In recognition of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, USAID and Power Africa are highlighting internship programs for women in the energy sector in a three-part series. Our final feature focuses on Kenya’s program that spans opportunities across the entire energy sector.
USAID recognizes that expanding women’s participation in the energy sector — and particularly in decision-making roles — can advance inclusive economic growth and improve financial performance and sustainability across the sector. Research shows that gender diversity in the workplace is correlated with both profitability and value creation, yet the energy industry remains one of the least gender-diverse sectors globally.
Internships and training programs open pathways for women in the traditionally male-dominated energy sector. This three-part series highlights some of the Power Africa-supported programs that are creating opportunities for women in the power industry in sub-Saharan Africa.
KENYA INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS
A 2019 Power Africa gender-gap analysis showed that women are underrepresented at all levels in East African power sector entities. The study showed that up to 75 percent of technical roles were held by men. This gender disparity was also present in internship programs.
Power Africa launched an all-female internship program in Kenya in 2020 to enable young women to acquire practical experience in technical fields, and thus develop a pipeline of qualified young women in the East African energy sector. A similar program commenced in Rwanda, and Tanzania’s program is expected to begin this year.
In its first year, 15 interns took on roles in Kenya’s electricity transmission company, electric utilities, and the Geothermal Development Company. Power Africa and participating entities collaborated to determine the skill sets needed, and developed gender-balanced internship role descriptions and advertisements aimed at attracting female applicants.
Intern Spotlight: Theresia Nyaui
Theresia Nyaui is an intern at Kenya Power, where she works in the Operations and Maintenance department in the utility’s Nairobi North Region.
“This experience has helped me build social and communication skills. We encounter many customers in the field who have different needs and it is prudent to communicate with them and make them feel valued as we address their electricity concerns. I have also learned the value of teamwork while in the field.”
Intern Spotlight: Debora Kavyu
With a Diploma in Procurement and Supply Chain Management, Debora Kavyu is a supply chain intern at Kenya Power.
“I am grateful for the experience accorded to me through this sponsorship. I have learned a lot about procurement processes and handling of various procurement documents. I am confident that through this experience I will one day become an experienced Supply Chain Officer and apply all that I have learned.”
This story is the final in a three-part series on internship programs for women in the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Read our first installment on an apprenticeship program in Rwanda, and our second story on opportunities in energy regulation.