Seminar Series: Engineering Education in Kenya: Advancing the Social Sector

Many of the social enterprises and non-profit organizations in Africa rely on global development engineering expertise. These robust sectors in the continent have often brought in engineers from abroad, but local talent is increasingly sought after. How is engineering education in Kenya rising to the challenge to fill a growing number of positions with quality engineering graduates?

When: October 13, 2021, 12 PM ET

In this seminar, we investigate engineering education on the continent, including a look at the quality of training, opportunities for industrial training, and how the private sector can contribute. We will also look at the emigration of trained engineers from another angle: Can engineering graduates from Africa export their skills to other developing countries? South-to-South cooperation may become increasingly important to Africa’s engineering sector.

Join us to hear from diverse panelists, in a conversation moderated by Kimani Chege, E4C’s Editorial Fellow and Dr. Jesse Austin-Breneman, our long time Seminar Series moderator. After the presentations, participants are welcome to ask questions and join in the conversation.

E4C’s Seminar Series features academic laboratories researching solutions to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The world’s cutting edge research deserves a platform with a global audience. Join us for presentations of new findings from investigative teams around the globe each month. And researchers, we welcome your applications to take part in the series. Please send an email to


Dr. June Madete is a Biomechanics engineer, researcher and senior lecturer at Kenyatta University with special interest and expertise in motion analysis software and hardware. Her research involves applying the knowledge of clinical motion analysis techniques she gained in the UK to advance biomechanical adoption in sub-saharan Africa. She is the Coordinator of the African Biomedical Engineering Consortium, (ABEC) that seeks to develop and market the biomedical engineering profession within Kenya through knowledge and skill transfer with students, lectures, scientists and the industry across various sets in Africa.
She has a mentored numerous students on bio-design via the UBORA virtual platform for the co-design of OSMDs, guiding device developers toward compliance with internationally recognized quality standards and regulations for safety and efficacy.

Dr. Kamau Gachigi is the founding executive director of Gearbox, Kenya’s first open makerspace for rapid prototyping, based in Nairobi. Gearbox provides a unique window into Industry 4.0 capabilities to innovators in Kenya, and it offers incubation/acceleration services. Gachigi also co-founded the Africa Innovation Ecosystems Group (AIEG), a company that focuses on creating and managing real-estate based innovation centers of varying scales. Before establishing Gearbox, Gachigi headed the University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park, where he founded a fab lab full of manufacturing and prototyping tools in 2009. He then built another lab at the Riruta Satellite in an impoverished neighborhood in the city. Gachigi is a member of the Global Council on the Future of Production under the World Economic Forum and of the consultative advisory group of the World Bank’s Partnership for skills in the Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology.

Eric Okumu is an Electric Vehicle Research and Development ( Electrical and Electronics ) Engineer at Opibus, an electric mobility company based in Kenya. Opibus vision is to make electric transport more accessible to a broader market by making the technology more cost efficient and simplifying deployment. The company focuses on all-electric conversion kits for fleet vehicles such as light trucks, public transport and buses, as well as electric motorcycles and energy systems. He received a bachelor’s of engineering degree in  Electrical and Electronics in 2018 from the Technical University of Kenya.  After graduating, he has spent the last 3 years of his professional  experience in  Electric Vehicles field specializing in electrified powertrain concepts in areas such as motors, inverter, battery and battery management systems, DC/DC Converters, On-Board CHARGERS) battery pack design and the digital communication protocol used in Electric Vehicles – CAN. Overall he is passionate about engineering and technology that aims towards sustainable development.

Emmanuel Kinyanjui is an engineer based in Nairobi, Kenya,. He graduated from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology with a Bachelors of Science in Mechatronic Engineering. He presently works as a Software Engineer working on building products, services and experiences that empower the society. As an 2021 E4C Fellow, Emmanuel has been working with Kickstart International to support the improvement of an impeller design for solar irrigation pumps to be used by small-scale farmers in the region.


Dr. Jesse Austin-Breneman is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 from MIT. He also holds a S.M. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a B.S. in Ocean Engineering also from MIT. Previous to his academic career, he worked as a development engineer in Peru, working with rural communities on alternative business opportunities and with local doctors’ groups on medical device development. He also spent two years as a high school mathematics teacher in Boston, MA. He currently is the director of the Global Design Laboratory. The group focuses on developing design processes and support tools to help multi-disciplinary design teams think at a systems-level when performing complex system design tasks. This includes investigating the best way to incorporate system-level interactions between stakeholders in emerging markets into the design decision-making process.

Kimani Chege is a Kenyan journalist with an interest in reporting sciences and the link between sustainable development. He has spent considerable time reporting on health, agriculture, environment and how that relates to general sustainable development. He is currently the inaugural editorial fellow at E4C for the 2021 cohort. He has a Diploma in Journalism, a BA in Communication from Daystar University in Kenya, an associate diploma in Science Journalism through the World Federation of Science Journalism and was a 2008/09 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His work has appeared in both local and international media including, Mail & Guardian, Gothenburg Post and Nature. He is currently working as a media trainer with DW Akademie in Kenya helping small media houses develop strategies of surviving tough times.


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