutions for affected families, overcoming “numerous logistical challenges” including difficult terrain and road access. He and his team worked closely with the local people to understand their needs and were flexible with the support they gave, offering housing materials, cash or masonry training.

Those interested in exploring this rewarding career path can visit www.redcross.ca/delegates for more information and to apply.

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