Kukua Asamoah, GNA
Accra, June 13, GNA - The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), under its Gender and Social Inclusion Directorate is engaging over 300 females to enrol them into internships and mentoring programme that would prepare them for careers in modern energy services.
The initiative would help attract more women into the energy sector, thereby helping get more females to undertake courses in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programmes.
“These ladies would get the practical skills, information, knowledge and support they need in the power sector to equip them to become attractive applicants for the employers in the energy sector,” Dr Cherub Antwi-Nsiah, Director of Gender and Social Inclusion Unit at MiDA, announced on Wednesday.
At a media briefing in Accra, Dr Antwi-Nsiah said the first batch of 50 engineering students, selected from five public institutions, would be starting their two months mentoring programmes with selected partner institutions that were partnering MiDA to implement the Ghana Power Compact, also known as Compact II.
The Compact II projects and initiatives seek to address the constraints to the supply of adequate and reliable power in the country.
In Compact II, MiDA is ensuring equitable access to energy by using targeted approaches to take account of gender disparities in access to credit, land and information, affordable connection fee for vulnerable groups and women to own businesses; electrification of social infrastructure that offers high benefits to women and promoting productive uses of energy for men and women.
Dr Antwi-Nsiah was speaking on the gender responsive and the socially inclusive project under the Compact II.
She said the female students from the tertiary, technical and vocational institutions would first be enrolled under a pilot scheme starting in few days’ time, and then increased to 100 students yearly until 2021.
She indicated that the first batch would be sent to public institutions, including the Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Standards Authority, and the Energy Commission, Ghana, who were partnering MiDA to implement Compact II.
Dr Antwi-Nsiah said the interns would be coached and mentored to take up jobs and careers in the energy sectors upon their completion to bridge the gender inequality gap that existed in many sectors of society.
She said despite efforts at promoting women in STEM programmes in schools, only few women took up courses at the tertiary levels and that was being reflected in the positions within the energy sector.
She said only few women were in key decision making positions in the energy sector as more of them were not getting the education and training required for the sector.
Also, most markets do not have access to electricity which posed insecurity problems for women who mostly outnumbered the men at the markets, Dr Antwi-Nsiah said.
She said studies had proven that few women were into entrepreneurship, while most women turn not to have access to modern energy services due to the work they usually do.
She said there was also a global energy poverty which underlined the fact that some people did not have access to energy in the world, and women mostly tend not to have access to energy by the virtue of their careers and jobs.
She stated that it was the responsibility of MiDA to ensure that electricity delivery was equitable to both men and women and the vulnerable groups as well, while the Compact goal was to improve poverty through economic empowerment.
Mr Samuel Afram, Access Project Manager, MiDA, on his part, said eight markets within the Greater Accra and Northern Regions had been earmarked to regularise their energy connectivity, while all illegal connections would be properly connected to aid proper economic activities.
Those markets which do not have lights would be connected while the high voltage consumption bulbs would be exchanged with LED bulbs.