COP26, Glasgow, 5 November 2021:
On day five of the historic COP26 climate conference, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Enel Foundation launched a new partnership to create the next generation of energy sector leaders in Africa, where energy deficits and access rates are among the world’s highest. Under the banner of an expanded Open Africa Power programme, the partnership targets the training and leadership development of women and youth within the energy sector.
Leveraging two existing programmes – Enel Foundation’s Open Africa Power and SEforALL’s Women at the Forefront – the co-managed Open Africa Power programme will expand to include mentorships and job shadowing in addition to technical training, and will increase the participation of women.
Open Africa Power, is now in its fourth year, with a cohort of 90 professional trainees from 28 African countries. Conducted in partnership with top academic institutions in Africa and Italy, the programme provides holistic training to develop the technical, regulatory and business skills needed to electrify Africa, where there are still almost 600 million people without access to electricity.
SEforALL’s Women at the Forefront programme supports women in the sustainable energy sector through technical training and mentorships. SEforALL recently sponsored 100 women to complete technical training on solar design and installation and energy management provided by Strathmore University’s Energy Research Center in Nairobi, Kenya.
The launch event at COP26 featured testimonials from outstanding young graduates who are fast becoming leaders in their fields: Carol Ofafa, an Electrical and Electronic Engineer at the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) and co-founder of an e-mobility startup based in Kenya, E-Safiri; Olakunle Alao, a PhD researcher at the University College Dublin and founder of a blockchain electricity project finance startup ; and Sally Musonye, a Design and Construction Engineer at Kenya Power and founder of AshGold Africa Initiative.
To expand the critical work of elevating women and youth in the energy sector, SEforALL and Enel Foundation recognize that they can go further together by scaling up opportunities for youth and women. This approach will also help to stem the brain drain in countries that have the highest need for energy experts to build the foundation for a more sustainable and just future.
“This is a critical time for the energy sector, and a moment where we need the talent, innovation and enthusiasm of women and youth at the forefront of the energy transition,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, the CEO and Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. “With women and youth the most impacted by energy deficits and the climate crisis, it is important to create opportunities for women and youth to participate and lead in the solutions that will create a more sustainable and equitable energy future.”
“Sharing knowledge through education and mentoring is a fundamental lever to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7. People-Centered Energy Transition must rely on a diverse team of talented and motivated experts,” said Carlo Papa, Managing Director of Enel Foundation. “We are honored to join forces with SEforAll as convergence is the name of the game in winning the race to a clean energy future for all.”
SEforALL and Enel Foundation are committed to rolling out more details of their partnership in the months to come.