The MD/CEO, Rural Electrification Agency (REA)(right) with the MD, Ceesolar, Chibuike Ekeh, in Abuja.
About 140 women are to benefit from the World Bank funded female Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Internship Programme, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has disclosed.
The REA is a Nigerian government agency tasked with the electrification of rural and underserved communities committed to providing reliable and sustainable electricity access to all Nigerians, while fostering gender equality and sustainable energy solutions.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the agency, Ahmad Salihijo, said on Monday in Abuja at the contract signing ceremony between the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) and Ceesolar, a renewable energy firm specialising in solar system design, construction and energy systems deployment.
Ceesolar is a consultancy firm specialising in renewable energy technologies and sustainable solutions using their expertise to power productivity, through innovative technologies, while seeking to provide optimum value and a lasting social impact.
Salihijo said the implementation of the female STEM Internship Programme was a vital component of the Energizing Education Programme, EEP II.
The MD said renewable energy was a rapidly growing sector, resulting in an increased demand for skilled professionals,
requiring women representation.
He expressed appreciation to the University of Abuja and all the beneficiary institutions for their commitment to the success of the programme, as he called on the female beneficiaries to make the most use of the opportunity.
“I would also like to thank the University of Abuja and all other beneficiary institutions for their commitment to the success of the entire Programme. I encourage all the female STEM students who have been selected for this programme to make the most of this opportunity. This is a chance for you to gain some of the important skills and experiences you need to build a successful career in the power sector,” he said.
The Head of the Project Management Unit of the NEP, Abba Aliyu, said the project was in the process of making history by building an ecosystem that would help to build and strengthen infrastructure, system as well as create the flow of capacity and talents.
Aliyu said he was interested in witnessing a replication and seamless transfer of the valuable knowledge and skills that the interns would gain during their internship experience, and stressed the importance of capitalising on this opportunity to maximise their growth in the renewable energy sector.
The Internship Programme is expected to provide theoretical and hands-on practical experience to 20 selected female students from each of the seven beneficiary institutions, including University of Abuja, University of Calabar, University of Maiduguri, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria Defense Academy, Federal University, Gashua, in stages of the EEP projects, as well as provide continued skills and capacity building after the STEM Internship Programme.
The Managing Director of Ceesolar, Chibuike Ekeh, expressed appreciation to REA for the partnership, saying his agency was delighted to be part of an impactful and sustainable project.
He explained that his dedicated team would in a concerted effort foster collaborative partnership with the students to create a comprehensive understanding of renewable energy, in a friendly and highly conducive learning environment.
Also, he said the students would be given a chance to visit the Energising Education Hybrid solar plant under construction within their school campuses, be part of the project and understand the different components and aspects of solar installation, first hand.
One of the immediate impacts of the project, he explained, would be the facilitation of 140 female STEM students’ transition into the field of renewable energy.
“This initiative aims to provide them with the essential knowledge and skills needed to excel in the industry, positioning them as leaders who will guide the sector’s development in the near future. This aligns with the broader goals of supporting the energy transition and contributing to the collective efforts to combat climate change,” he said.
By imparting this sense of responsibility and preparedness, the MD said the students would be better positioned to contribute to the job market and effect meaningful change in the realm of renewable energy.
The EEP II Female STEM Internship Programme will serve as a means of introducing and supporting young women who are enthusiastic about renewable energy and the power sector.