ESCOM Presents Scholarships To 19 Female Engineering Students

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) on Thursday presented scholarships to 19 outstanding female engineering students from the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (Mubas).

The ceremony took place at Escom Training Centre at Mpemba in Blantyre where Escom presented scholarships to 10 female engineering students from Mubas and nine from Must worth a total of K8 million.

Speaking at the ceremony, Escom Chief Operations Officer Maxwell Mulimakwenda said they introduced the scholarships in line with the company’s Social and Gender Inclusion policy, which promotes non- discrimination on all matters, including employment opportunities, at the power utility company.

Taking his turn, Escom Chief Executive Officer Kamkwamba Kumwenda said they launched the initiative after doing a gender and social inclusion audit in 2014, to align with the government’s goal of reducing gender imbalance and economic inequalities. “Only 11 percent of the population has access to electricity and if we are to reach the goal of increasing that number to, say, 70 percent, it means people even in rural areas would have access to electricity and therefore, reduce income inequalities,” he said.

Kumwenda challenged the girls to be disciplined and work hard saying they were the future of a transformed Escom.

Must Executive Dean for Ndata School of Climate and Earth Sciences, Dr Wilfrid Kadewa challenged the students to make the most of the scholarships, saying there were many learners who are struggling to stay in college due to lack of tuition fees.

“For the few that I would say are fortunate to have such scholarships, this is a great opportunity that should propel your studies forward. Escom is one entity you, students, you should be praying for. Pray for the leaders of Escom to have wisdom and that they should continue offering such scholarships,” he said.

Mubas Vice-Chancellor, Associate Professor Nancy Chitera, said the university had registered an increase in female engineering students who are excelling due to the healthy competition which the scholarship presents.

Representative of past beneficiaries of the scholarships, Gloria Kambirinya said Escom rescued her from the pangs of tuition fees challenges when she was in second year at Mubas, adding that she was now working as an intern at the company. Representative of the current beneficiaries, Tamandani Zunyawo, a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable Energy Systems, fourth-year Must student, said the scholarship would enable her to realise her goals of becoming an engineer.

The 19 brings to 30 the number of students which Escom has sponsored since the year 2017 when the first four-year scholarship programme was introduced, according to the corporation’s Social and Gender Inclusion Manager Elube Chienda. She said Escom pays tuition fees for qualifying students from second year to completion of the five-year Bachelor’s Degree and offers them internships at the company.

To qualify for the scholarships, a student must be female, studying engineering at either Mubas or Must, be in second year, be disciplined, have an average pass of a credit. Students whose performance has dropped during the duration of the sponsorship lose the scholarship opportunity.

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