Sunday was an early rise for the team as we ventured to the Northern Province to visit IPRC Tumba College of Technology. The college was established to meet the industrial and social needs of Rwanda and offers courses in Alternative Energy, Electronics & Telecommunication and Information Technology. We received a tour of the college campus and facilities led by academic staff who are also keen to promote women in to STEM subjects. A few of our electronic/electrical engineering team members were particularly interested in the facilities Tumba has to offer.
After the visit, we headed to Lake Kivu, stopping off along the way to take pictures of volcanos and local scenery. Everyone, including our bus driver Gratien, enjoyed relaxing at beautiful Lake Kivu listening to traditional Rwandan music and mingling with locals. The majority of the team went on a boat ride together to watch the sunset – a lovely end to the day. The whole team enjoyed and appreciated some free time before getting back to school visits again on Monday.
Friday was a busy day for the team with two school visits planned. The morning visit to Kigali Christian School to engage with approximately 50 3rd year science students was a massive success. The headmaster was so impressed that he has invited us back to the school to work with younger students.
This visit was particularly inspiring and motivational as we met an incredible young student and strong advocate of empowering women, Ella Ginette. Ella, who is only 19 years old, is starting a group to encourage women to believe they can achieve, awaken leadership in them and to knowtheir rights, values and worth. She aims to impart values of dignity, discipline, self respect, commitment and creativity through talking at schools and hosting clubs and conferences. Ella is also aiming to inspire women to walk hand in hand, volunteer, fight for their rights and tackle local issues such as the high number of unwanted pregnancies. We plan to keep in contact with Ella and wish her all the success in her vision!
Our second school visit of the day was St Joseph Integrated Technical School which seen around 100 pupils engage with our workshops. Since this was a technical school, the majority of pupils were keen to learn more about mining, mechanical and civil engineering. However, they showed enthusiasm towards all of our workshops and asked how they could use their technical skills to get involved in engineering in the future.
To round off a busy day, the whole team got dressed up and hit the town to experience Rwandan nightlife.
Our second school visit brought us to King David Academy, a wonderful high school where we spoke to around 150 pupils. The workshops from all disciplines proved to be a great success, with lots of students asking questions and engaging in the activities.
We loved to hear from the pupils about their career aspirations and which areas of engineering interested them, we were pleased to hear many of them learnt more about particular disciplines from our workshops! As well as students, we enjoyed speaking to teachers who were eager to include more about general engineering in their lessons. Another great school visit and we look forward to many more!
The second half of our day was dedicated to learning more about the incredibly unfortunate past endured by the people of Rwanda, the Rwandan Genocide. The team took a trip to the Kigali Genocide Memorial and learned more the genocide and the historical facts around it. The memorial was very informative and a peaceful place to pay our respects to all those who suffered.
Today was the first day the team were able to deliver their workshops to school children, everyone was very excited and in high spirits. The school we were attending was named ‘SOS Children’s Village’ with over 200 students attending our workshops. It was a national public holiday for the people of Rwanda as it was their ‘Memorial Day’ so the upper students at the school delivered a short ceremony of opening speeches before the workshops begun.
The students approached each station in groups of roughly 10 and were very eager to get involved and ask questions. The team presented the posters and practical workshops to the students and felt they were very well received. The students asked many questions and left their email addresses to be contacted from the project in the future. From specifying various types of engineering, to informing them of the entry requirements for university and subjects they should consider studying at school the feedback was refreshing and positive all round. The student committee thanked us for visiting and wished us well for the remainder of our trip.
The team could not have been happier with the response considering this was our first school visit. Our spirits were high and we were excited to see what tomorrows school visit would bring. We all agreed it was a very successful day for the project.
The team had an extremely early start with our launch event scheduled for 7:30 am at the nearby business campus at University of Rwanda. Project leader Paula presented to senior management including Vice Chancellor Phil Cotton at the University of Rwanda, as well as the full FemEng in Rwanda 2018 team. Paula explained objectives for the 2018 team, touched on previous work and summarised the workshops our various teams will carry out while in Rwanda. Despite the early start, the entire team were left feeling motivated and raring to start presenting our workshops to Rwandan high school students!
Following breakfast Paula and Holly from the Glasgow team delivered a CV workshop to the full team. They outlined the layout, content and what employers look for in a good CV. The workshop was extremely helpful to both Glasgow and Rwandan teams.
Meanwhile Zainab from the Glasgow team and Alexia, Rwandan team leader, spent the day visiting various high schools in Kigali. After speaking to the staff at the high schools, they were able to organise many more school visits for the coming weeks. We look forward to visiting as many schools as possible while we are in Rwanda!
The team spent the morning finishing off the workshops in order to present to fellow teammates as a practice before the school visits. Everyone is excited to get the school children involved!
After lunch we had an afternoon of exploring both Rwandan and Scottish cultures. The Rwandan team dressed each of the Glasgow team with African head garments and displayed some of their traditional dances. The Glasgow team were feeling well practiced after their dance lesson the night before at the art centre, so were keen to participate. The Rwandan team were pleasantly surprised by our lack of rhythm.
It was then the Glasgow teams turn to show off some Scottish culture, so what better way than traditional ceilidh dancing. We demonstrated the ‘Dashing White Sargent’ and the Rwandan team had it perfected in no time. Everyone was really enjoying themselves. The team continued to dance afterwards but sadly there was little improvement on the Glasgow team’s rhythm.
Sunday morning seen the team split up for our day off as the Rwandan girls headed home and the Glasgow team attend the local church, St Etienne Anglican church, for their service. For most of the team, it was their first experience seeing a gospel choir sing live and everyone got involved. In fact, Hope and Holly were particularly welcomed as they were asked to join the choir! The team were also welcomed by members of the church with warm handshakes and greeting locals after the service.
The plan for the rest of the day involved sightseeing and exploring Kigali. The team were very sceptical about the method of transport to the Convention Centre – mototaxis. The mototaxi’s are the common form of transport locally, so the team ventured off in a convoy of 8 motorbikes in to town, racing each other along the way. When we arrived, we wandered alongside the Convention Centre and shopping centre nearby, taking in some beautiful sights and structures along the way, much to the civil engineering team member’s delights.
Our next stop, a short walk away, was the INEMA Arts Centre. The small building hosted a variety of resident artists, community projects and workshops. Inside the small quirky gallery featured distinct and colourful pieces of artwork, some made from recycled materials such as circuit boards, cans and bottles. Much to our delight and surprise, we arrived during a children’s dance class and got to watch as they performed! In fact, the children allowed us to dance with them after we perfected our moves with their instructor. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed dancing with the children and were grateful for their encouragement despite most of us having two left feet. After a day full of exploring and dancing, the team decided to head for bed early to refresh for returning to workshop preparations on Monday.
Our team have had a busy day hard at work. The different degree disciplines spent the day designing posters and activities to prepare for our upcoming presentations around different high schools in Rwanda. See what each team has been up to below.
Electrical and Aeronautical Engineering – Today was all about finishing the workshop posters and the final organisation of the activity. As a team, we are excited to deliver our workshop to school children. For our workshop, we plan to let the high school pupils design a circuit showing the applications of engineering used worldwide. We hope the school children enjoy our workshop and leave feeling inspired!
Civil Engineering – We have been working on two workshops that will teach the children about structural design and urban planning using classroom materials. One workshop involves building structural towers using only masking tape and straws, while the other allows the children to design their own city from architectural models.
Mechanical Engineering – Thanks to one of our sponsors, Star refrigeration, the Mechanical engineering team were kindly donated 5 whirling thermometers that are used to measure humidity in the air. The girls set about designing a poster which explains how to use the thermometer and the importance of cooling in everyday life. The thermometer uses two bulbs, a wet and dry one to give two different temperature readings after being whirled for 20s. This can be done inside and outside in order to determine the different levels of humidity. The school children will then have to read the data from a graph to determine the percentage of water in the air. Mining is the biggest export in Rwanda and the humidity in the air can effect working conditions.
Biomedical Engineering – For the Biomedical Engineering workshops, the girls are working on 3 different activities: An interactive sound diagnostic workshop (courtesy of ESPRC Circuits! Team) using sound to diagnose diseases such as malaria and hepatitis. A paper diagnostic workshop using paper tests to diagnose conditions such as malaria and pregnancy. A DNA workshop demonstrating the importance of studying biomedical science and the theory behind the above workshops. The team are excited to enhance what has already been prepared and believe the school pupils are going to love it! As biomedical engineering is not currently on offer as a course in Rwanda, we are hoping to inspire the pupils to choose the course when it becomes available to them in future years.
Mining Engineering – Mining workshops are about raising awareness about the existence of mining engineering and helping students understand what it takes to be a mining engineer. It is important to make them aware of the importance of mining activities towards Rwandan economy. We also plan to show them the different careers students can undertake after obtaining a mining degree, this including careers in petroleum engineering and drilling engineering.