The first step to joining an EMI project trip is to create your EMI account.
Providing up-to-date professional, volunteer, and contact information in your EMI account allows us to find the best placement for trip opportunities. Create or update your EMI account.

 

EMI generally plans project trips in three terms: Term 1 – Feb-May, Term 2 – Jun-Aug, and Term 3 – Sep-Nov.

 

Project trips are often the initial design consultation with the partner ministry and as such might be limited to an assessment of an existing property, or master-plan and concept design of the initial phase of the ministry’s overall development plan.

Each EMI project trip is led by an EMI Project Leader, a design professional on the full-time staff of the EMI team which is operating the project. Most of EMI’s worldwide teams lead project trips, and the project post will indicate which EMI team is operating that project.

In addition to volunteers, EMI project trips are commonly attended by one or more EMI design professional interns. Interns support the project fieldwork and also project production work during their EMI internship after the trip. Certain project trips may be attended by other EMI design staff to assist the project team during and after the trip.

On each team, EMI also seeks to include volunteer professionals who are from the country or region where the project is located. These Local Design Professionals help guide and inform the team’s design work so that it is appropriate to the locality.

Prior to the trip, the EMI Project Leader will facilitate team introductions and send a packet of information specific to the trip, as well as a final trip itinerary. It is common for EMI team members to be meeting and working together for the first time on a project trip. Because of this, each trip begins with an opening meeting, which is a time for the team to get to know each other, share how God came into their life and brought them to EMI. Likewise, at the end of the trip, a team closing meeting gives each team member space to debrief and share what God has showed them during the trip. The EMI project trip experience centers around both these aspects: Using design skills to help people and communities as well as experiencing God through team testimonies and the work of the partner ministry.

Time spent on-location for a project is critical. The main tasks are to understand the vision of the ministry and to gather all the relevant site information. Architects will work with the ministry to develop a programme/brief for master planning and building design. Surveyors will do all site measurements and create a topo survey before leaving the site. Engineers will gather information on current water / wastewater / structural systems so as to advise the ministry on how to improve systems in place and what should be used for new buildings. There will be multiple review meetings to check that the design is going in a direction the partner ministry is comfortable with. This consultation typically concludes with a presentation of the design work for the partner ministry.

Typical Items to Finish On-Location:

  • Site Survey Map
  • Site Masterplan
  • Architectural Floor Plan – Sketch Only
  • Architectural Master Plan – Sketch Only
  • Architectural Elevation – Sketch Only
  • Water Daily Demand
  • Water Storage Method and Amount Required
  • Anticipated Sewage Load and Disposal Method
  • Hand Auger Bores / Percolation Tests
  • Site Schematic for Water / Sewage / Rainwater / Etc. Services
  • Structural System / Materials to be used
  • List of Anticipated Drawings

After returning home, the volunteers will continue to work on their portion of the report and drawings until the design package is complete and ready to be published to the partner ministry.

The cost of an EMI project trip varies widely depending on destination and how far you are located from it.

 

Typically, the majority component of the trip cost is the round-trip flights involved in reaching the project destination. Additionally, all EMI offices apply volunteer fees to help defray project overhead costs. This helps us keep the costs of EMI technical assistance at a non-profit level for our partner ministries.

During the trip, the partner ministry is responsible for providing team meals, housing, and on-location transportation. Other costs to you may include passport/visa fees, travel/accident insurance, immunizations/travel clinic expenses, and incidental costs during transit and while on-location. Your final, detailed trip cost summary will be prepared before the project trip starts.

Ask the Project Leader for a trip cost estimate specific to your situation when expressing interest on a particular upcoming project.

Paying for the trip

Once you have been enrolled on a project team, you can pay for your trip in the following ways:

  1. Online Payments

    EMI accepts credit card, EFT, and other payment options in USD, CAD, and GBP at EMI USA, EMI Canada, and EMI UK respectively. Where applicable, these donations are tax-deductible.

    On the give page, choose "Give to a Trip Volunteer," and select your currency. Then, select or write in the name of the volunteer the donation should be applied toward.

  2. Check / Cheque / or Other Local Payments

    In the USA, make out and send your tax-deductible check to:

    Engineering Ministries International
    130 East Kiowa, Suite 200
    Colorado Springs, CO 80903

    Attach a SEPARATE note to the check indicating the trip volunteer’s name and the project name. Do not write directly on the check.

     

    In Canada, make out and send your tax-deductible cheque to:

    EMI Canada
    Suite 201 625-14th St NW
    Calgary, AB T2N 2A1

    Attach a SEPARATE note to the check indicating the trip volunteer’s name and project name. Do not write directly on the cheque.

    At other EMI locations, additional payment methods in the local currency may be available. To confirm this, contact your project leader.

  3. Fundraising for Your Trip

    EMI can receive tax-deductible contributions on your behalf to cover the costs of your trip. Trip volunteers can raise support from their own personal network of friends, churches, businesses, and associates. Donors to your project trip can use any of the above payment methods.

    You can also create your own trip campaign page with a built-in donate online button at emiworld.org to facilitate fundraising. Contact your project leader for more information.

Select your professional discipline below to learn how you could be involved on an EMI project trip.
Agricultural Engineer

While Agricultural Engineers usually specialize in one or more of five major areas, when EMI requests the assistance of an Agricultural Engineer we are typically looking for someone with understanding of Natural Resource Engineering.

If your experience is in water distribution systems, on-lot sewage systems, or storm water systems then look to see if you could meet the need presented for Civil Engineers.

If you have more experience in the Buildings and Internal Environments area then you should consider fulfilling our Structural Engineer needs. If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey. If you are capable in Surveying then please inform the Project Leader of your experience too.

Architect

Many EMI projects will have a small team of Architects made up of one or more lead Architects and one or more junior Architects. For a lead Architect, the project leader is often looking to see if you have experience in master planning or basic floor plan design for one to two story buildings. You will need to provide an architectural program and schematic design for floor plans, elevations, and sections, but there won't be a need for much detailing. The master planning needs on a typical EMI trip consist of circulation of site and building layout. It is often necessary to master plan incorporating phases for long term planning. Skills in a drafting program (Autocad, Archicad, etc) or three dimensional computer modelling (Sketchup, Rhino, etc) are helpful but not required - drafting by hand works well also.

If you have an Architectural degree then you can most likely travel as a junior Architect assuming there will be a Lead Architect on the team.

It would not be uncommon for an Architect to have 20-40 hours of additional design work after the trip for a basic EMI trip.

Architectural Engineer

Where you can serve on an EMI trip will depend on your specialty in Architectural Engineering. Find your specialty from this list or the list at the top of the page:

Architect, Electrical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Structural Engineer, Plumbing Designer etc.

Civil Engineer

Water/Wastewater
You may want to consider helping with water supply and wastewater disposal designs. Those designs are fairly simple for most EMI projects, and there are some good design resources available and you could do the water/wastewater designs for about 95% of our EMI projects. The only projects you would need to avoid would be ones that require extensive treatment of the water supply or ones with a very large quantity of wastewater (a university campus, a very large hospital) making a wastewater treatment plant necessary. If you don't feel comfortable doing water/wastewater designs by yourself, you can go on an EMI trip where another EMI engineer can teach you how to do the designs. Our project leaders can help you to find a trip that is right for you.

Surveying
If you had any training and experience in surveying you may be able to fulfil our mapping needs on a small simple site (less than 5 acres).

Site Grading
If you have experience with land development you can apply your skills well on an EMI project especially on site grading and drainage around the buildings.

Soils
Some basic test conducted on an EMI trip include: an analysis of soil types, soil percolation tests, and penetrometer tests. These are helpful in the water/wastewater design in the foundation design of the buildings. By familiarizing yourself on these tests you will sufficiently assist the team for the level of design needed.

Structural
If you have structural experience visit Structural Engineer.

Chemical Engineer

Chemical Engineers are rarely requested for EMI project trips. However, with your background in Chemical Engineering, you could do the water/wastewater designs for about 95% of our EMI projects. If you are interested in serving with us, check out the Water/Wastewater section under Civil Engineer.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Computer Engineer

While it is rare that EMI will recruit for a Computer Engineer, you can look for projects that may involve an internet café or school classroom where computers may be used, on larger institutional projects a computer engineer may be able to consult with the ministry IT staff to troubleshoot or improve systems.

Construction Manager

One option of traveling with EMI on a short-term trip as a Construction Manager would be if the project has a bigger scope with renovation aspects involved. In that case, you should contact the project leader of the trip and ask if your skills would be of use on their project. We design buildings like churches and schools. Often we need people who can work with local contractors and laborers to make certain things are built according to our plans and also to see that money is spent appropriately.

Construction managers are also sometimes utilized on short term design trips to ensure constructability of the design, prepare cost estimates and investigate local building materials and construction practices.

Drafter

Most EMI project teams need a drafter, even if that position is not listed as one of the team "needs" on our website or e-mail updates. If you are familiar with AutoCAD and you can bring a laptop computer, you would be a valuable member of most EMI teams. If you see an interesting EMI project, please contact the project leader to ask if the team needs a drafter.

Electrical Engineer & Power/Controls

Many of our projects involve the design of a church, school, or other facility in a remote location. We need electrical engineers to design simple power supply, circuit wiring layout, and distribution systems typically for one or two story buildings. In addition, we often need electrical engineers to prepare lighting and power plans for buildings where utility power is available at the project site.

If you feel you do not have the experience needed to fulfil the Electrical Engineer volunteer position, feel free to contact the project leader for electrical design resources. There are also many trips where an experienced professional would be honored to help train you in the work necessary. You could go on one or two EMI trips to get training; then you would be ready to serve as a lead Electrical Engineer on EMI teams.

Environmental Engineer

The typical need for an Environmental Engineer on an EMI trip is for design of water/wastewater systems. This description is under the Civil Engineer category.

Also, if you have general Civil Engineering training you can check out the Civil Engineer description to see if there are other aspects of the design such as soils, surveying, and site grading in which you can assist.

Environmental Science Technician

Environmental Science Technician are rarely requested for EMI project trips. However, with your background in Chemical Engineering, you could do the water/wastewater designs for about 95% of our EMI projects. If you are interested in serving with us, check out the Water/Wastewater section under Civil Engineer.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Geologist

If you have experience with ground water and soils, you are valuable on most of our design trips. Typically we generalize this need by requesting the help of Civil Engineers who will manage much of the water and wastewater needs and can look into the soil characteristics. However, a Geologist with experience could fit the need just as well. For more details, check out the Civil Engineer description.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Geotechnical Engineer

If you have experience with ground water and soils, you are valuable on most of our design trips. Typically we generalize this need by requesting the help of Civil Engineers who will manage much of the water and wastewater needs and can look into the soil characteristics. However, a Geotechnical Engineer with experience could fit the need just as well. For more details, check out the Civil Engineer description.

If you have experience with structures you may be able to help assess building systems. Check out Structural Engineer for more.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Geotechnical Engineers usually work on EMI projects that involve special foundation or stability problems. For example, some sites present evidence of soil problems, such as existing buildings that are heavily cracked or out-of-level. Steep sites may have slope stability issues. Any projects that involve rivers may include bridge crossings or erosion. Seismicity must be addressed in many places where EMI works, such as Central America, the Caribbean, India, and East Africa, among others.

EMI disaster response teams work in earthquake and hurricane-prone regions where slope stability, structural issues, tsunamis, river migration, and flooding normally have strong geotechnical components. The Geotechnical Engineer is likely to be called upon to recommend safe locations for new buildings and to assess the safety of damaged buildings.

Many Geotechnical Engineers have acquired experience with hydrology and hydrogeology that are very useful for location or improvement of water wells and springs. Experience has shown that a willingness to pitch in always results in plenty of work, assisting with surveying or drafting if the geotechnical problems have been addressed.

The tools normally used by Geotechnical Engineers in western countries will probably not be available, and you will be challenged to find creative ways to assess subsurface conditions. Hand dug pits may be your best available exploration tool, for example. You will also need to acquire geological maps and evaluate the effects of climate to help you anticipate unfamiliar conditions. Local construction techniques and materials must be evaluated while in country.

Graphic Designer

If you have a solid understanding of the Adobe Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator) and you can bring a laptop computer with these programs then you can serve as a Graphic Designer on a project trip with EMI. Many large scope projects (for example, projects that include master planning) could benefit from the assistance of a Graphic Designer even if that position is not listed as one of the requested team position on our website or e-mail updates. If you see an interesting EMI project with a large scope and a need for a fundraising packet, contact the project leader to ask if the team needs a Graphic Designer.

Much of the work needed by a Graphic Designer is for a completed Fundraising Packet. After the trip, you could be an assist in the project report design, along with the graphics on the summary page and in certain parts of the written report.

If you are also proficient at Photography, you can help communicate your project and EMI in general pictorially.

HVAC Designer

EMI projects primarily only need HVAC design if the ministry wants to build a hospital or if the project is located in colder climate regions.

Hydrogeologist

Typically, we do not list volunteer hydrogeologist opportunities. However, in reading our project descriptions, you may want to watch for a ministry with large property that is located in rural areas. If a project like that needs a Civil Engineer to design a water supply system contact the mission trip recruiter and ask if the team needs help determining the feasibility and best location for a well. You will find that many of the projects need your help even though they did not include a hydrogeologist on their list of team needs.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Interior Design

If your degree's focus is on space planning and is clearly tied to Architecture, consider looking for a complex project such as a hospital, a multi-story building, or a project involving a large program on a small site to assist the Architecture team. Also, consider joining an EMI team as a Drafter if you are familiar with AutoCAD.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Landscape Architect and Planner

We occasionally have projects where we specifically recruit a landscape architect typically involving vegetation and agriculture or potentially for a retreat center. While most of projects do not list a landscape architect as one of the team needs, we often prepare a master plan for a property, and most EMI architects would be very happy to have a landscape architect to help with the site planning and color rendering of the site master plan. When you look at our list of project trips, please feel free to contact a project leader to inquire about joining the design team for any project that looks interesting to you even if that project does not specifically request a landscape architect.

Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineers normally serve on our project teams as a HVAC Designer and/or a Plumbing Designer for buildings, but we occasionally need other Mechanical Engineering skills. If you cannot find a project that needs a volunteer with your work experience, there are two other ways that you could serve with our organization:

  1. If you know AutoCAD, you could serve on one of our teams as a Drafter. We have AutoCAD templates that will allow you to work on the architectural and civil engineering drawings even if your work experience is doing other types of drawings. Most EMI teams need a drafter, even if we do not list that position as one of our team needs for a particular project. If you could bring a laptop with AutoCAD, you would be extremely valuable to most EMI teams.
  2. If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.
Photographer

Photographers are usually welcome on EMI project trips to take on photo assignments for EMI and sometimes for the partner ministry. As a photographer, you can help capture the story of the EMI team’s work and the people it will benefit. Photographers may also be asked to take on article assignments for EMI or conduct interviews during the project trip.

Planner, Urban Planner

Much of urban planning relates to social and city design, but rarely is EMI presented with that kind of need. However, about half of our projects involve the challenge of planning a large-scale campus. If you're interested in that kind of challenge check out the description for a Landscape Architect to see if you can fit that role on an EMI trip.

Plumbing Designer

As a Plumbing Designer consider joining an EMI project that involves a water pipeline, a health care project such as a hospital, or a multi-stories project such as a school.

Solar Engineer

As a Solar Engineer consider joining an EMI project in North Africa, Middle East, or Central Asia where there is no municipal power at the project site.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Structural Engineer

Typically a Structural Engineer on an EMI trip will be requested to design for only a one or two story building, however the system will probably be unique to what you usually design. In the places EMI typically travels, the system is confined masonry, simple form design or most likely concrete, steel, and masonry. You will provide a simplified or schematic structural design. If you are licensed in building design then you can design most EMI projects. If you are not licensed you can still travel on an EMI trip but you should notify the project leader that you would like to travel as an assistant to a Structural Engineer with more experience. Often times a young Structural Engineer can learn design development from someone more experienced while assisting with much of the newer computer manipulation that the experienced engineer may not accustomed with.

If you are not used to doing building design but rather are experienced with industrial structural design then you should look for projects that request that type of structural engineer specifically. However, if you have some building design experience you may be able to handle a simple one-story design.

Structural Engineer - Bridge Designer

If you are not used to doing building design then you should look for projects that request a bridge designer structural engineer specifically. However, if you have some building design experience you may be able to handle a simple one-story design as a Structural Engineer.

Surveyor

For surveying on EMI projects, it helps to think in terms of preparing a map of the project site, versus a full-scale topographic survey. Master planning is the foundation of most EMI projects and to meet this need on a larger site it is important to capture the property corners and shape of the site, existing structures, and significant features like roads, water features, large trees, and tree lines. You will NOT be doing a boundary or legal survey. You will be providing a map that the EMI team will use for design.

Survey Assistant

If you are interested in learning how to be a part of the survey team then ask the Project Leader for your trip if you can assist the surveyor in mapping the property. As a Survey Assistant, you may be the Rodman, work the Total Station, visually survey the site by photographing necessary features, or do as-builts.

Sustainable Building Design

Someone with expertise in designing an energy efficient and sustainable building can be an asset on an EMI team specifically for hospital projects and any large campus where we were doing an evaluation and updated master plan. Also, consider smaller projects where the ministry wanted to focus more on natural ventilation and lighting. The areas you would want to consider are saving electricity, heat ventilation in buildings, lighting (using sunlight whenever possible), energy efficient materials (if available and cost effective), and efficiently using the water resources available. Although this may not be described in the project needs specifically, feel free to contact the project leader for these types of projects or others you feel would be appropriate.

Transportation Engineer

Most EMI projects do not have transportation needs involved, except in the occasional bridge design. See Structural Engineer - Bridge Designer for more on bridge design needs. Otherwise, your general Civil Engineering training will come in handy on EMI trips. You can check out the Civil Engineering description, which is more commonly requested on EMI trips.

If you see an interesting project where we will be surveying more than 10 acres of land, we may need an extra engineer as a Survey Assistant. Surveying in tropical climates is hard work, and we often need able-bodied people to help survey.

Videographer

On certain trips a Videographer may be requested to create a short promotional video for EMI or for the partner ministry about the project. Even without a specific video assignment for a project, a videographer might participate as a team Photographer, take on article assignments, or conduct interviews during the trip.

Water Resources Engineer

If you have a general Civil Engineer training you can check out the Civil Engineering description, which is more commonly requested on EMI trips.

Water/Wastewater Engineer

If you have a general Civil Engineer training you can check out the Civil Engineering description, which is more commonly requested on EMI trips.

 

Don’t see your discipline? Ask us about it at info@emiworld.org.

Don’t think you have the experience needed to fulfill the lead volunteer spot in your discipline on a trip?

Go ahead and express interest in the trip, making note of your experience level. Many EMI trips take on lead and assistant volunteers in the same discipline. And EMI’s discipleship focus means that our more experienced, veteran volunteer professionals are looking for opportunities to mentor and train other professionals.

Please select your currency:

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EMI presently accepts donations in these currencies at EMI UK, EMI Canada, EMI South Africa, EMI USA respectively. Where applicable, donations made to EMI are tax-deductible.

Please select a payment method:

Electronic Funds Transfer Credit Card

Please consider Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) as your payment option. Compared with Credit Cards, EFT (or e-check) significantly reduces EMI's overhead costs for donation processing.