The Royal Academy of Engineering (www.RAEng.org.uk), an engineering charity focused on harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and inclusive economy, presents its impact on the Improvement of collaboration, education and diversity in engineering in sub-Saharan Africa, offered by its Africa grants programs ahead of UNESCO‘s second World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development on March 4, 2021.
Achievements of grant programs in Africa include:
- More than 2000 professionals trained by professional engineering institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.
- More than 530 student industry internships since 2013. Number of students who have obtained industry internships increased from 40% to 90% during a project in Zambia
- Diversity and inclusion of initiatives resulted in equal participation of men and women in the programs. A project by the Institute of Engineers Rwanda has helped increase the number of female internship candidates from 5% in 2018 to 25% in 2019.
- 50 Individual course curricula reviewed and improved due to partnerships between industry and academia.
- Almost 50 UK organizations and 400 body country involved as project partners so far.
On the occasion of World Engineering Day, the Academy is also releasing a series of videos (http://bit.ly/3kGb7Nr) highlighting how engineers play a crucial role in achieving the goals. United Nations Sustainable Development Policy.
The Academy helps develop innovative solutions to a range of impending and accelerating challenges. Working with local higher education and engineering institutions, it helps increase engineering capacity and support sustainable development in 23 countries in sub-Saharan Africa through two key programs: Higher education partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa (HEP SSA) and FRGC Africa Catalyst.
The first, HEP SSA, provides Industry Detachments for teachers, equipping them with learning with the latest industry standards, while placements help their students acquire practical skills, and give them better understanding of project cycles and networking opportunities. The program addresses the gap between the theoretical technical knowledge taught to students across sub-Saharan Africa and the practical application of this theory in industry.
Through strong alliances with partner academic institutions, the Academy helps reshape teaching needs and facilitate more possibilities. At the University of Zambia, which has led to updating and aligning course content according to industry needs, while increasing the number of students who obtain industry internships from 40% to 90%.
FRGC Catalyst Africa The program leverages the Academy’s network and expertise to strengthen national engineering organizations. Over £ 3.5 million has been awarded in 37 projects in 14 countries to help these organizations promote better education, diversity and sustainability.
Launched in 2016, with support from the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (FRGC), the Catalyst Africa initiative allows engineers to focus on issues of specific importance to their relevant jurisdictions, while facilitating good governance practices.
The Academy aims to support the development of a diverse and future-fit workforce across the continent. It is estimated that less than 10% of engineering positions in Africa are currently held by women. FRGC Africa Catalyst has worked with Women in Engineering (WOMENG) to promote gender diversity across a wide range of professional experience. WOMENG’s work with the Eswatini Registration Council for Allied Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Professionals resulted in seven registered female members where they initially had none. A HEP SSA project with the Institute of Engineers Rwanda helped increase the number of female internship candidates from 5% in 2018 to 25% in 2019.
Commenting on the progress made, Yewande Akinola MBE, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering FRGC Africa Catalyst Committee, said: “Even though we see immediate improvements in skills and innovation through these programs, the real victory sets up a framework for lasting change. This will equip communities in Africa to anticipate and plan for the challenges posed by climate change, urbanization and economic development. The continent is changing rapidly, and those engineering its future need the skills to think on their feet.
“By developing strong alliances between local partners in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, we can foster learning, collaboration and the sharing of best practices, which will build skills to drive innovation. But there is much more to be done, which needs the continued support of investors and partners. “
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