Grace Kassimoto is the only acoustic specialist from and working in East Africa. Since joining RSK Environment East Africa in January 2022, she has been supporting the business with project work across the region and leading the way for women in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Here, Grace tells us some more about her role and what she enjoys most about working in acoustics.
“I joined RSK in January 2022 as a graduate acoustic consultant working for RSK Environment (East Africa) Limited and RSK Acoustics. I did my bachelor’s degree in environmental science and management at Ardhi University, then progressed to a master’s degree in climate change and sustainable development at the University of Dar es Salaam.”
Grace when she started her role at RSK Environment and has enjoyed taking on the new challenges it brings, even though it’s part of a discipline she didn’t expect to work in.
Before starting at RSK, I had an exciting experience working in research and construction industries doing various environmental assessments. Then I stumbled upon an opportunity to work in acoustics at RSK and realised I needed a career shake-up!
“I researched and read about it, and the more I did, the more curiosity and interest it sparked. I decided to take the leap and enrolled for a postgraduate Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control at the Institute of Acoustics I am undertaking my diploma in the UK, and I’m delighted to now also work as the only acoustician from and based in East Africa.”
A typical day for Grace involves lots of fieldwork, which is “where all the fun happens!”
“My work in the field starts with packing the tools for the site and a camera for the beautiful views while travelling there. I set up the noise/vibration meter, take photos and a video of the set-up and its surrounding, set the timer on the meter and let it run. Monitoring is accompanied with taking notes and photos of the surroundings, the sound sources. I finish my site visits undoing the set-up, downloading the data from the meters, packing the equipment back in the van and heading back to the office for data processing and analysis.”
“In acoustics, all the fun happens when travelling to different destinations for site visits,” Grace continues, “and modelling the site to predict the impacts on different scenarios.”
“In Tanzania, the most interesting aspects of surveying are the responses from locals when explaining to them what work is being done, the curiosity from the people that usually leads to demonstrations and the different noise sources while monitoring, such as insects and birds, farming techniques and domestic activities using traditional tools.”
Though Grace spends most of her time out in the field, there is more to be done when returning to the office. “Processing the data comes with a lot of sensitivity when observing the fluctuation of noise levels with time, matching it to the sources recorded at a particular time on the field notes and putting together the photos to match the area and aid the description.”
“There’s more to acoustics than what I have briefly highlighted,” Grace says. “In East Africa, with the increasing number of development projects that countries are undertaking and plan to partake in, there’s a likelihood of people becoming more sensitive to noise in their homes, workplaces and recreational areas, thus increasing the need for people who have the know-how to help mitigate and alleviate the impacts. There are endless opportunities in my field, which is very exciting to me!”