National-Level Round Table Event To Support Women Entrepreneurship In Energy Sector

National-Level Round Table Event To Support Women Entrepreneurship In Energy Sector

The National Round Table event sponsored by Solar Sister Nigeria, Africa Clean Energy, and supported by Energia was held on Thursday, 29th July, 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria.

This comes, as part of efforts to promote women entrepreneurship, in the energy sector.

Solar Sister, is an organisation, that trains and supports women, to deliver clean energy directly to homes in rural African communities. Essential services and training that enable women entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses in their own communities are also provided.

Chioma Ome, Solar Sister Training Manager, was the host of the Round Table discussions, which was focused on ENABLING POLICY AND MARKET ENVIRONMENTS TO SUPPORT WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE CLEAN ENERGY SECTOR.

The round table, focused on three key points, which includes; the opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the clean energy value chain, the prospects of having more women energy entrepreneurs and how these opportunities can be unlocked.

Solar sister country director, Olasimbo Sojinrin, gave the welcome address; while the Goodwill message was delivered by the Head of Special Project, Anita Otubu.

The opening remarks was by Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Hon. Sharon Ikeazor, represented by Dr Pricilla Achakpa, the founder and Executive Director of Women Environmental Programme (WEP) in Nigeria.

Silvia Sartori, the Program Manager, Women Economic Empowerment, ENERGIA, gave a special remark on Gender & Sustainable Energy policy and environments to support women entrepreneurs.

She said “Energy access is not just turning light on in the dark, but having access to clean cooking technology, clean accessible water source and technology that brings global information”.

She also noted that men are more likely to have access to modern energy than women. ENERGIA focuses on changing the narrative, by engaging women entrepreneurs in local networks of women, to bring modern energy to developing communities, for use in their homes, schools, businesses and health clinics.

“ENERGIA, also work to ensure that gender is a part of policy making conversation nationally, to help support women’s entrepreneurship in the energy sector”.

The keynotes speaker at the event was Dr. Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun, a representative from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She manages and coordinates the African Rift Geothermal Facility Program (ARGeo) and Renewable Energy Portfolio in the Africa office in Nairobi.

Dr. Meseret, spoke about ‘Gender Equality’. She talked about the importance of gender equality and how women can have access to clean Energy usage.

She said “Africa is behind in development, and it tells most on women. Only 32% of women are in administration and Technical Workforce”.

She noted that it will take 79 years, for Africa as a continent to achieve gender equality because there is no means of implementation.

In regards to a question asked about activities and actions taken to help rural women, Dr. Meseret, pointed out that UNEP is not a finance agency.

During the event, a 6minutes video, showcasing the entrepreneurship journey of three Solar Sisters across Nigeria – Josephine Damak, from Plateau State, Agwunobi Anthonia, from Anambra State and Oluseyi Ojetunde, from Ogun State was played.

The panel section held, was dividend into three sections;

1st panel discussion was from women entrepreneurs and the objective is to learn directly from the women about their entrepreneurship journey, opportunities, and challenges.

The panel consisted of Esther Peter from Kaduna, Mary Dauda from Bauchi and Oluwakemi Ojewoye from Lagos.

The women, said they became members of Solar Sister after they lost their husbands, and it has been helpful in providing for their families.

However, funding have been a major setback for their entrepreneurship journey. Another setback have been in the technical know how.

The moderator, noted that it will be an added advantage to train women to be solar technicians.

The Managing Director, Energy Training Centre, (ETC), Mrs Ibiene Okeleke, in her remarks noted that ladies resist technical training. She added that she has on hand cases where ladies do not seize the opportunity.

2nd panel discussion was based on Renewable Energy policies that supports women entrepreneurship.

The objective is to explore the current policies supporting women entrepreneurship in the energy space as well gaps in the implementation of these policies.

Panelists include Ify Malo (CEO, Clean Technology Hub) Engenier Faruk Yusuf Yabo, (Ag Director Renewable and Rural Access, Federal Ministry of Power),
Dr. Abdulwaheed Ahmed (Ag Director Energy Policy, Planning, and Analysis, Energy Commission of Nigeria), Queen Aghomon (Asst.Country Manager ACETAF).
Moderator was Temilade Sesan.

3rd panel discussion was centered around market environment, barriers and opportunities for women entrepreneurship in the energy space.

Panelists are Dr Innocent Onah (AFDB), Habiba Ali (CEO Sosai Renewables), Adedotun Eyinade (Program Manager of NoMAP), Kathy Julik-Heine (USAID Power Africa – Nigeria Power Sector Program) Moderator was, Chinazo Nwaoha.

Others, who graced the event are; Leah Umeokeke, Gender Specialist, Power Africa/USAID, Chime Onwuka, Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Gender Programme Manager, Eme Kponu, Energy Advisor, Power Africa, Kayla Winarsky Green – Danish Institute For Human Rights in Copenhagen, Morenike Omaiboje, Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON).

Below, are more pictures from the event;


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