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On a Journey to Build and Serve

Monday, August 4, 2014

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A California construction expert with a global humanitarian mission is giving new meaning to the name “journeyman.”

Daniel Wiens, a journeyman and founder of the nonprofit Journeyman International, has spent the past five years building projects for charities and philanthropic organizations around the world.

Journeyman International

Daniel Wiens uses his journeyman expertise to help the world's needy through his non-profit, Journeyman International.

The Californian uses his expertise in construction and design to bring projects to life on multiple continents.

Philanthropic Beginnings

Wiens took on his first project outside the United States when he was a construction management student at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

There, he partnered with an architecture student to design and build a dental clinic in Belize.

Journeyman International

Wiens completed the first phase of his first project, a dental clinic is Belize, in 2010. Phase 2 is currently underway.

“After finishing that project, I was just sitting around thinking it was effective, we did a great job, and I bet there have to be other students who would love to do something like this,” Wiens told Starting Good, a podcast that reports on nonprofit innovators and social entrepreneurs.

“And that was really the birth of Journeyman International.”

Helping Those in Need

Five years in, Wiens now recruits students from top engineering and architecture schools for projects that take them to Cameroon, Haiti, Ghana and beyond.

The commitment isn’t small. Some projects keep students working in underdeveloped areas for a year or more.

Teams meet with local building officials, city councils, and clients to make all the pieces come together.

The organization conducts a feasibility study, researches, and creates a schematic design for all proposed projects. This helps to assess if projects can be constructed on their proposed locations and within the proposed budgets.

The team also practices sustainability, ensuring that projects are created with ecological, economic and social platforms in mind. 

76,000 Miles

The team at Journeyman International has had its hands full the last five years.

They’ve traveled 76,000 miles, worked with 31 students, and completed three projects and 12 project designs.

Journeyman International

Journeyman International completed Phase 1 of a Guadalajara orphanage in 2013.

The teams' projects include:

  • Uganda Business and Training Center, Ddegeya, Uganda;
  • Cameroon Think-Tank, Kumbo, Cameroon;
  • Philippines Orphanage, Training Center and Church, Manila, Philippines;
  • Espace Community Center,  Bukhubalo, Uganda;
  • Belize Dental Clinic, Independence, Belize;
  • Guadalajara Orphanage, Guadalajara, Mexico;
  • Bahir Dar Hospital, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia;
  • Community Development Center, Ndola, Zambia; and
  • Akatsi Secondary School, Akatsi District, Ghana.

Says Wiens: “A journeyman, by definition, is someone who has mastered a trade, and that’s what we aim to become—a team that has truly mastered the art of humanitarian architecture and construction."


Tagged categories: Architects; Building design; Building envelope; Construction; Green building; Health Care/Hospitals; Project Management

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