The Botswana International University of Research, Science, Engineering and Technology, BIUST, has been hailed for being the leader in unearthing mining engineering products.
This year’s graduation was themed “Leveraging on Science, Technologies and Engineering for Design thinking in the changing world”.
According to Lahri the theme reflected the University’s appreciation and alignment with the ever changing and complex nature of industry in its various forms. "As professionals from different fields, including mining where I am from, we recognize design thinking as a highly creative process to address human needs in today’s world;
Competition in this new age is cut-throat, we are always on the look-out for ways to problem-solve for the users of our products and services. The “je ne sais quoi” or x-factor of today’s business is in the ability to take care of the hidden problems and offer customers premium enjoyment of the product or service at zero oblivion of “wicked problems”, Lahri said.
According to Lahri design thinking is where our heads should be. It is the driving force in global business with giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple attesting to its notable effect. "For a University such as BIUST, design thinking should be the air that its educational offering breathes. This is because in design thinking, there is a reform in teaching and learning that allows learners and researchers to have the freedom to generate ground-breaking solutions. Design thinking supports teams and allows them to get behind hard-to access insights and apply a collection of hands-on methods to help find innovative solutions".
Lahri further hailed BIUST for adopting problem-based learning pedagogy which promotes problem-solving and development of design mindset, saying the move is commendable and that it should be fully harnessed for the growth of science, engineering and technology in our country.
Lahri also saluted BIUST University for several of their jaw-dropping research-intensive projects they have undertaken, including the first Botswana Satellite by BIUST and its partner institutions. The satellite project was kickstarted by President. Mokgweetsi Masisi in December 2020." Botswana has now joined other countries participating in space technology, reflecting our country’s quest to finding innovative solutions for our unique problems. We heard how this multi-faceted satellite will generate data for agriculture and tourism sectors, amongst other sectors. This is a clear path of transforming Botswana from a resource-based to a knowledge economy as espoused in the National Vision 2036", she added.
Lahri says another high-profiled innovation, is the three-party collaboration, being BIUST, Ministry of Health and Wellness, and United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA), they initiated a partnership to leverage drone technologies as part of promoting creative approach for hands-on problem solving and impending innovation that addresses national development programmes.
The BIUST Drones for Health project aims to accelerate reduction of preventable maternal deaths by delivering blood and emergency obstetric care drugs and commodities. The drones will bridge the distances, reduce current transportation costs and defective products, overcome road infrastructure challenges, and contribute significantly to the timely availability of essential emergency obstetric care drugs, commodities and supplies.
The BIUST Commercial Drones Project team embarked on this project with the hope that it will have positive impact on Botswana communities’ livelihoods in areas such as health using long distance drones. The BIUST Team partnered with a Dutch Drones Engineering company called AVY.
BIUST hosted the launch of this project in May 2021. During this period BIUST and AVY pilots jointly flew drones to village clinics in the Palapye region covering clinics in villages within 70 km radius: Palapye, Lecheng, Moremi, Mogapi and Mokgware. This operation required an active participation of MoHW through their District Health Management Team (DMHT).
Lahri added that there are many other cutting-edge research projects undertaken by BIUST that demonstrate how the University is forging ahead on the Botswana’s transformational agenda, and a demonstration of the growing and maturing science, technology, engineering and innovation in Botswana.
As such the Lucara Botswana Managing Director said BIUST deserves full attention and recognition as a game changer in the development of science and technology for economic development.