Orange SL Sponsors Leads Charge for Women in Renewable Energy Conference

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Orange Sierra Leone, one of the leading telecommunications network in Sierra Leone, demonstrated its commitment to supporting women in the renewable energy sector by sponsoring a one-day conference organized by Women in Renewable Energy Sierra Leone (WIRE). Held on March 22nd, 2024, at Sierra Palms in Aberdeen in Freetown, the event aimed to highlight the pivotal role of renewable energy in tackling global challenges such as climate change and sustainable economic development. It also provided a platform to promote gender equality, empower women, and foster a more inclusive and diverse renewable energy sector in Sierra Leone.
In her keynote address, N’deye Fatu Koroma, the National Coordinator of SLCDU, underscored the importance of women’s participation in Sierra Leone’s energy sector for achieving economic transformation through a just energy transition. She advocated for equal access and opportunities for women to contribute to renewable energy development, stressing the need for a gender-responsive approach to address inequalities and leverage women’s potential as agents of change. She highlighted the necessity for deep structural changes to increase female representation in leadership roles within the renewable energy industry.
She further delved into the current lack of female representation in STEM-related jobs, particularly in technical and engineering positions within Sierra Leone’s energy sector. N’deye Fatu Koroma attributed such a disparity to cultural norms, educational biases and institutional barriers that hinder women’s access to STEM programs and related jobs. Acknowledging that global trends of women being underrepresented in STEM fields she emphasizes the importance of addressing those challenges in a context-specific manner.
The SLCDU National Coordinator discussed the multifaceted roles that women play in the energy sector, balancing professional responsibilities with familial obligations. She also described how societal expectations and workplace biases can impact women’s experiences in technical fields, leading to stereotypes and prejudices that hinder their advancement.
Calling for workplace policies that support and prioritize women’s continued employment she also demanded the need to address systemic barriers to their full participation in the renewable energy space.
The President of the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone (REASL), Muctarr Turay,in his statement, emphasized  the importance of ensuring women’s happiness for overall happiness and success in life.
He highlighted the need to empower and support women to drive positive change and innovation within the energy sector and reiterated REASL’s commitment to empowering women in technical and management roles, with a focus on increasing their involvement over the next two years.

Muctarr Turay stressed the need for women to play an active role in the energy transition with an  aim to demonstrate tangible results of their contributions to the sector. The conference, he stated, served as a platform to celebrate women’s achievements in the sector and provided opportunities for them to advance in their careers through collaboration, mentorship, and support.
The Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Mina Yema Sobba-Stephens, underscored the significance of empowering women in various sectors, including the energy sector, to move towards gender equality. She highlighted the need for women to have access to education, diversity building, and economic opportunities, including entrepreneurship and leadership roles.
Sobba-Stephens stressed the significance of clean energy in empowering women and achieving sustainable development, citing the benefits of providing women with access to clean cooking technologies.
She also emphasized that financial incentives, support mechanisms, and policy reforms are crucial for ensuring gender equality in the renewable energy sector. She concluded by stressing the importance of realizing the full potential of women and transitioning to cleaner energy for a sustainable future, maintaining that there is need for inclusive policies, fair regulations, financial support, educational programs and awareness campaigns.
Representing the EU Delegation to Sierra Leone, Elisa Tesselli highlighted the active participation of women in the energy transition and stressed the need for women to contribute actively to sustainable development through leadership training and participation in clean cooking solutions. She acknowledged the challenges faced by renewable energy companies in Sierra Leone and expressed optimism for increased female representation and contributions to discussions addressing gender disparities in the sector.
Adaku Ufere, Chief of Party for USAID and Power Africa, discussed the critical role women play in driving innovation and sustainable solutions within the clean energy sector in West Africa. She highlighted initiatives aimed at promoting gender equity and empowering women in leadership roles, emphasizing the significance of investing in women’s empowerment within the energy sector to drive positive change and promote sustainable development. Ufere expressed gratitude for organizations like the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone and Power Africa for creating inclusive spaces and opportunities for women in the industry.

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