Today we got properly started on creating the workshops with the Rwandan team of university students and high school graduates.
The morning started with some fun team building games which were actually suggested by the high school girls. We were so impressed by how engaged they were from the onset!
After a quick introduction from Ellen into what the FemEng in Rwanda project will involve, we split into groups according to the engineering discipline that we study and discussed what our courses involve, why we enjoy them and our future aspirations. We then had a competition where we attempted to “sell” our engineering discipline with a small presentation to the high school graduates, who voted on which course they wanted to study the most. This exercise was great fun as everyone was very enthusiastic and engaged well with the young girls in order to capture their interest.
After this, we taught the girls a bit about Scotland and our culture and taught them how to ceilidh dance.
In the afternoon, we began some prototype workshop activities, looking at real life problems and how we can solve them.
The first problem was the Grenfell Tower disaster and how to best deal with the remaining unsafe tower blocks and the people who live in them. The solution that the group came up with was to put the residents into small groups and temporarily rehome them while the flats were being brought up to standard in manageable sections.
The second problem was looking into ways to help women deal effectively with disruptions to their daily life due to their menstrual cycle. The group came up with an idea for an App/Text message service called “PADDY” which women can use to access sanitary towels and painkillers when they don’t have any. The app would use location data to send out alerts to other women in the area who could help out other women in “emergency” situations when they don’t have easy access to sanitation products. The team then developed this idea to include a text service which would provide these benefits to those who don’t own smartphones.
The third problem was discovering ways to improve water sanitation and clean water availability. The group proposed to design a solar powered water pump that has a sensor mechanism that can be triggered when a jerry can is placed under the tap. This would reduce water waste and power consumption.
The last problem was looking at how to improve the internet in Rwanda. The team focused on how the internet can improve society. Their solution was creating an online database of the medical history of people in Rwanda, so that in an emergency, doctors could have immediate access to a patient’s blood type, allergy information, pre-existing medical conditions etc.
It was a fantastic start to the project and we had a great time getting to know the Rwandan team! We are very excited to work with the girls in the upcoming weeks.