By Phesheya Mkhonta
The Eswatini National Petroleum Company (ENPC), the government of Eswatini, and Junior Achievement (JA) Eswatini have forged a partnership that will help advance gender equality in the country’s energy sector.
The partnership saw ENPC hosting three female high school students on a job shadowing attachment which was concluded last week Friday where the students received certificates and gift hampers.
The attachment is part of an initiative focused on the advancement of gender equality within the energy sector.
ENPC is recognized as the country’s national oil company by the Petroleum Act of 2020, with a mandate to ensure fuel security in Eswatini.
The attachment was facilitated by the Ministry of Natural Resources & Energy, the Ministry of Education and Training, and Junior Achievement (JA) Eswatini under the Gender Action Plan which supports young girl’s mentoring and internship.
Present to award the students with certificates were ENPC CEO Nhlanhla Dlamini, Ministry of Natural Resources & Energy Under Secretary (US) Sicelo Nxumalo who represented the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Natural Resources, and JA Executive Director Phetsile Masilela. Also present were executive staff from both ENPC and JA Eswatini.
Making his remarks, ENPC CEO noted that as a national company, they are intentional about supporting initiatives that advance gender equality within the energy sector.
“We want to thank the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy for spearheading this initiative that ensures that there is gender mainstreaming in the energy sector. Through this partnership with the Ministry and JA Eswatini we have provided these young students with much-needed practical experience and in turn, gained a lot from their attachment with us.”
Dlamini continued to affirm ENPC’s commitment by declaring that they look forward to establishing an official Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with JA Eswatini for similar future partnerships.
The three attached students were Tebukhosi T. Dlamini from Londunduma High School, Setsabile Mbingo from St Francis High School, and Tengetile Mwale from Peak Central High School. The students were attached to the Finance, IT, and Operations departments, respectively.
JA Eswatini Director Phetsile Masilela mentioned that as an organization their goal was to place at least 800 students under the job shadowing program each year.
However, she noted that their progress over the last two years had been curtailed by, amongst other things, the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Director shared her optimism for a return to normalcy and that they may soon form significant partnerships with other organizations, just as they did with ENPC.
“We are grateful to the Ministry for initiating this partnership focusing on the on-boarding of learners, in particular, female students seeking to embark on careers in the Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM) fields. In fact, the Ministry was the one that instigated the signing of an MOU and further introduced us to ENPC. We thank ENPC’s management and staff for their time, patience, and dedication to adding value to our students,” she said.
The Under Secretary implored the students to exercise resolve and practice patience as they embark on their higher education journeys.
Nxumalo told the students to keep in mind that they are the future of the country, more so because, as young women on an education and career trajectory, it is incumbent upon them to mentor other young women who will come after them, just as they have been given a mentorship opportunity through this initiative.
Two of the students have been accepted to study at the University of Botswana, while the other student will be attending Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.