Join the League of the Society’s problem-solvers, mentees told… As Nwanyi Okpuzu initiative graduates first batch of female engineering craftsmen
Poised to provide a post-primary technical education and practical proficiency and in turn contribute to the knowledge and understanding of young women whose aspirations and abilities are towards practical work, a nonprofit organization, Nwanyi Okpuzu initiative (The She-Technician) has released the first batch of technicians to join the League of the Society’s problem-solvers.
Founder of Nwanyi Okpuzu Initiative, Engr. Mrs. Chibuogwu Nneka Okoro.
Recall that the shortage of skilled technicians has always been a problem for the Nigerian economy and a one-time President of the Council for the Registration of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) Engineer Mustapha Bulama had in one of his outings raised alarm over the shortage of craftsmen and technicians in the country, saying, “the situation has become so bad that many Nigerians now hire artisans from neighbouring countries”.
Speaking in Umuahia, Abia State, during the maiden graduation ceremony (THE TRAILBLAZERS 0’23) of the mentees who underwent a one-year mentorship programme in their various fields of engineering craft – POP, Electrical wiring, Tiling/3D flooring, Installation of Solar panels, Air conditioning, refrigerator installation, and maintenance, the founder of the non-governmental organization Engr. Mrs. Chibuogwu Nneka Okoro, who knew clearly that no nation can develop sustainably without the contributions of craftsmen and technicians, pointed out that mastery of skill remains a key to success.
Engr. Okoro, who also harped on the girl-child education, engineering craft mentorship, and building a community of confident women, lauded the unmatchable, tireless efforts of the volunteers.
Some of the students doing the practicals.
“When I noticed the gender gap in engineering craft, it occurred to me that I could solve the problem of unemployment through the acquisition of engineering craft, promoting skillful work and economic growth, it then became imperative to work with a name that resonates with every Nigerian and African at large, Nwanyi Okpuzu,” she said.
Engr. Nneka Okoro, who expressed her utmost zeal in providing hope to the less privileged through her initiative, revealed that female engineers in Nigeria are staggering 22 percent with a lower rate for female engineering craftsmen.
She desires to see young ladies choose career paths in electrical wiring/installation, Plaster of Paris installation, solar energy system design, installation, maintenance, and other engineering crafts.
Her words, “To these young women It has been one year of a learning journey, and acquisition of new skills in their chosen crafts as well as learning effective communication, time management, financial management, public speaking, use of a computer, and professional ethics, among others.
“We inducted ten vibrant young ladies from two different communities in Abia state who were determined to break the gender bias by taking up career paths in engineering crafts presently regarded as male-dominated fields. And now, a year after, we have seven of these young women standing tall and ready to join the League of Society’s problem-solvers”.
Engr. Nneka Okoro, who expressed joy that the initiative has proven to solve the 4 UN SDGs goal, also expressed her desire to partner with the government, and other non-governmental organizations and good-spirited individuals who would love to extend the goodwill of this initiative in their local communities.
Presenting a speech, “Women in Science and Engineering/Art-craft,” the guest speaker, Engr. Mrs Ifeoma Nnochiri (Ph.D) an Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike applauded the graduands for the bold step taken towards actualizing their dreams of self-reliance and for being listed as “Women of Substance”.
Engr. Dr. Mrs Ifeoma Nnochiri.
She further tasked them to integrate and differentiate ideas and, in turn, harness their progress while also learning from their mistakes.
Engr. Anthony Okezie Nwaogu.
In their respective speeches, a Board of Trustees member, Engr. Anthony Okezie Nwaogu and a Priest and Senior Lecturer with the Department of Economics Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike Rev. Fr. Dr. Innocent Chukwuemeka Ekeagwu, who decried the rate of unemployment in the country, applauded Engr. Okoro for harnessing human resources and for bridging the gap in gender-based careers even as they envisioned a time when women will take over the nation to change the narrative.
Rev. Fr. Dr. Innocent Chukwuemeka Ekeagwu.
Specifically, Engr. Nwaogu said, “In Nwanyi Okpuzu Initiative, we believe that everyone, including the Girl-Child, deserves to be confident, empowered, and capable of achieving their self-driven dreams. We are passionate and committed to building a future that’s brimming with success, happiness, fulfilment, and a world of endless possibilities for the Girl-Child”.
Welcoming the female craftsmen, the Chairman of the Association for Professional Women Engineers, APWEN, Umuahia chapter, Engr. Mrs. Tolubanwo Stephanie (Ph.D) encouraged them to always involve their instructors and effectively use the internet to learn more about their newly acquired skills.
“You are out from the molestation of prey. You need to move. You need to do something. Use your hands to bring money, “Engr. Tolubanwo, who foresaw the founder of the Initiative, ran a technical school soon, further tasked the graduands.
Miss Ogbugo Helen Uduma, who throughout her journey of the one-year programme, demonstrated unwavering determination, embraced the challenges, and the complexities, proving that gender is never a barrier to success in the world of engineering crafts, emerged as the best graduating student.