This program will expose students to the design methods, standards, codes and regulations of engineering in Kenya, as well as the social, cultural and political factors that impact engineering practice in the region.
Sub-Saharan Africa is renowned for its young and ambitious human population, its expanding middle-class, and its rapid economic growth in sectors ranging from agriculture, to banking and consumer goods. As African societies grow and change, the implementation of human-centered design in engineering and problem-solving processes is vital.
Kenya’s 42+ tribal groups – spanning 3 of the 4 African language groups – along with its breathtaking landscapes, iconic wildlife, and rapidly modernizing cities make this one of the most diverse countries in Africa. Built on Muslim-Arab trade along the coast, Christian missions in the interior, and a primarily agricultural and tourism-driven economy, Kenya is now rapidly changing, providing a fascinating case study for globalization, culture, and modernization in a growing economy. In Nairobi, where this program will primarily be based, students will engage with the innovation and industry that characterizes the city’s engineering space.
During this course, students will:
- Hone cross-cultural responsiveness through Kiswahili and Maa lessons, directed lectures on the socio-cultural/historical context of Kenya, and meaningful culturally immersive activities
- Discuss the engineering design method, and human-centered design in particular, as applied to specific projects in Nairobi through lectures and site visits
- Analyze the interplay between cultural and political factors in engineering design in Kenya
- Demonstrate flexibility, adaptability and innovation in solving problems in the Kenyan context
Note: Specific learning outcomes and activities can be constructed in collaboration with EDU Africa’s dedicated curriculum development team.
Mark Hankins is the CEO of African Solar Designs, a renewable and rural energy company that prides itself in being a thought-leader and pioneer in the Kenyan energy sector. Mark has worked in East and Southern Africa for over twenty years. He has worked on renewable energy projects with the likes of the UN, the World Bank, USAID, the GEF, Sida and the Shell Foundation.
He has also worked with numerous African governments. He is the author of the books, Solar Electric Systems for Africa and Stand Alone Solar Electric Systems.
Dr Tonny K. Omwansa is a lecturer in the School of Computing and Informatics at the University of Nairobi; he also offers his services as a facilitator and/or mentor at Nairobi Design Thinking School. He is the co-author of Money, Real Quick: Kenya’s Disruptive Mobile Money Innovation, a study on the impact and projection of mobile money in Kenya and across the world. He is also the founder of Nairobi Design Thinking School and Nairobi Innovations Week.
He is a formidable expert on marketable design and innovation in the Kenyan context.
Customize Your Program
Our friendly and experienced team work closely with you from conceptualization right through to execution, ensuring that each Faculty-led program meets your specific learning goals. We pride ourselves in our ability to create unique, sustainable and truly African transformative learning journeys.
Kiambethu Tea Farm
Touring the Kiambethu Tea Farm gives insight into the colonial history and economics of Kenya, as well as the process undergone to transform the leaves of a tea bush into one of the most well known beverages of all time. The tour includes a walk through indigenous forests rich with medicinal trees, as well as a delicious colonial luncheon on the lawn.
River Rafting Rapids Camp
River Tana is the perfect place for white river rafting, with rapids ranging from grades three to five. It is also the only place in for white river rafting in Kenya. Upstream and downstream currents, including waterfalls, provide different technicalities that challenge beginners as well as more experienced rafters. Rafting River Tana is a worthy adrenaline rush!
Big Cat Monitoring
Incredible wildlife is one of Africa’s most appealing icons, and is desperately in need of protection through conservation and educational projects. Many conservation efforts give rise to amazing volunteering programs, such as the opportunity to research and monitor big cats. Taking part in this project gives students a chance to deeply experience and engage with some of Africa’s most powerful and breathtaking wildlife.
Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens
Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens is a vibrant gateway into the world of pre-colonial climate diversity. Rising out of misty, rolling hills of emerald-green tea, these gardens stand as a testament to the power of environmental restoration and protection. The project began in the year 2000 and includes an arboretum of rare tree species that are critically endangered across the continent.