Lighting the way for women in the East African energy sector

Female apprentices from East Africa
Power Africa is working toward bridging the gender diversity gap in the East African energy sector. Photo Credit: WIRE

Power Africa recently expanded our All-Women Apprenticeship and Internship Program to Tanzania and Somalia, in addition to ongoing internships in Kenya and Rwanda. This program helps female graduates from universities and technical colleges acquire on-the-job training through 6- to 12-month rotational apprenticeships or internships. Ultimately, Power Africa is working toward bridging the gender diversity gap in the East African energy sector.

In Rwanda, the Women in Rwandan Energy (WIRE) apprenticeship program has placed 94 female apprentices in various energy companies, 12 of whom secured full-time jobs. WIRE, which started its apprenticeship program in 2020, is collaborating with government power entities, including Rwanda Energy Group (REG), as well as several private companies.

“Years ago, women and girls were often excluded from global and national decision-making, raising gender bias and inequity in different aspects. Today as a woman in energy, I enjoy working in the sector because it is tremendously exciting to work and develop a successful career. It has significant impacts on other areas in terms of economic, environmental, and industrial development”— Nadine Ikuzwe

The Kenyan internship program, which started in February 2020, has placed 26 interns across four entities: Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), Kenya Power and Lighting Company (Kenya Power), Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) and the Geothermal Development Company (GDC). To date, each of these companies have taken on five female interns.

“Working in the energy sector gives me contentment to see us light the world and drive the economy. It is also a pleasure to be a living witness to the younger generation that women have equal capacity to be part of the economy’s core sectors” — Racheal Macharia

Two private companies, Zola Electric and d.light, will kickstart the internship program in Tanzania. Zola Electric has already placed four interns.

In Somalia, two companies, SolarGen and SECCCO, will place seven female interns in engineering-related departments for 6 months each. These interns started in June 2021.

The expanded internship program allows Power Africa to collaborate with public companies and private companies, some of whom are Power Africa partners.

As an added value, Power Africa is offering workforce-readiness training series to equip the interns and apprentices with career enhancement skills. Power Africa also continues to work with networks of women, through various programs, to provide peer-to-peer learning, advice, support, and advocacy. Currently, Power Africa is supporting Rwanda’s POWERHer network, Ethiopian Women in Energy (EWiEn), and Tanzania Women in Energy Development (TaWoED).

Through a wide range of activities, Power Africa will provide increasing support to help the East African energy sector adapt to a more gender-balanced approach to its workforce.

Power Africa’s Women in African Power (WiAP) network supports the participation and advancement of women in Africa’s energy sector.

A U.S. Government-led partnership that seeks to add 30,000 MW and 60 million electricity connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 > https://bit.ly/2yPx3lJ