Engineers’ institution hails women in engineering, role in Nyabarongo II multipurpose dam project

3 months ago

he Institution of Engineers Rwanda (IER), on March 8, 2024, celebrated World Engineering Day (WED) by touring the construction site of the Nyabarongo II multipurpose dam as part of the institution’s capacity building programme for engineers in Rwanda.

The day was celebrated together with International Women’s Day to recognise the outstanding work of female engineers and their role in implementing the project.

Engineer Lydie Uwantege, Operations Manager at the Institution of Engineers Rwanda (IER), highlighted that the Nyabarongo II multipurpose dam, as one of Rwanda’s major projects, demonstrates the crucial role of engineers in accomplishing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The dam will have a reservoir capacity of 803.8 million cubic meters and generate hydropower with an installed capacity of 43.5MW. The project aims to address Rwanda’s power shortage, decrease dependence on non-renewable energy sources, and enhance grid stability. Additionally, it will mitigate downstream flooding along the Nyabarongo and enable irrigation, transforming a 20,000-hectare swamp into arable land.

The project will also boost employment and drive industrial and tertiary development.

In February 2020, the Government of Rwanda and the People’s Republic of China signed a framework agreement that will allow China, through China Exim Bank, to extend a concessional loan worth $214 million that will facilitate the construction of the Nyabarongo II Hydropower Plant.

Nyabarongo II Multipurpose Dam that is under construction is located between the Northern and Southern provinces, specifically between Kamonyi, Gakenke,R and Rulindo districts. The dam will measure 59 metres high and 363 metres long.

“Nyabarongo 2 multi-purpose project is one of the major projects in Rwanda currently under construction. It is expected to contribute to the national grid. The reason for the choice of engineers to visit it brings sustainability and climate resilience to our country in addition to flood control, and engineers play a big role in its implementation. Engineers had the opportunity to visit it to get to know different aspects and elements of the project,” Uwantege said.

The day was held under the theme “Engineering Solutions for a Sustainable World”, emphasising the role of engineering in driving sustainable development goals (SDGs) and fostering innovation to create a better future for all.

World Engineering Day, celebrated annually, is a UNESCO-recognised day dedicated to highlighting the contributions of engineers to society.

This day serves as a platform to raise awareness about the importance of engineering in addressing global challenges and improving the quality of life for people around the world.

The Institution of Engineers Rwanda celebrated the day by recognising the critical role of engineering in advancing sustainable development, leveraging engineering innovation to address global challenges, and promoting socio-economic progress.

The celebration aimed at increasing public awareness about the role of engineering in promoting sustainable development and addressing global challenges, promoting innovative engineering solutions that contribute to achieving the SDGs and improving quality of life.

The engineering day celebrations also helped to inspire the next generation of engineers to pursue careers in fields that contribute to sustainable development and facilitated collaboration among engineers, policymakers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to address shared challenges and drive collective action.

“We encouraged women in the engineering field and some women engineers attended both engineering day and women’s day celebrations. We also partnered with Skat Consulting in capacity-building for engineers,” Uwantege added.

According to engineers, World Engineering Day presents an opportunity for the global engineering community to come together and showcase the transformative power of engineering in advancing sustainable development.

They said that through collaborative efforts and innovative solutions, engineers can play a pivotal role in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges and building a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.

“We were glad to visit Nyabarongo multipurpose dam, a major project being implemented. It is a project with a lot of expertise we have to learn as engineers in addition to the knowledge we have. We have knowledge but we also need experience. Engineers have to play a role in sustainable development as Rwanda builds more infrastructure that requires advanced engineering,” said Faustin Dushimimana.

After touring the construction site for Nyabarongo 2 multipurpose dam, members of IER gathered at M Hotel for a capacity-building session on safety and health at work, as well as labour rights in the engineering sector.

Institution of Engineers Rwanda is also collaborating with Skat Consulting to upskill engineering professionals to grasp upcoming building technologies with a focus on affordable housing and green technologies. Skat Consulting is a leading Swiss company specialising in international cooperation.

Samuel Mugenzi, who works at Skat Consulting said: “Skat has an MOU with the Institution of Engineers Rwanda to provide capacity-building for engineers. We are also working with the City of Kigali in upgrading unplanned settlements.”

Papias Dedeki Kazawadi, President of the Federation of African Engineering Organization (FAEO)—a continental body that brings together national engineering bodies from different African countries—urged engineers to embrace professionalism and comply with standards in the engineering sector.

“Engineers must be accountable for what they do,” he noted.

The day was celebrated together with International Women’s Day to recognise the outstanding work of female engineers and their role in implementing the project.
The day was celebrated together with International Women’s Day to recognise the outstanding work of female engineers and their role in implementing the project.

The tour was organised to celebrate World Engineering Day (WED)
The tour was organised to celebrate World Engineering Day (WED)

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