Botswerere Kim Dialwa stumbled upon geotechnical engineering by luck when she had to register for a course to study at university. Before then the only field of engineering she knew and wanted to venture into was civil engineering. “I didn’t even know about geology. I only developed interest at that point and immediately chose to study it,” she says.After a while into her studies, Dialwa says she then choose to specialise in Geotechnical engineering and felt fate could not have given her a much better choice. This, she says, was due to the fact that there was a lot of Mathematics involved and being Mathematics whizz that she is – her love and interest in the field grew.
The 33-year-old Lerala-born mother of one graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology, majoring in engineering. She currently works for Debswana Orapa mine as a Geotechnical Engineer. She is tasked with managing slope failures; that is preventing slope failures from happening if possible and giving earlier warnings where such is anticipated. “It entails quite a number of things, including collecting and analysing data and then communicating the results,” she says.
According to Dialwa, her job requires due diligence and attention because failure to deliver could lead to damage to company equipment and injury to employees which at times can even lead to deaths. Despite being the only female in her section, Dialwa says she has not even once encountered any form of discrimination from her colleagues. In fact, she says she has managed to camouflage in and her gender has almost gone by unnoticed.
She implores other women to join the engineering field, especially Geotechnical engineering in numbers as it is really enjoyable and interesting. “I for one told myself that if somebody has done it before I can do it too,” she says. Although she acknowledges that the field might not be easy to everyone, she insists it is not rocket science either. Dialwa, however, reveals that her success didn’t come easy. Being a single mother, she has since cut out on most social activities to compensate for the long hours she spends at work. “Although some may say I am anti-social, it’s the least I can do to spend time with my baby girl,” she says.