Student Spotlight; Eddy Charles Taking Telecommunications to Greater Heights
Eddy Charles Iragi Kagizi is determined to be the change needed in the society, through telecommunications. Coming from an environment where communication has been handled in a horribly wrong way, his choice of study is set to shift things around. Coming from the Eastern side of Bukavu, Eddy is the last born in a family of 8 siblings four boys and four girls, and is most especially grateful to his mother for raising them well against all odds.
Eddy works and studies at Strathmore and is the founder of a new company called Fortin Limited that works at providing IT related solutions
I finished my highschool in Congo where I specialized in Biology and Chemistry. I knew I wanted to study in Kenya because my mother was in Kenya at the time but I didnt know where I would study. I had a friend at Strathmore from Congo who gave me tips on what Strathmore University was all about but that was when I was still in highschool, I somehow forgot about it when I finished highschool.
When I came to Kenya in 2009, I studied English before joining Multimedia University to study a Telecommunication in Engineering Diploma. After that I looked at other universities where I could do the full degree and I didnt know where to go. One day as I was sitting in the matatu I picked up the drivers newspaper and as I was reading I saw an ad form Strathmore on offering a course in telecommunications. The following day I quickly rushed to the school and inquired and they advised me that I could be taken, so I immediately applied. In 2011 I joined Strathmore for a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications (BST) degree. I am now in my 4th year of studies.
I wanted to study telecommunications because I come from a place where communication is a very big problem. Cost of communication is poor, lack of proper services being provided, the people doing communication do not do it to the best as it is required etc. and I felt I needed to make a change and have an impact in my society.
I hope to take up projects back home when I get a chance, but I do not see myself being there for long. This is because I already feel I have built a life here in Kenya, I currently work as the Renewable Energy Consultant at Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC). I have a system I am already managing here, that is of importance to me too.
How is it working as a Consultant at SERC?
When you are in the renewable energy field, you get to realize how hard people are working to provide efficient energy to its customers. If Kenya power can provide electricity at 100% always it would be good, but they do not. Therefore I realized it would be good to get involved in renewable energy, which helps with the provision of electricity at a better percentage compared to relying on Kenya Power. At Strathmore, we do this through the solar panels we use to provide energy to the university. I published an article on this renewable energy under the title; Renewable Energy in Telecommunications Infrastructures.
I joined SERC in August this year, before then I was working at Quest Works as a technical consultant. I was part of the team that installed the solar panel systems at Strathmore.
My story of getting a job at Strathmore started when had gone for a conference where I met Prof. Izael Da Silva, Director at SERC, who told me that he was looking for someone to do the solar panel work. I was already doing the maintenance of the system while working at Quest Works, so he asked me to think about it, and if I was interested I could work with them. I asked my bosses at Quest Works and they thought it was a good idea because I study at Strathmore anyway.
My job at SERC involves maintaining the solar panels and cleaning the system.
How has your Strathmore experience been like?
There is a high discipline culture at Strathmore where first impressions matter; we are taught to always be professional. Now professional to someone else would mean being suited up while going to work which is not the case for me. My job is different because I have to be in work gear, overall and helmets, as opposed to wearing suits. It affected me at start because I felt it looked strange to be in overalls around campus and my fellow students would always question my wear, but with time I decided I wont let it affect me, so I allowed myself to be comfortable with my work gear. After all, it is my job now. With time students got used to it, sometimes they even ask me to fix the lift which Quest Works is in charge because am in work gear, and its ok.
What are your five ten year plans?
I want to work on the new company Fortin Ltd, and ensure that it grows successfully. I started this company with another student, and we are happy at how its taking route and where we hope it will get.
Where do you get your motivation to work hard from?
I draw my motivation from seeing how hard people work to achieve their desires. I always have to remember that the world owes us nothing, therefore we have to put in effort to get to where we want to be. When I see people sitting in town, at Uhuru Park etc. and see that they really want to get a job but nothing has come through, I am reminded to cherish what I have and to work hard at it. Somebody somewhere would love such an opportunity but they do not have.
In my culture we are also taught to be grateful for where we are at; before I complain about where I am, I should remember somebody somewhere does not have shoes.
Spiritually, I also learn that we need get into the habit of giving because somebody needs what we have, and if I have to give then I have to work hard to get what I need to give out.
Do you look up to anyone?
The one person who I take as my role model is my mother, because she raised eight children on her own, and strived to make us enjoy a good life.
She is also very kind, because our home is always crowded with people; I have many brothers and sisters who I have grown up with that we are not blood-related but because my mother took them up as her children. This taught us to take everyone as they are, as family and to accept everyone as they are.