Ahead of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we connected with Farida as Comoros’ new project manager.
Each month, the Africa Minigrids Program spotlights an individual from one of the participating countries who has been working tirelessly to advance the initiative at the regional or national level.
She brings a wealth of experience and a background in engineering, one of the technical skill sets (i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) needed for green jobs, a sector where women still lag in representation. Farida stands as a role model for other women seeking to enter the clean energy workforce and help close the electricity access gap.
Q: What’s your story—how did you end up working in the clean energy industry?
A: After obtaining my Master II degree in Urban and Environmental Engineering in Reunion Island in 2013, I returned to the Comoros to work in urban development. After two years in this sector, I was appointed National Director of Renewable Energy, and that’s when I realized that the future of the Comoros depended on this sector.
Q: Briefly describe your role and involvement with AMP so far.
A: As Comoros’ project manager, my role is to ensure that the AMP project is a success and, above all, that the three communities involved in the project are satisfied with the results of the pilot sites and can develop access to clean, sustainable, low-cost energy.
Q: What excites you most about the potential of AMP, specifically in your country?
A: What I’m most passionate about is the challenge of minigrids in Comoros because the electricity grid is present in many localities, but given the context of continuous load shedding throughout the country, minigrids are one of the solutions to the energy emergency that the country has been experiencing for many years. I’m also passionate about this project because of the different encounters I’ve had with vulnerable communities who are isolated even though they have a great deal of wealth to share and economic and social potential to develop through renewable energy.
Q: What is one thing you want people to know about minigrids and access to electricity?
A: Minigrids are one of the solutions to the problem of access to energy in general. Access to clean, sustainable, low-cost electricity will enable women and young people living in rural areas to develop by creating new economic activities, providing better access to healthcare for all local inhabitants, and better education for young people. Minigrids give beneficiaries a degree of autonomy, and this is a way of making them more responsible for the investments that the private sector will make to set them up.