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Women’s Month staff spotlight - Ruba Ishak


Ruba Ishak, Senior Specialist, Partnerships and Development


My name is Ruba Ishak, and I work in the Partnerships and Development team at SEforALL. Over the past ten years, my experience in the development and humanitarian sector has largely been in advocacy, research, and partnerships roles. I have a master’s degree in economics and am from Melbourne, Australia.

Reflecting on your involvement in various SEforALL projects & initiatives, could you highlight one that you found particularly impactful in advancing the inclusion and empowerment of women?

Two highlights come to mind:

SEforALL is investing in early career training for young women to help them access the growing number of jobs in the sustainable energy sector. It has been inspiring to hear firsthand accounts from the talented first cohort of 12 recent or soon-to-be university graduates from Sierre Leone participating in our STEM Training programme. This programme includes on-site fieldwork experience installing solar technology at hospitals and clinics as part of our Sierra Leone Healthcare Electrification Project, where we are electrifying seven hospitals and 25 health facilities.

SEforALL is also empowering women entrepreneurs via the Universal Energy Facility with results-based financing. Take Creed Energy in Nigeria, for example — a women-led business we support that provides sustainable energy to thousands of SMEs (Small and Midsize Enterprises), boosting investor confidence to unlock further financing to grow their business.

What do you perceive as one of the primary challenges in fostering women's increased participation in the sustainable energy sector?

As with any technology and engineering heavy industry, I believe we need to focus on education as the entry point for increasing women’s participation in the sector. Although there has been progress over the years, fewer girls than boys are still picking STEM subjects in schools and universities. We need to inspire and encourage girls from a young age to take up STEM. At the same time, we also need to keep reforming the sustainable energy sector to be an inclusive and equitable workplace for all.

What guidance or advice would you extend to women who aspire to establish careers in sustainable energy?

Jump in! And know that there is an amazing network of incredibly talented women who can mentor, guide, and inspire you in this sector, as well as organizations such as SEforALL that support women with capacity-building programmes as key agents of change for a just and equitable energy transition.