Alphonse Kanyandekwe

Rwanda

Standards Officer

#Engineering #Metallurgy
Where are you from?

Currently based in

I am from Gakenke District in the Northern Province of Rwanda.

Rwanda

What is your educational background?

I hold a degree in Metallurgy (Engineering) from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

What is your current occupation?

Currently, I work as the Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering Standards Officer at Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), a national standards body (NSB), where I participate in standards development and dissemination for Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering, for example standardization of steel, aluminum and plastic products. Also, I participate in developing standards related to the mining sector. Standardization work involves participating in standards development such as their harmonization at regional level, for example the East African Community (EAC) and their adoption at the international level such as at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

What (or who) got you into STEM?

I was encouraged by the Rwandan government move to promote science-based courses in secondary schools and universities.

What is the biggest challenge/barrier you have faced as an African in STEM?

At higher education institutions (HEIs) and other related institutions, there are no adequate research facilities related to metallurgy/materials science, and this demotivates anyone who would need to pursue a degree in Metallurgy or Materials Science though there is no institution offering such degrees in Rwanda.

How do you think your background/upbringing has been beneficial in your journey/career?

My upbringing helped me to be open-minded and a great networker. Today, networking skills are increasingly becoming very critical and have helped me to transfer the skills I have to my network.

How do you think we can start to change the narrative surrounding African contributions to global STEM research & careers?

Well, I believe there is a need to update education systems in many African countries especially at university level and start to establish research centers for STEM. This should be steered towards finding solutions to problems facing African communities. Achievements of such institutions should be acknowledged at local, regional and continental levels. Also, collaborations with major international research/educational institutions should be recommended, though I have seen that in Rwanda such collaborations are being done little by little.

What advice would you like to give to young, aspiring African’s in STEM?

STEM is important for the development of any nation. Therefore, I urge young, aspiring Africans to opt for STEM courses. African continent has many resources to be exploited and STEM will play a major role!

Do you have any project you're working on that you would like us to highlight?

Currently, I am working on a project between Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) and GIZ Eco-Emploi (The Germany Development Cooperation) to develop national standards for the Rwandan wood sector and train operators in the sector on the standards implementation to improve the quality of locally-made wooden products.

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