“Imagine it, engineer it, and make it go!” This was the theme for the inaugural robotics boot camp in Rwanda`s capital Kigali held in January 2018. It brought together 40 outstanding students from 20 schools across the country.
The three-week camp was facilitated by senior engineering students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a public-private partnership with the engineering division of Bank of Kigali.
Students were able to combine versatility of a lego motorized building system and intuitive drag-and-drop programming software. Their high motivation made a mark on their trainers like Skye Thompson an engineering student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“At the beginning of the camp lots of these students had never even seen programming before. They had never built a robot, they had never played with legos; but they have come so far to the point that they are now designing their own robots, designing their own programs which has really been great to see,” she said.
The need for Africa to modernize and manage industrial transformation is calling for more goal-oriented problem solvers. Rwandan leaders wants to tap into just that.
“What we hope to see is some students here and many that will be joining out future camps becoming robotics engineers and who can do some Made-in-Rwanda robots in agriculture, air, finance industry or construction so that is really what we hope to accomplish, said Regis Rugemanshuro, CEO Bank of Kigali Techouse.
And the students like Arlette Ineza Ngabonzima are ready for the challenge. She said her dream has always been to become a computer engineer.
“To narrow it down, I would like to be a robotics engineer because I believe robotics is the easiest way to bring solutions to various issues around us,” she added with a lot of enthusiasm.
For a landlocked and small economy like Rwanda the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a priority and promises a lot of potential for development.