Mentorship programme

15 women take next step towards energy sector leadership

SDG7 News

Nine months ago, 15 women from Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia looking to advance their careers in the energy access space sought support and advice from a group of professionals they had never met.

Today, these women are graduating from the 2020 People-Centered Accelerator Mentoring Programme, which saw them paired with mentors who supported them in areas such as public speaking, gaining confidence working with clients, planning to continue in higher education, and growing businesses.

The programme was designed by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) to accelerate the careers of women in junior or middle-management positions in energy access, supporting their pathways to leadership while fostering a global network of mentorship, knowledge-sharing and empowerment.

Mentees were paired with female mentors who have built successful careers in the energy sector. In addition to regular virtual meetings with mentors, the 15 women also participated in a series of knowledge transfer webinars on Personal Development, SEforALL’s 2019 Energizing Finance report, IEA’s Africa Energy Outlook, WRI’s Energy Access Explorer, and Presentation and Public Speaking.

With COVID-19 bringing new challenges to people’s personal and professional lives, the programme also hosted two online networking sessions where mentees had an opportunity to network with their peers and support each other through the early days of quarantine and economic uncertainty.

The knowledge transferred through these virtual events and through one-on-one consultations with mentors equipped the mentees with both inspiration and practical skills to apply in their careers.

Mavis Mainu, a mentee and renewable energy professional from Ghana, had this to say about the programme:

“I applied to join the People-Centered Accelerator Mentoring Programme to meet more women in sustainable energy, develop new skills and improve my knowledge in the sustainable energy sector. These goals were met and more. The most exceptional thing about the programme is how engaged the organizers are with participants to make sure our goals for the programme are met and to actively seek feedback aimed at improving the quality of the programme and its delivery.”

Mercy Kiio, a mentee and electrical engineer from Kenya, said:

“As a Mentee in the People-Centered Accelerator Mentoring Programme, this has been a journey of empowerment and exposure both in the energy sector and personal development. Through interaction with my mentor, speakers in various webinars and networking with fellow mentees, I am now a better version of myself ready to make my contribution towards achieving SDG7.”

Both SEforALL and GWNET recognize the tremendous dedication by mentors and mentees to the programme, whose efforts will help build a new generation of female leaders in energy. “Bringing women to the forefront of the global energy transition is essential for ensuing no one is left behind,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. “Mentorship programmes like this are key to equipping young women with tools and insights that will help them seize leadership roles.”

Christine Lins, Executive Director of GWNET, expressed her thanks to the participants in this year’s programme: “We at GWNET are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these incredible women and offer additional support to their inspiring careers and bright futures. There is much work to do in this Decade of Action on SDG7 and we are proud to work alongside the graduates of the People-Centered Accelerator Mentorship Programme to achieve our collective goals.”

GWNET is dedicated to driving the energy transition by empowering women through networking, advocacy and mentoring. This cohort is one of many that GWNET has coordinated with partners from the Middle East to Latin America. Motivated by immense benefits of mentorship, for mentees and mentors, GWNET has cultivated a network of over 150 mentees and 200+ mentors to advance the role of women as agents of change.

SEforALL looks forward to further collaboration with GWNET as part of our new Women at the Forefront programme, which offers a supportive platform for women at all stages of their sustainable energy careers.

Photo credit: Esther Wanza, Energy 4 Impact WIRE programme