Spotlight on Africa Catalyst: Cecile Uwimana, Institution of Engineers Rwanda 2020-05-22



Spotlight on Africa Catalyst: Cecile Uwimana, Institution of Engineers Rwanda

Since 2017, Engineers Against Poverty (EAP) has partnered with the Royal Academy of Engineering on the Africa Catalyst. Local engineering capacity is an essential component to economic and social development, however in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a chronic lack of engineering capacity. The Africa Catalyst aims to strengthen professional engineering bodies in the region so they can effectively promote the profession to young people, share best practice and ultimately drive development through capacity.

In this instalment of Spotlight on Africa Catalyst, we speak to Cecile Uwimana from the Institution of Engineers Rwanda (IER) about IER’s internship programme, Bridging the Gap.

COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND, AND WHAT DREW YOU TO ENGINEERING?

My name is Cecile Uwimana, a member of the Institution of Engineers Rwanda. My background is in civil engineering. I coordinate the activities for Africa Catalyst Project, a project which is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering to bridge the gap which exists between academia and industry in Rwanda.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT ENGINEERING THAT YOU FIND MOST INTERESTING?

I’m most interested in civil engineering, because it what I studied in university and have been practising for last 20 years. Currently, I am working on water project and constructing structures for a water supply in the city of Kigali.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IER’S INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME, BRIDGING THE GAP?

In my experience as an engineer, I realised there were major gaps between academia and industry. When I heard that the Royal Academy of Engineering offers support to bridge this gap through professional bodies, I decided to apply for the funding. Most construction companies want to recruit someone with experience, in most cases someone who has had hands-on experience. Bridging the Gap has helped a number of graduate engineers to get this experience, and to then go on to gain employment after they’ve completed their internships. Even for those who are not hired, the programme helps them to build a profile which supports their employment prospects by developing practical skills.