Duke Engineer Wins Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship

April 2, 2020

Award will fund sanitation-based projects in Rwanda

Edgard Ngaboyamahina

Edgard Ngaboyamahina in his birthplace of Gisenyi, Rwanda

Edgard Ngaboyamahina, a research scientist in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s  Nanomaterials and Thin Films Lab and a member of a Duke Center for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Infectious Disease (WaSH-AID) team working to “Reinvent the Toilet,” has been awarded the Carnegie African Diaspora fellowship

 The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) is a scholar fellowship program for educational projects at African higher education institutions. The fellowship funds African-born and US- or Canada-based scholars to develop curriculum, collaborate on research projects, and mentor or train students at an African research university. Offered by IIE in collaboration with the United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa), the program is funded by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

"We seek to develop joint global health-related projects to provide assistance and inform policymakers on emerging issues due to rapid urbanization."

Edgard Ngaboyamahina, ECE research scientist

A total of 395 African Diaspora Fellowships have been awarded for scholars to travel to Africa since the program’s inception in 2013. Ngaboyamahina is the second recipient from Duke Engineering. The first, civil and environmental engineering associate professor Fred Boadu, was awarded the fellowship in 2014; the funds supported an outreach program in Ghana that sought to educate citizens about the dangers of hydrocarbon water contamination stemming from the indiscriminate disposal of used motor oil or paint on bare ground.

 Edgard Ngaboyamahina is a member of the Duke Center for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Infectious Disease (WaSH-AID)

For Ngaboyamahina, the path to the fellowship began last year, at the Rwanda Young Professionals Conference, where he met the deputy vice chancellor for institutional advancement of the University of Rwanda, Amb. Dr. Murigande. “He invited me to give a lecture on the social and economic issues pertaining to sanitation and the role of social enterprises at the University of Rwanda,” said Ngaboyamahina. “He also introduced me to the dean of the School of Engineering, Dr. Umaru Garba Wali. Together, we developed a project aligned with the University of Rwanda’s strategic plan to broaden its activities related to water, resource and environmental management—one that leverages the Center for WaSH-AID’s expertise in decentralized technologies.”

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship will enable Ngaboyamahina to travel to Rwanda for three weeks, during which time he will teach courses on social and economic issues around sanitation, mentor graduate students preparing theses, and brainstorm proposals for future collaborations related to user adoption of new sanitation technologies and assessing the market value of reuse water.   

“With the host institution, we seek to develop joint global health-related projects to provide assistance and inform policymakers on emerging issues due to rapid urbanization,” said Ngaboyamahina.

The fellowship’s initial start date of June 6, 2020 will shift as COVID-19 health recommendations evolve.

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