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Jengu handwashing at school Jengu handwashing at school

Community engagement

It is 50 years since Ove Arup identified the central importance of the humanitarian aspect of our work. We continue to prioritise socially valuable outcomes in both our commercial and community-facing work.
It is 50 years since Ove Arup identified the central importance of the humanitarian aspect of our work. We continue to prioritise socially valuable outcomes in both our commercial and community-facing work.

Today, working alongside a wide range of partner organisations, we use our technical and strategic capabilities to support the most disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised people in the world. Our community engagement programme aims to produce a more sustainably developed world, focusing on food security; clean and renewable energy; water and sanitation; improved shelter; and social mobility.

Whether it is empowering organisations tackling homelessness, designing products to improve handwashing in informal settlements or employing digital tools in disaster recovery, we constantly seek to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in the communities in which we live and work and beyond.

Humanitarianism implies a social conscience, a wish to do socially useful work, and to join hands with others fighting for the same values. ”

Ove Arup Sir Ove Arup Founder

Making an impact

Community engagement is inherently collaborative. We achieve the most impact when we define what we are trying to accomplish early on, in partnership with affected communities and local organisations. Measurement plays a key role and ensures we stay focused on the most effective interventions.

  • 195 Projects delivered in 2019-20
  • 42 Countries where projects delivered in 2019-20
  • 3+ SDGs contributed towards by each project on average

The power of partnership

Partnerships are central to effectiveness. They ensure we give the right support, at the right time, to the people who need it most. These deep and productive relationships are a chance to share knowledge with partners and help our own people grow through experience. We are always open to new, long-term strategic relationships that can improve the impact we produce.

Activating play in Khayelitsha Township, Cape Town

In too many societies today, play is struggling to find a place in the lives of children.

The informal settlements created by rapid urbanisation often result in austere, hazardous built environments, leading to low-play lives and ‘play poverty’.

In South Africa, we have been working in Khayelitsha Township, an informal suburb of Cape Town, to provide its children with safe and stimulating opportunities for play in the settlement’s public space.

Working with partners, and utilising our 'Urban Play Framework', we developed an activated play network linking outdoor courtyard hubs that are designed to stimulate social, emotional and cognitive skills.

Find out more

Project facts

  • 3 Safe, supervised play spaces designed to challenge specific cognitive skills
  • 200+ Children and caregivers engaged in multiple workshops

Responding to a global pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic has laid bare many social vulnerabilities – from poverty to food insecurity to lack of access to basic healthcare. Our members have been collaborating with partners to help address some of these frontline issues since the outbreak began.

Find out more about our response to COVID-19

Talk to us

Last year we worked with 200 partners ranging from international NGOs and local governments to community interest companies and local community organisations. If you would like to find out more or get involved, please get in touch.

Join us and shape a better world

Wherever you are in your career, we welcome creative and curious minds. Join us and shape a better world.