Some few months ago I had an appointment with Moi University Radio station (MU FM) to discuss 3D printing. Even though I had some commitment and failed to attend the interview, the 3D PRINTING IDEA (an idea that is still new to many) drew my interest. The result of my curiosity proved terrific and eye opening to where the world is HEADING, in all dimensions of life.

3D printing, or rather Additive manufacturing, the very idea of one Chuck Hull was founded in 1984. And ever since, the world’s technologies that is aligned to presentation and visualization have been changed a great deal. The technology has been used in offices and homes for creating models, and recently, the Construction industry.

The idea of printing 10 housing units within 24 hours leaves one wondering how this is even possible.

This fete is no longer a dream.

Thanks to WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co., that used a massive 490-foot-long, 33-foot-wide, and 20-foot-deep 3D printer to print cheap concrete.
The various structural components can be fabricated either on site or off-site then joined together with the highest level of accuracy. Currently Winsun’s approach is the most efficient. Time will tell if it will stand the test.

The question then becomes. Can we scale down a building, and model it with a material/ material whose engineering properties are similar to those of the building to be erected? And if so, subject it to simulated forces and characteristic loads that are to be expected in that given environment?

For example, in a wind tunnel test, simulated earthquake loads, and if necessary internal loads? If the building then meets its structural integrity, then it can simply be called a structural analysis and design by experimental verification method.

Or something of that sort.

That’s my thought.

3D printing in construction has been tested, and proven an economic and time efficient method of construction, and should be adopted in engineering faculties in Africa and the world over to prepare future engineers for this technology in industry.

This is just a shift from classical methods of construction into the modern futuristic era, where time, structural integrity and cost are becoming a must have for every construction project.




Here’s a little tale of four young interns who are working for a reputable company here in our great city of Nairobi. As you may assume, all are students doing Civil Engineering from the “Big Three” in Engineering Studies. In order of superiority these are Moi University, Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture And Technology (JKUAT) and University Of Nairobi (UON).

Anyhow onto serious business, I happened to ask these four why they chose to pursue this degree and the answers were as baffling as they were interesting, but before that let me give some highlights on Civil Engineering.

There has been a myriad of definitions spewed around about this profession. Some of them (with some hidden truth) are:

Mechanical engineers build weapons; Civil engineers build targets.

• The existence of vowels is one of the important facts of civil engineering. It helps them change bulldogs (bldg) into buildings and many other miraculous feats! All engineering students should know how to include vowels in their work.

• Most civil engineering projects are very mundane. Subdivision grading, drainage projects, roadway design, retaining walls… creative and really cool bridge projects (the sexiest part of civil engineering) are very, very, very few and far between.

• If you get pleasure in designing the ordinary things that everybody needs and you never knew then – civil engineering is for you!

Civil engineering is a practical discipline whose application is easy to see. This is because the discipline is everywhere.


I mean let’s take an example of the President of Kenya. He has woken up from his beautiful sleep in his palatial home in which an engineer had designed.
He then proceeds to the bathroom where he relieves himself, takes a shower, brushes and maybe drinks some water for that good old morning rejuvenation exercise. All those four activities would not have been done if the waste and water system that operated the appliances had not been designed by an engineer.

After dressing up he gets a phone call from his fellow president of Buganda, who happens to be camping by the road for some good old network. As for the people who are second guessing the relevance of this tale of civil engineering being omnipresent, my answer is…. Wait for it…. A big cookie for the person who said yes to a civil engineer promoting communication.

Later on ,he heads to JKIA to board a plane that has to use a runway for ‘Rais’ and join his fellow African honourables for an AU summit in Rwanda at 11 am! All these wonderful inventions of Mr Engineer has enabled Mheshimiwa to run the country comfortably and it’s not even noon yet. This Engineer guy needs a Nobel prize, eh?

The point I’m trying to pass across is that Civil Engineering is as easy as saying ABC.

It is everywhere!


It’s soaring in the air in the form of dizzying skyscrapers, as it is on the grounds in the form of roads and below the earth in terms of foundations, underground tunnels and retaining walls.

However as easy as it is to understand its application, it is also quite overwhelming to explain what Civil Engineers do. It’s like trying to feed a whole cow to a baby. It simply is too much to consume all at once.

So the baby has to be patient for the cow to be slaughtered, its parts stored in the refrigerator where it will be fed slowly to the very last bite. 

In the coming articles, I will introduce you to the world of Civil and Structural Engineering and show you why it’s the most interesting thing. Ever!

Now back to the four guys I’d asked for their justification on pursuing Civil Engineering. All of them gave confused answers.
The first one wanted to show his utmost love to the car of his dreams by constructing a beautiful and comfortable paved road.
The second wanted to emulate Michael Schofield (of Prison Break) who was a Civil Engineer in the show. The third simply confused Civil Engineering with Architecture.
However, the last gave the most interesting reason: ‘My marks guided me there’. Is that too much power you’ve given to two digits to determine your entire life?

As confused as my colleagues were about the awkward answers they’d given, I asked another question: ‘Do you regret your choice?’

In unity, they all sang ‘NO!’

Don’t mind the critics and the confusion you may have about this profession. If you are willing to take a chance of a lifetime and have a wanderlust for adventure then Civil Engineering is a fine bet.




I can’t believe I am here. Campus. All that reading in high school finally paid off. A B+ isn’t so bad. Not what I hoped for but I will go with it. I know I am smart so I will make this degree my b****.

I’ll show it how we smart ladies roll.

*First month*
Everyone in the campus looks great. The ladies in my class to be particular. I need to step up my game. I can’t still be the ‘nerd’ like in high school.

Considering this is a bigger town than huko mashinani where my high school is situated. I am going to reinvent myself and look fabulous like the cool kids in my class. Maybe then they will recognise me.

*Second month*
I like the attention I am getting from people. The cool kids invited me to hangout. I even got invites to their parties. They say they like the way I dress and they think I am edgy. Who knew I could be edgy considering I am just a simple village girl. Atleast that’s what I used to be. To make it even more interesting is that more than ten guys are hitting on me at the same time! These clothes are really working their magic considering I never even got a ‘hello’ from all these guys one month ago. That’s how hot I have become.

*Two weeks on*
Is it just me or do you notice that my friend Bailley is pulling away from me too? She says that she doesn’t like my new friends and that they are shallow. Maybe she is just jealous since they like me more than her. She is pretty nerdy maybe that’s why we hit it off nicely in the first place. Those days are over. I know my new clique of friends is there for me so I don’t need her anymore.

I like this new guy in class. Every chic in class likes him too. The fact that he is ‘loaded’ makes it even better. I have been invited to a house party at their place this Friday. I am so pumped I can’t wait! But I will be careful to make sure I go back to my room so that I go to church on Saturday morning. I know my mum will call to check up on me. You know her too.

*Friday at the party*
Wow.  Amani’s place is great. I have never been in such a beautiful house. Unlike me she stays in rentals and it’s fully furnished. The pile of clothes in her closet is almost hitting the roof and on to the next floor. I wish I had as much money. You will get there someday girl. Don’t sweat it. Everything is perfectly in place and the music is just right for the mood. Everyone looks great. Even the guys who normally look laid back on normal days. Why does everyone have a drink in hand except me? Amani and I have been friends for a while now. She offers to bring me a drink. Juice. That’s all I take at the moment I don’t like alcohol or whatever hard stuff they are taking.

Why is fetching a glass of juice taking thirty minutes ?

Finally! my glass of juice is here.

*Five minutes later*
Holy crap! It’s 5.am. Why am I on the floor? Why are my clothes torn? And what’s that sharp pain I am feeling in between my legs? Where’s everyone?

I need to collect myself. I will get back to you dear diary.




Unilever Idea Trophy must have been one of the best decisions I made while in campus . For most students, it seems like a way of companies  increasing their market share.However, in the real sense, it’s an opportunity to educate students  about the company and its product while paving a way for a future career.

I had been hearing about Unilever Ideatrophy for a while but I’d never seriously considered taking part, but when I did, I wondered why I hadn’t submitted an idea sooner, maybe I would have landed myself a trip to South Africa or an even more exotic destination.

I took part in UAIT 2015, where the product we were dealing with was Rexona, my idea was simple (I actually submitted it as a joke, trying to see where it would land me). From the submission of my idea, I got to learn that you should not overthink it, a straightforward and unique idea might land you an opportunity into the boot camp.

Then came the presentation of the concept in front of a panel, now this was the nerve-wracking part, especially for someone like me who was scared of doing presentations. Well, the presentation came and went. To some extent, while doing the presentation, I forgot some of the important points I’d planned to say plus I was shaking.

Some lessons I learned from this was to have enough prior meetings with your team to come up with your idea plus being well equipped with your points before the presentation. At first submission for UAIT, idea submissions were done individually, however for the semifinals; we were divided into teams of three according to our universities for easier meetings. And I must say, my partners were just the best people I could work with. It comes to a point where UAIT opens you up to meeting new people who’d influence you positively in various ways,plus open your mind to different opportunities and aspects of life.
Later on, we were called back for the finals, now this was just amazing, from the fun, the mentorship, the trade visits, the deep dives and meeting various leaders. Unilever provides an opportunity during these boot camps to learn more about their different departments and to network with the personnel within the organization. In the long run, my team came as the second runners up.

Disappointed as we were for missing the opportunity to go to South Africa, we were very glad about the experience we were taking out of the competition.

The Unilever Idea Trophy is so much more than just a mere competition; it is an experience that every student should strive to take part in. Remember, what more could you be doing in school if not participating in such stuff that is a near assurance of an internship, that’s the whole point of studying and innovating.
You can apply for the UAIT 2016 here


The writer is a former Unilever Africa Idea Trophy Participant.