Interview with Felicien Izaturwanaho, Coordinator at ASPC Rwanda, about his experience taking the Master Class in Human Factors & Safety

AviAssist Foundation wants our staff and professional volunteer to develop their skills and knowledge during their time with us. This is why we take pride when our staff enrols in a course. We spoke to Felicien Izaturwanaho about his experience taking the Human Factors & Safety.

Why made you decide to do a master class in Human Factors & Safety?

Felicien posing for a picture during the break with other participants of the course.

The idea of pursuing the masterclass at the Aviation Academy of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) originated from my conversation with Dr. Maria Papanikou from the AUAS in Rwanda in 2020. Maria is Associated Professor of Safety and Human Factors at the University. She was part of the team that carried out the study in Africa’s AviAssist Safety Promotion (ASPC) in Rwanda. She asked me if I was interested in doing the masterclass she organised at her university with Profesor Robert J. de Boer and Profesor. Sidney Dekker. Without any hesitation, I replied, “YES!”

The masterclass was in a similar line of work as my bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology and my work at the ASPC-Rwanda, where I have focused on understanding human factors concerning aviation safety since 2019.

Also, the masterclass forms part of the aeronautical courses I did to improve my understanding of aviation, which helped me play a leading role in the growing aviation industry in Rwanda and Africa.

Can you explain briefly what the masterclass was about?

The masterclass was about human factors and safety. The course implemented theories and coursework, and practical exercises. I enjoyed how the masterclass was structured – theories came first, and then the exercises about the theories.

It was a lot to take in, ranging from human factors concepts, organizational psychology concepts to foundations of safety science. I learned a lot about the old and the new views of safety management.

In the old view, “human error” was often blamed for the cause of trouble, whilst in the new view, “human error” is a symptom of a system of human errors connected to tasks, tools, and the operating environment.

Felicien in the cockpit of a plane.

What was your favourite part of the masterclass, and why?

My favorite part was learning about understanding drift and creating resilience in the organization – especially understanding how to keep the discussion on risk alive. I feel like this is the backbone of creating safer operations in any organization. If you can’t discuss the risk, then you can’t learn from incidents and perhaps mistakes.

Sidney Dekker has a suitable quote about this. He says something along the lines that if an incident or a mistake occurs, then investigating it should be an important part of our lives. We need to be able to learn from our mistakes and from the persons who were involved.

Would you recommend someone to enrol in the masterclass, and why?

If you want the best partner to help, you reach your organization’s safety performance. Or if you wish to learn about the cutting-edge tools to improve safety in your daily operations. Then I would recommend this masterclass to you. The masterclass is developed based on extensive, applied research and analysis of companies around the world.

More information about the masterclass can be found here.

If you want to support Felicien’s continued learning, consider supporting his crowdfunding campaign towards his Master’s study in Human Factors in Aviation at Coventry University – you can find it here.