LAGOS: At least sixty female engineering students in Nigeria will be awarded scholarships over the next two years to encourage them to pursue careers in the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) sector, where women are underrepresented.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with the support of the Government of Nigeria and the Society of Women Engineers, has launched the Charity Kpabep Scholarship. Named in memory of an RAC engineer and a former consultant for UNIDO who died in 2021, the scholarship is a part of UNIDO’s Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase-out Management Plan (Stage III) project, funded by the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol.
The official launch ceremony of the scholarship took place during the project inception workshop held in Lagos. The first awardee was Kalenebari Kpabep, a student from Nile University of Nigeria in Abuja.
Fukuya Iino, UNIDO Industrial Development Officer, said, “This scholarship aims to empower women and provide a richer pool of talent that propels development.”
One of the goals of the project is to increase the number of female experts and policymakers, and speaking at the launch ceremony, Madi Sakande, President of the Union of Associations of African Actors in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (U-3ARC), said, “Promoting women technicians has a positive impact as they are likely to influence other women they meet during their work. In addition, they can raise awareness of climate issues, refrigerants and good practices on energy saving methods, and then can influence the whole family.”
Sakande explained that his organization has seen a steady rise in the participation of women technicians from Africa in the training workshops the U-3ARC has been offering regularly.
The scholarship programme will run for two years, although as UNIDO’s Iino explained, “The hope is that the programme will continue and also expand to other African countries.”