Rwandan President Paul Kagame hosts MIT D-Lab students

The following story is featured today in the Rwandan national news paper, New Times, about President Paul Kagame hosting the D-Lab Rwanda team:

President Paul Kagame, yesterday, hosted seven students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who have been in the country, for two weeks, as part of the Development Lab programme (D-Lab).

President Kagame with the MIT students after their meeting at Village Urugwiro, yesterday. From left to right: Marisa Simmons, Jonathan Kola, Wunmin Wong, Daniel Bulmash, President Paul Kagame, Faith Keza and Nseabasi Umoh. (Photo Village Urugwiro)

The students, who have been working with local cooperatives to promote appropriate technologies for water, sanitation and energy solutions, shared with the President their experiences.

“We have been working with communities making charcoal out of agricultural waste and other technologies that we have been demonstrating to the people in the Southern Province,” said Marissa Simmons, one of the students.

The students were mostly interested in demonstrating the use of low-cost, readily available local materials so that these initiatives can be sustained after their departure.

The group, comprised of students in the fields of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Management Science, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Civil Engineering, and Urban Studies and Planning.

Simmons said that they briefed President Kagame on the projects they had undertaken with the rural communities, in areas like water sanitation, agriculture and the economy--in line with the country’s vision.

“The response of the people has, generally, been good and we had interesting experiences,” she said.

Faith Keza, a Rwandan student who was part of the delegation, noted that the local people, with whom they worked, expressed enthusiasm and zeal in continuing using the technologies introduced to them.

She said that students of the National University of Rwanda (NUR), with whom they partnered, would follow up on the projects and inform their MIT counterparts if anything needed to be done.

President Paul Kagame came to MIT in the fall of 2008 to deliver MIT's prestigious Compton lecture, titled: "Imperative of Science and Technology in Accelerating African and Rwandan Development."