Nonprofit organisation South African Women in Engineering (SAWomEng) has partnered with consumer goods giant Unilever to help create engineering capacity across Africa, says SAWomEng cofounder and CEO Naadiya Moosajee.
SAWomEng has created a targeted set of interventions to attract, develop and nurture the next generation of women engineers. It aims to develop a toolbox that will enable any country to use the programme materials to run workshops, she explains.
The organisation will assist in tailoring projects to local conditions, cultures and environments.
“We aim to develop ‘The GirlEng Pink Box’ using our grade 11 and 12 GirlEng programme. This programme attracts high-potential maths and science learners and nurtures and mentors them so that they are able to enrol for an engineering qualification.”
The mentorship continues during students’ final year of study and initial internship.
“SAWomEng has partnered with Unilever to help create engineering capacity across Africa.”
SAWomEng also has a professional network platform, called @Network, which enables practising male and female engineering professionals to network and engage on topics affecting the industry.
An @Network event will be held at The Middleton hotel, in Sandton, on October 17. It will focus on available business opportunities and the practices required to expand engineering businesses on the continent and will feature Unilever Manufacturing in Africa VP Simon Smith.
The event is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organi- sation, Unilever, armaments developer and manufacturer Denel Dynamics and petrochemicals giant Sasol, besides others.
The conference will also focus on the diminish- ing opportunity and advantage of supplying engineering skills and services to Africa from South Africa.
Further, the SAWomEng conference is a yearly event and the technical challenge at the conference provides students with first-hand experience of working in a new engineering team with people from diverse backgrounds. Female engineering students have an opportunity to find solutions to global challenges and develop and prepare for practice.
“The aim is for the 60 handpicked students to provide solutions to real-world problems. Students also learn other critical skills, such as presenting an idea, presentation skills and meeting clients’ expectations, during this week,” says Moosajee.
SAWomEng received the award for top nongovernmental organisation from Top Women magazine, she concludes.