FemEng Rwanda Launch, 22nd March 2017

As our journey to Rwanda draws closer, our excitement grows. Our collaborators, supporters and friends (new and old of course) gathered at our launch event last Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, to cheer us on as we explored our vision and goals for the project.

It was indeed a good evening of canapés, drinks and networking with good representation from the University of Glasgow, industry and lovers of engineering.

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After a few minutes of meeting people, looking at posters from #FemEnginRwanda2016 and rehydrating, John Briggs, the international Dean for Africa at the University of Glasgow opened the event with some insight into Glasgow University’s collaborations and projects in Africa and the strength of FemEnginRwanda as a student-led programme .

Nina Richards, the outgoing president of FemEng shared the overall focus of the society and provided highlights and outcomes from the #FemEnginRwanda 2016 outreach. It was indeed great to hear about the journeys the girls on team from the 2016 project, from Rwanda and Glasgow, have taken since then.

Ellen Simmons, project manager for #FemEnginRwanda2017 proceeded by expounding on the exciting additions to the programme for this year. First is the enhancement of student development through a partnership with an African-based organisation, initiative for advancement of education in Africa (iaeAfrica); collaboration with AfriPads, a social business based in Uganda, to provide reusable sanitary pads to address practical problems menstruation poses to education; and a career-building alliance with Zipline, a company that uses drones to deliver medical supplies across Rwanda.

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Ellen also explained that unlike last year, boys will be admitted into the workshops to allow for inclusive access. She covered some practical needs and options for funding and supporting the project and the team this year ranging from financial resources. If this is an option you’re exploring, get in touch and let’s get planning!

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Written by Jumai Aboye (pictured, above right), PhD in Biomedical Engineering at University of Glasgow and FIR Team Member 2017

(Remember you can always get in contact with the team by emailing femengrwanda@gmail.com.)

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FemEng Rwanda 2017 Launch!

With a new team and planning well underway for the year, FemEng Rwanda are set to launch their project in 2017. We would love to see our supporters and collaborators on Wednesday 22nd March, 5-7pm in the Wolfson Medical Building so please see the invite below for details on how to come along!

 

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This year we have a number of exciting additions to our project and a wider range of disciplines and backgrounds to work with, and we are looking forward to showing how we plan to improve FemEng Rwanda equipped with the knowledge and experience taken from our previous year.

Keep an eye on the Facebook and Twitter for updates as well, otherwise we hope to see you on the 22nd.

 

FemEng Rwanda Team 2017

Here it goes again!

Last night saw the launch of our FemEng in Rwanda 2017 applications for the new team. This launch followed the appearance of the 2016 team at University of Glasgow’s TED Society “International Spotlight” event, where they received the opportunity to talk about our project and visions for the new year following our successful inaugural run.

Applications are accessible via the following link: FemEng Rwanda 2017 Application Form

Although applications are limited to University of Glasgow students, this year we are open to applications from disciplines aside from engineering, who believe they could be a valuable asset to the team. Evidently many of our tasks this year were not engineering-related – such as logistics and accounting – hence the decision to be less restrictive with our intake.

Additionally, we are planning on having a strong team “on the ground” in Glasgow, who would not travel to Kigali but would be on-hand to assist the travelling members of the team and available to help us with any necessary jobs in Glasgow whilst we are away.

Expect to see a mixture of old and new faces – many of the 2016 team are unable to travel to Kigali a seond time, but will remain involved in the planning. So get applying – the deadline is not until Friday 13th January 2017!

We have also had a video made about the project by Natasha Quinn from University of Glasgow Media Team. This video can be viewed by clicking the link below. We love it!

FemEng in Rwanda 2016 Promotional Video

Over the past few months we have re-connected with most of the schools that participated in the workshops in Rwanda, and received a number of positive emails indicating the gratitude of the staff and pupils. Many have found our social media pages and are really happy to see the photos of their school’s experience. We hope to maintain this contact until our return in summer 2017.

Looking forward to seeing the applications coming in – there are already a few – and the new team will be announced at the end of January 2017. Exciting times ahead!

GRAB Lunch: 1/11/16

Last week we were invited to present a short talk on FemEng in Rwanda amongst a couple of other speakers for a GRAB lunch focusing on Africa. GRAB events are informal working lunches for University staff to provide regional briefings on international partnership and recruitment activity.

Three of us went along to present – Nina Birchard, Christie Sherlock and Beck Hunter. The talk went well and we were all so thankful to have been given the opportunity to speak about our time in Africa and what we hoped for the future of the project. We had many warm responses and met with some fantastic people involved in working with Africa based projects.

Professor John Briggs, International Dean for Africa, and Katy Scott, Senior International Officer were the other two speakers. Professor John Briggs presented an overview of the Global Challenges Research Fund while Katy Scott discussed African Student Mobility Trends.

We were delighted to attend this event and talk about our experiences, watch the other presentations and gain further insight into the University’s relationship with Africa. The networking opportunity offered during this event also gave us some useful connections for the future.

Stay tuned for more updates from the team soon!

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Annual Report 2016

We’ve finally finished our Annual Report for this year, and are really happy to be able to share it with our supporters. Please email femengrwanda@gmail.com if you wish to request a copy! There are soft and hard copies available.

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In other news, an EDM (Early Day Motion) was recently lodged in the UK Parliament in support of our work: https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2016-17/500

Although these EDMs are not often brought into debate, it is amazing to know that our project has been publicised here and hopefully will bring in some further interest.

Half of the FemEng Glasgow Team were lucky enough to attend the IESIS James Watt Dinner 2016 last weekend, hosted by Karen Dinardo and featuring the new inductees to the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame. Speakers included Sir Duncan Michael (Arup) and James Goodfellow, inventor of the ATM and PIN!

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Susan Scurlock of Primary Engineer was also awarded an Honourary Fellowship of IESIS, and the team were able to meet her daughter Jennifer who leads Primary Engineer activities in Scotland. Future collaborations are planned with FemEng and Primary Engineer working together to enhance the work of both organisations.

In Glasgow we will be holding an information session soon for individuals interested in joining the 2017 team, with applications before Christmas. Until then, the FemEng committee are pursuing their other initiatives in Scotland and Dublin.

 

FemEng in ScotParl: 28th Sep ’16

Months of anticipation and planning are over for our Holyrood Reception. In a beautiful setting surrounded by their supporters, the Glasgow team presented their work through photos and videos of the time in Rwanda, sharing real conversations and showing the true impact of this project.

dsc_5569dsc_5486copy-of-dsc_5471The audience were able to hear from each of us (bar Magda, who is currently in training for her new job in NYC), covering various aspects of the project, from descriptions of the workshops to a breakdown of their costs. The cultural dynamics of the teams were also discussed and we rounded the talks off with the plans for 2017. A key point to take from the presentation was that through the attention FemEng has received from the Rwanda project, activities in Glasgow have been enhanced, and a new branch of FemEng created in Dublin.

A detailed report of the FIR project so far will become available next week, giving more in-depth information that could not be covered during the presentations. This will be free to download and the instructions on how to do this will be posted at the time.

Special thanks first to CH2M, our first official sponsor of the project who kindly donated funds to assist with catering costs at both our launch event and this reception.

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Secondly, Sandra White MSP (Kelvin) who enabled us to host this event kindly opened the evening and subsequently lodged a Motion within the Scottish Parliament calling for commendation of the project.

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A great deal of encouragement was received from those who ventured out in the rain to see us, and we look forward to following up with the ideas that were shared that night. It is clear that the FemEng mission is definitely a worthy one, and can only grow into bigger and better things as time goes on.

Please direct any questions or suggestions to femengrwanda@gmail.com. Don’t forget about our Twitter and Facebook too!

Warm Regards from the FIR Glasgow Team 2016

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Countdown to Holyrood!

With just over a week until the FemEng Rwanda team present their work to a room full of their supporters, preparations are finishing up for the big day. Term has just begun for most of the group but they are working hard to make sure the evening runs smoothly. Expect exciting things!

A full report of the FemEng Rwanda journey will also be ready for public consumption, giving details about the project from beginning to present. This will be available in both hard and soft copy versions.

For anyone not registered yet, please let us know ASAP via our Eventbrite: femengrwandareception.eventbrite.co.uk

Further information on visiting the Scottish Parliament is available here: information_for_guests

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Please send us a message if you have any questions! We’re all so excited to be able to hold our reception in such a great venue and meet people who are interested in our work.

Regards,
The FemEng in Rwanda Team

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Back in action!

Despite the seemingly endless long summer days, term-time is creeping up on us and it’s getting to be time for the FIR teams to pull their socks up and get back to business. Some exciting things are in the timeline!

Parliamentary Reception

Everything has been confirmed for our post-trip reception in the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood (Edinburgh). Sponsored by Sandra White MSP (Kelvin) the evening has already attracted a lot of interest from a variety of parties, and looks to be filling up nicely. The Glasgow team plan to present a breakdown of the project so far with photographs and videos, as well as providing hard copies of their report. CH2M are once again covering the catering, so it looks to be a great night! See below for details, any interest is welcome as long as you RSVP to the email address given.

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As the reception is going to have to be held in Edinburgh, the Glasgow team are also looking to host another event in Glasgow, but this is TBC.

IESIS James Watt Dinner 2016

Another evening for the Glasgow team to look forward to is the annual IESIS James Watt Dinner in October. We have been invited along and allocated some time to speak during the dinner, as well as being given a stall for us to use as a display and allow people to hear more about the project. In addition, we are having our photographs displayed on the big screen before the dinner, and a page in the programme for us to write about who we are.

This is a great opportunity for the team to bump heads with industry and organisations alike who may take an interest in our work, and IESIS are keen for us to promote ourselves at the event. Hopefully we will not only be able to widen our general audience and bring more attention to the cause, but this also provides a platform for us to make further links with interested partners.

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In other news, we are very proud of our recent university graduates from the Rwandan team at KIST, URwanda:

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(L-R: Confidence [Mechanical & Energy], Alice [Civil], Denyse [Electrical & Electronics], Pascascie [Mech & Energy])

Sadly this means the girls will probably be too busy being qualified engineers to be able to help us again next year, but we are very proud of them and hope to work with them again in the future.

Otherwise, we are in the process of preparing follow-up material for the schools we worked with in Rwanda and hope to have this sent out in the next month or so. These materials will contain information about what our workshops were about, the purpose of our visit and further information regarding education beyond high school in Rwanda or abroad.

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We hope to see some of you in September, if not another time, and we thank you for continuing to read about us and support the project.

 

Lots of love,

The FIR Team

 

 

 

A Summer Update from the FIR Glasgow Team

Now fully recovered from what turned out to be some of the most tiring weeks of our lives, the FemEng Glasgow team are looking to what our future holds. Although we achieved our initial goal this June, managing to administer career advice and practical activity workshops to over 500 young girls in Rwanda, there is so much more that can be done. With a year’s experience under our belts, the team are hopeful that next year holds amazing potential to outshine these achievements. Also, given the extent of positive feedback received before, during and after our visit to Kigali, it is clear that our mission is a sound one and that it serves a real purpose.

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After debriefing with John Briggs, the team are now working on compiling a solid report in time for our Parliamentary reception at the end of September. The aim of this document will be to inform sponsors and our other supporters about the details of the work so far – accounts, breakdowns of the practical activities, discussions about conversations we had with various different demographics, etc. – and copies will be available to take away or to order.

Further discussion has also to be had with Glasgow City Council and SmartSTEMS, as to how FemEng in Glasgow can be fully utilised to fulfil the needs of the young population here too. The response from the University of Glasgow and from the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow since our return has been great and we are confident our other sponsors will feel similarly.

For now – good luck to the FemEng members across the globe starting internships, graduate jobs and further study already. We do have day jobs as well you know! Further updates to come as things progress.

Lots of love,

The FemEng in Rwanda team

 

Happy #NWED2016 everyone!

The FIR team are back in Europe already – by the end of today we will have been in 5 different countries, but for now we are waiting for our final leg to take us back to bonny Scotland!

Although exhausted, all those involved in the project can reflect on how amazing the project was for everyone, and really how important what we are doing is for the girls we managed to meet with in the short time we were able to visit Rwanda. Now it’s time for a deep breath and a step back from the hustle and bustle of the project as we make the transition back into our Glasgow routine. Though our time in Rwanda has come to an end, there is a strong feeling among all team members that this is most certainly not the end of the project. You can take the girls out of Rwanda but you can’t take Rwanda out of the girls!

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