Zimbabwe To Host UNESCO Africa Engineering Week
By Wallace Mawire
The Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ) has won the bid to host the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Engineering week and World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE) General Assembly to be held in the resort town of Victoria Falls on 14 to 19 September 2015 under the theme: Engineering Innovation for Accelerated Infrastructure Development for Africa, according to Engineer Martin Manuhwa (ECZ) Chairperson.
“The Engineering Council of Zimbabwe is proud to announce that Zimbabwe will be hosting the second UNESCO Africa Engineering Week, which is a major event on the World Engineering fraternity calendar. The event will take place from 14 – 19th September 2015 at the Elephant Hills Hotel, Victoria Falls, Manuhwa said.
He added that Africa Engineering Week is a collaboration between UNESCO, the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) and the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ).
According to Manuhwa, the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) at the University of Johannesburg hosted the inaugural UNESCO Africa Engineering Week in 2014.
He also said that the UNESCO Africa Engineering Week 2015 in Zimbabwe, will include activities focusing on the UNESCO sponsored Africa Engineering week itself, the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers (ZIE) Biennial Congress, the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (ECZ) Anti-corruption Workshop and the World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE) General Assembly (GA).
“The Engineering fraternity here in Zimbabwe is obviously excited about this rare opportunity to be hosts to such a prestigious event. We are expecting around five hundred delegates which will include regional and International attendees,” Manuhwa said.
He also said that Africa Engineering Week aims to educate youth and the general public about engineering through outreach activities such as educational workshops, public awareness events, mentoring activities and university events that show how engineers are key players in the solutions to important global challenges, such as climate change mitigation and adaptation.
It is also reported that the shortage of engineers is a major concern in Africa and across the world where there has been declining interest and enrolment of young people, especially women.
According to Manuhwa, engineering is vital to addressing basic human needs, improving the quality of life and creating opportunities for sustainable prosperity on a local, regional, national and global level.
“More young people need to choose engineering as a career and making that choice depends on access to the necessary science, mathematics, technology, and engineering (STEM) curriculum as well as having access to effective guidance, communications and role models,” he said.
Adding that the lack of engineers is hampering social and economic development worldwide.
He adds that engineering is critically important for the creation of infrastructure to alleviate poverty, accelerate industrial development and enable better healthcare, access to education and the development of an attractive environment for foreign investment.
“Thus, there is a great benefit for greater investment in African engineering,’ says Manuhwa.
Also according to him, UNESCO believes that more people would be attracted to engineering as a career if the role of engineering was more visible and better understood and is working to raise awareness of the importance of engineering for sustainable development through the activities of Africa Engineering Week.
“The leadership role the ECZ has taken in the region and internationally is also a contributing factor. The ECZ has provided the immediate past president of the Southern African Federation of Engineering Organisations (SAFEO) and the vice president of both the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) and the World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE),” Manuhwa said.
The objective of the UNESCO Africa Engineering Week is to increase the visibility of engineering and highlight its role in sustainable development. The aim of the Africa Engineering Week is to encourage students to study technical subjects so that Africa’s vision of developing through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is realized.
“We are also calling for curriculum with practical engineering applications so as to be able to solve our infrastructure problems. The activities during Africa Engineering Week will increase the visibility of engineering, which is particularly important in the continent where there is a great need for engineers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Manuhwa said.
The Engineering Week is expected to also showcase the role of engineers as global players in economic development.
Manuhwa said that the World Council of Civil Engineering General Assembly is expected to attract more than 20 Countries from out of Africa.
“All the 56 African Countries have been invited. The ZIE Congress will attract all the engineering stakeholders in the country. The total participation is expected to exceed 500 delegates,” Manuhwa said.