Our Projects

Our social action projects will mostly originate from the Pacific Island Nations, which remain highly
vulnerable to natural disasters and unexpected events.

Reinstatement of Lomainikoro Pedestrian Suspension Bridge


The community of Lomanikoro Bua, located on the Island of Vanua Levu in Fiji has reached out for assistance to reinstate a fallen bridge damaged two years ago. The suspension bridge constructed in the 1970’s was suitable for infrequent use, as the population in the surrounding communitiesaccessing the bridge was relatively insignificant compared to the present population statistics.

As increasing number of people started using the bridge, the bridge design capacity was stressed beyond the design safety limits. As a result of the overbearing loads, the bridge structural integrity was significantly reduced and eventually the bridge collapsed in 2015.

Without the pedestrian bridge in place, the entire community is facing extreme difficulties in accessing schools, groceries store, and the main transport feeder road connecting to hospital, markets and other essential services. Ever since the suspension bridge collapsed, students of Naikavaki College, a year 9 –year 13 High School have had to take an extended one and half hour road trip via a road service lorry to commute to school and then travel back home after school. The long journey through the bumpy and dusty roads makes the journey to school and back home unpleasant, with most students arriving at school tired before even the lessons begin in school. Majority of the villagers and people from the neighboring settlements are farmers and depend heavily on selling their cash produce at primary market in the islands township. Without the ease of access to the road transport the entire communities’ livelihood has been disrupted.

The principal of the Naikavaki College, which is most affected school due to the bridge failure, Mr.Hemant Kumar stated “during heavy rain students cannot come to school because of flooding in the low-lying places along the long route taken by the vehicles. When the bridge along the vehicle route gets flooded, students have no option but to stay back and miss classes. On 6th February 2017, the attendance for Naikavaki College was 48% (i.e. 87/181) as students could not cross the flooded river.It is not only the students but sick and elderly in the community are also affected as they cannot cross the flooded river to go to Nabouwalu or Labasa Hospital. The vehicle route is not only tiring but expensive for people as they must hire a transport to reach their preferred destination. The construction of a new bridge would enhance the economic activity as people will be able to take their produce to the market. It would become cheaper and easier to take the sick and elderly to the hospital.People will also have easy access to public services and students will easily reach their respective schools without taking a tiring journey by RSL vehicle. Students will also get a chance to spend more time in school and more importantly, they can access the learning facilities at the school in the evening. Villagers will have more options when it comes to buying groceries as they can get access to more shops to choose from and they can also visit their farm which is on the opposite side of the river.”


The proposed bridge building project will take a real-world problem that a community in Fiji is facing and use the fundamentals of engineering design process to evaluate, define, plan and implement the solution with other participating Victorian schools, universities, communities and business.

This is an opportunity for schools and students to seek inclusive engagement from the broader community to encourage student participation which will encourage engagement, participation and collaboration in a student’s life- long learning journey.


The Bridge building project template will be developed to include the core areas where schools, students, teachers, and the community will see the relevance in both social and academic outcome. Goal Lesson will focus on how bridges are designed, engineered to withstand such high loads and at times when loads that multiplies due to unexpected events, while being resilient, and in some cases visually pleasing. Students will work in teams to evaluate, design and construct a bridge out of various materials, after researching and inquiring about the most suitable material to use for their bridge model.

Learning Outcomes:

Engineering defines a problem and takes a methodical approach in finding a solution by involving all stakeholders.By using the fundamentals of engineering design process, students will be introduced to:

  • Problem based learning or Challenge based learning

  • Effective communication

  • Critical thinking

  • Collating information via inquiry and defining a problem

  • Engaging collaboratively with peers, educators, parents, communities and mentors

  • Researching, developing and documenting an idea

  • Presentation of ideas to get the user acceptance

  • Sharing ideas with other team members in the project group

  • Analyzing your finding based on factual data

  • Validating the final solution

  • Sustainability and reuse


Value engineering a design and design’s fitness for purpose and design integrity should also be considered to ensure there is no budget overruns while still achieving their project goals.

Students then evaluate the effectiveness of their own bridge designs, with industry engineering mentors and academics and those from other participating schools, and present their individual project at a STEM for Social Action Event towards term three of Victorian schools academic calendar. All specific areas of the learning outcome will be further expanded via collaborative engagement with academics,industry experts and teachers to align student outcome with a specific curriculum objective.


A STEM for Social Action Award Program for schools are also being discussed with relevant stakeholders, which will be communicated to the Department of Education Victoria in term two of the 2017 Victorian school calendar .

The Damaged Suspension Bridge
Engineering Design Process


The Island Koro is a volcanic island of Fiji that forms part of the Lomaiviti Archipelago. The Koro Sea is named after this volcanic island, which has a chain of basaltic cinder cones extending from north to south along its crest. With a land area of 105.3 square kilometers, it is the seventh largest island of Fiji. Its latitude is 17.18°; its longitude is 179.24°. Its population in 1960 was around 2,500.As of 2007 around 4,500 Fijians lived on the island, in 14 villages. On 20th February 201 6, a category five tropical cyclone Winston devastated the Pacific Island Nation of Fiji. With winds gusts reaching 330km per hour, the cyclone on its path destroyed schools,buildings, roads, hospitals and infrastructure. A visit to Kade Village School and the Kade village in June 2016 confirmed the severity of the devastation left behind by Cyclone Winston. Kade Village School and the Kade Village is located on the coastal line of South West Koro, which is considered, as a settlement of high exposure to storm surges, tidal waves and Tsunami’s. Kade village school fell to the gusty winds of Tropical Cyclone Winston, with the school’s six classrooms being destroyed. The entire Island’s population was displaced by the calamity and in total, 26 people lost their lives as high winds and tidal waves washed away villages and settlements close to the coastal areas.

Almost 80 percent of the residential dwellings were swept away, which left most of the island’s population sheltering in tents and makeshift sheds to date. Children are still known to be suffering from post-traumatic disorder, while the tented classrooms are less than the required conditions for classroom learning. The 35 degree Celsius plus temperature in hot humid tropical conditions makes the tent classroom unbearable, and with the afternoon torrential downpour, the tents gets flooded, forcing the children to return home. A significant number of children on Koro Island who lost homes, schools, parents, family members, friends, neighbors have never experienced such a devastating cyclone that flattened the entire island. There were quite several children and adolescents who were directly exposed to the turbulent cyclonic wind and tidal waves, which have affected their emotional and psychological wellbeing. The traumatic experience that have impacted a child or adolescence after such an event may have a lasting imprint, and may have a short or long term effect on the child’s development.


Children exposed to such traumatic events will need continual support from their parents and teachers in a calm, caring, and supportive environment to assist young children towards healing from their traumatic exposure. The schooling environment is one place where children can be reunited with their peers to support their recovery. Every effort should be made to reinstate the school to its pre-cyclone status or better, a school which does not mirror the destruction and impact of the cyclone. 


A post Cyclone Winston survey of the Island revealed that most of the parts of the Islands dwellings and schools were located very close to the coastal line, vulnerable to future to storm surges, tidal waves and Tsunami’s. A geological survey has recommended for the community and Kade Village School to be moved to high grounds to reduce exposure to future natural disasters. A holistic action plan incorporating the engineering design process in planning, designing, evaluating and implementing the most sustainable, cost effective and resilient design for Kade Village School will be

The model school project provides a wide array of opportunities for schools, universities,communities and industry partners for a collaborative engagement to develop a STEM ecosystem embracing 21 st century teaching and learning outcome for all stakeholders.The model school project template will be developed to include the core areas where schools, students, teachers, and the community will see the relevance in both social and academic outcome. Goal Lesson will focus in designing of resilient building structures, engineered to withstand category five (300km/hr plus) cyclonic wind loads.

Students will work in teams to evaluate, design and construct model building structures using the most appropriate material and design philosophy on an inquiry based learning program. This project also provides students an opportunity to engage and frame a 21 st century learning model, as a case study to imagine, and create a model school of the future. A school that will engage students with personal and authentic learning experience. This, by connecting students who will be able to aspire and investigate creative solutions to the biggest challenges in education.


  • Learn about Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement

  • Learn about natural disaster preparedness and recovery programs

  • Learn about environmental consideration when building on greenfield sites

  • Learn about sustainable designs

  • Learn basic application of engineering

  • Learn about engineering design process

  • Learn about Value engineering and basic quantity survey.

  • Learn project planning, management and basic construction.

  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups

Learning Outcomes:

  • Formation of a Cyclone, how does a cyclone develop Wind Speeds related to various categories of cyclones

  • The Wind loads on a building and how a building reacts to the wind loading

  • A basic house design and its various elements

  • Primary Loads to consider when designing a building

  • Basic Shapes and Geometry best suited for designing resilient structures

  • Forces and Motion (Vectors and Newton’s Law of Motion)

  • Basic Structural Engineering Principles (Primary Loads, Secondary Loads and the Nature of loads)

  • Soil Bearing Capacity

  • Basics Design of Renewable Energy Systems Project Management Basics



  • Learn about Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement

  • Learn basic application of engineering

  • Learn about engineering design process

  • Learn project planning, management and basic construction.

  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups

Reinstatement of Kade Village School

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