Mr Faruk Yabo, Director, Renewable and Rural Power Access Department, Federal Ministry of Power, says the Federal Government is adopting policies that target female inclusion in the nation’s renewable energy sector.
Yabo, a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), said this at a virtual annual public lecture organised by Lagos Chapter, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN).
He said that energy needs globally had been on the increase since 2018, hence the need to evolve strategies sustainable to harness the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) for Nigeria.
Yabo said Nigeria was blessed with various renewable energy sources and was evolving a national action plan for mainstreaming female inclusion.
Speaking on the theme — Powering Sustainable Energy: Diversity and Inclusion of Women in Renewable Energy Initiative — the director enumerated important roles women play in the sector.
“It is only through policies that we can create the enabling environment for this gender inclusiveness and diversity to take place. So, what we have started doing as a ministry is to come up with a national action plan for gender mainstreaming in energy.
“We are lucky enough to have the support of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency who have senior consultant to work with the ministry in terms of mainstreaming this energy access into our national gender policy,’’ he said.
The director said that the policy was being planned alongside the Ministry of Women Affairs.
He said that the ministry of power and its leadership were committed to the concept of mainstreaming gender in energy access, while listing some efforts of the ministry to remove the inequality.
Yabo, who was among the recipients of the APWEN virtual awards, dedicated his award to all the ladies undergoing and championing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the nation.
The guest speaker, Chief Anita Okuribido, President, Women in Renewable Energy, while reeling out statistics, lamented exclusion of rural women in the renewable energy sector.
Okuribido said the nation’s SDG number seven focused on the need to empower rural women, adding that global renewable energy sector was growing without it impacting Nigerian women.
She said Nigerian women formed a large segment of those who were supposed to drive the alternative and clean energy campaign.
Okuribido said traditional engineering jobs were dominated by men and recommended that the trend of renewable energy sector not impacting Nigerian women should be reversed.
She called for sustainability analysis and urged APWEN to drive the campaign and collate data in the six geopolitical zones toward getting more women to embrace clean energy to preserve the environment.
Mrs Oluremi Hamid, CEO, Hydren Energy, said that women were technically underestimated in the sector and called for measures against the bias.
“We are positioning ourselves for opportunities, companies need to employ more female engineers,’’ she said.
Dr Wiebe Boer, Chief Executive Officer, All On, promised a collaboration with APWEN and other companies toward bridging the gap.
Boer, while listing female role models in the renewable sector in Nigeria, said they were successful and could encourage female young engineers who should see opportunities for them.
He named companies which young female engineers could look up to become distinct in engineering as well as upgrade their skills in renewable energy.
The CEO also listed foreign grant opportunities available for entrepreneurial engineers, adding that 50 per cent of these were reserved for females.
“It is a challenge and I feel we need to break the stereotypes,’’ he said.
Mr Duke Benjamin, Head of Programme, Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP) GIZ, also promised to collaborate with APWEN.
APWEN Lagos Chairman, Mrs Funmi Afolayan, pledged the association’s commitment to partner some relevant organisations towards revolutionising renewable energy sector in Nigeria.
“We are willing to connect female engineers who are in this field with available opportunities in form of training, funding, internships, jobs and then we would be happy to see more funders or CEOs come up on renewable energy,” she said.
Other speakers called for legislation to ensure female inclusion and challenged women to work on their capabilities to merit it.
They also advocated policies that would ensure job creation for rural women in the renewable energy space, stating that women from other fields who were not engineers could also benefit from such opportunities.
The guest of honour, Mrs Yetunde Holloway, Chairman, Women in Engineering, was among the 12 recipients of the APWEN awards.
APWEN also used the occasion to introduce and announce its partnership with the Junior Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.