Following a partnership with the Blantyre Blantyre Research Facility African Sun Energy Botswana recently employed its first female solar engineer and Business Development Manager in Malawi.
The 24-year-old Malawi local holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Renewable Energy Systems from Mzuzu University, Malawi. Her passion for renewable energy started in 2015 when her community started experiencing frequent electricity blackouts. “I remember we would spend the whole day without electricity and life was boring and difficult,” she said. That is when she started fantasizing about how she could create electricity from home and took an interest in global climate issues. All of this led to her pursuing a qualification in Renewable Energy Systems which would ensure access to a modern, clean, reliable, and uninterrupted power supply.
Her pursuit of a sustainable future wasn’t a smooth one, as a scholar she experienced prejudice being a female in a male-dominated field. “I was advised to change the course and opt for something doable by women before I end up withdrawn on academic grounds”. According to her, her voice and opinion weren’t heard based on the assumption that men understood her field better.
As an employee, she worked in multiple projects as the only woman and in most instances, her capabilities were doubted. When interviewed she began to doubt her chosen career path and that women were expected to let go of their feminine side which was not the case. Among other myths about being a female in the industry was that you stand a lower chance of getting married which is why most women desist from joining the industry.
Despite this, her journey has been a breath of fresh air. Firstly, the e-learning program facilitated by Amos Chenamani, ASE’s Solar Engineer in Botswana, and being part of the solar apprenticeship boosted her confidence and gave her more insights into the solar industry. She further said that working on real-life projects helped her see her full potential despite her gender and the fact that all these projects were going to have an immense impact on the lives of many pushed her to work even harder.
Leticia joined the team in Botswana on the 1st of September for a six weeks immersive training through various projects. She looks forward to working with José Moreno Linares who has 20 years of experience in the solar industry globally and has recently joined the team in Botswana as well. She is also ecstatic to finally work with other females in the industry and for those who aren’t sure about pursuing a career in the solar energy industry all she had to say is “Be the goal-getter! What are you waiting for”?