Monica Maduekwe's career empowering women
Published on 8 October 2020
Monica Maduekwe is building a career empowering women within the energy sector and fighting for a just transition across West Africa
"For as long as I can remember, I have always been passionate about Nigeria’s development, and, as I got older and more aware, for Africa as a whole. I have always wanted for us to enjoy the same basic amenities that advanced economies took for granted, like stable electricity, running water and good roads.
"A masters in Energy Studies was part of the solution. I saw it as my opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to make a difference, I could drive the change I wanted to see in my country and continent.
"My dad worked in a managerial role in one of the key state-owned petroleum institutions in Nigeria, and, as an insider in the energy sector, he knew where the market was heading to and he knew the universities that were delivering the most value in preparing specialists for the future market. When I started working on my university applications, Dundee was already known among energy sector players in Nigeria as the go-to institution for would-be energy specialists. Our fingers were crossed that Dundee would accept me. I remember my father leaping from his seat when I came home to inform him that I had received an offer from the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) at the University of Dundee.
"The training I received at CEPMLP was crucial to launching my career in energy, not only was the course aligned to the ongoing transformations in the global energy sector but it was also where I heard about an internship at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).
"My application for ECREEE was successful and, as a result, I celebrated my graduation remotely in Praia, Cabo Verde. I’m still employed by ECREEE to this day and have had the opportunity to lead or work within the team formulating these four transformational regional policies which were adopted by member countries of ECOWAS:
- Renewable Energy Policy
- Energy Efficiency Policy
- Bioenergy Policy
- ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access
"At ECREEE, I continue to coordinate the gender mainstreaming programme and I’m also the Programme Officer for Resource Mobilisation and Project Development at ECREEE.
"However, with the transformations in the sector, for example with the power sector becoming more open to not just private sector participation but small and medium sized enterprises as well, we are seeing new roles opening up for women to pursue- both in technical and entrepreneurial endeavours. It is not a surprise that women’s participation in the renewable energy sector is much higher compared to the conventional energy sector, as the barriers to entry are lower
"Such a paradigm shift that comes with women’s participation is needed more than ever, especially given the level of climate action the world needs today.
"Every individual on earth needs energy services for lighting, heating, cooling, transport, etc. Obviously the impacts of depending heavily on finite sources of energy is a no brainer. Sustainable energy and sustainable development in general isn’t something that we need for just the future generation, it is something we need to pursue for this generation’s wellbeing as well. For West Africa, the benefits of transitioning to an energy system driven by sustainable energy are both economic and social. West Africa is richly endowed with resources to aid this transition. The region needs to take this opportunity to spearhead a development trajectory that puts the region’s economic goals and ambitions at the forefront.
"With this insight I have been working on more ambitious projects, such as launching a technology start-up, Puttru, aimed at furthering my goals of contributing to Africa’s development.
"By the end of 2021, it will be ten years since my graduation from Dundee and Puttru will have been operational for a year. By then I hope to be closer to achieving our vision of helping the African energy market meet its current and future energy demands in a sustainable way."
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