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April 23, 2024
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Participants at the launch of DELT-Her in Abuja

NASENI moves to enhance female participation in Nigeria’s engineering sector

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By Sylvester Thompson

The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has expressed commitment to encourage more female participation in Nigeria’s engineering sector.

Its Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Khalil Halilu, said this on Friday at the launch of Developing Engineering Leaders Through Her (DELT-Her), in Abuja.

Halilu described the initiative as an opportunity platform through which girls and young women could pitch and present their exciting and ground breaking ideas for funding.

He disclosed that the agency would fund the project through its Presidential Implementation Committee on Technology Transfer (PICTT).

“ What we seek to do is to close the gender gap in engineering, inspire the next generation, provide financial support for new ideas and projects, as well as strengthen the entire engineering ecosystem.”

He noted that global average for female representation in engineering was 28 per cent, which was very little.

“In Nigeria, it’s only five per cent, only one in 20 Nigerian engineers is a woman.

“ It is this imbalance that DELT-Her seeks to correct, by focusing attention and funding on young women.

” Very importantly, creating and cultivating public awareness around the need to train and mentor more women, ” he said.

Halilu said that through DELT-Her, the agency intended to double the number of female engineers in Nigeria over the next five years.

According to him, NASENI will contribute to the economic growth and development of Nigeria through job creation and technical skills development.

In his remarks, Dr Muhammad Dahiru, Chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Technology Transfer (PICTT), said the initiative was a call for proposals towards the implementation of DELT-Her initiative.

“It is no coincidence that the launch is scheduled to be held on the anniversary celebration of the International Women’s Day.

“It is to underscore the esteem attributed to the contributions of women as well as their potentials in our society, ” Dahiru said.

He said that the committee threw its weight of support behind women through the DELT-Her project.

He said that the project focused on encouraging more female participation in Nigeria’s engineering sector.

Dahiru noted statistics revealed the dire need for deliberate actions to be targeted at the existing gender imbalance in the engineering sector, to inspire inclusion while contributing to the nation’s GDP..

He maintained that the committee through NASENI’s support, was determined to fund innovative and commercially viable ideas in engineering and technology proposals by women.

He said to actualise the birth of multiple start-up companies from ideas selected under the project, each successful applicant would be matched with female mentors who are industry giants both in engineering and business.

According to him, the submission portal for proposals will go live from March 9 and proposals will be accepted till May 20, when submissions close.

Also, Mrs Margaret Oguntola, President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), said the initiative was a pivotal moment in the collective efforts to foster gender inclusion and empower women in the field of engineering.

She said women remained significantly under-represented in the engineering workforce, facing barriers and challenges that hindered their full participation and advancement in the field.

Similarly, the Chairman, Senate Committee on NASENI, Sen. Ezenwa Onyewuchi, lauded the project as lofty and germane.

“ We must ensure cultural balance that women take their rightful places in the area of science and technology.

“ The right environment should be created for women to excel, ” Onyewuchi said. (NAN)

Edited by Deji Abdulwahab

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