WHILE the technical nature of the energy sector has a reputation of being perennially male-driven, Paulina Kandali Iyambo, who is the Acting Senior Manager for Energy Trading at NamPower,,, has thwarted this preconception through hard-work and passion.
Tasked with ensuring the energy security of consumers through forecasting the energy needs and demand, Iyambo has risen to a position of significant influence in the country’s power utility; a feat that she deems exemplary to the type of opportunities that exist in the energy sector, particularly for women.
“Women are getting opportunities in the power sector. During my time at NamPower,, I have noticed an increase in the number of women in the utility especially in the engineering related fields. My job allows me to engage a number of power utilities in SADC quite often, as a result I have also observed an increase in the number of women from the SADC region in power sector related forums and meetings,” Iyambo tells Prime Focus Magazine while adding, “I believe that as an individual, one needs to be able to guide and control your career and worklife. It starts with you setting your goals and getting your priorities right. Our Government continues to provide all the necessary avenues which provide for gender equality and women empowerment. What needs to be done is simply to give a bit of clarity to our society to understand that “gender” is a social construct and that women are able to excel in professional environments once they are afforded access to resources and opportunities.”
Despite attributing part of her success to the local education system, of which she is a product, Iyambo is not altogether convinced that it is as proficient as it could be.
“My honest opinion on the education system is mixed. It will be wrong to say the system is working when we have a high failure rate and on the other hand, it’s not right to say the system is not working because there are many, including myself, that are products of it. It requires efforts from all parties involved (learners, students, lecturers, parents, community and the line Ministries), as they say it takes a community to raise a child; we need to adopt a culture that relies on accountability and involvement of a well-utilized network of people to educate our students and to instill in them the importance of education. My advice to the students is to, stay focused, put extra effort in your schoolwork and develop a culture of reading,” she says.
In line with this, Iyambo aligns her future prospects to the continued contributing to the energy sector by doing her part in making sure that the nation’s power needs are met, while also ensuring that the sector is capable of attracting investments which will lead to employment creation and economic upliftment.
Iyambo, whose work affords her sufficient knowledge about the country’s power needs both in the short and long term, explains that there is a definite need for the country to find a sustainable source of energy to meet current and future demand, so as to avoid load-shedding and other remedial measures for power deficits.
“The best long term power supply solution for our country is to build a base load power plant that utilizes local fuels to cater for all our energy needs and avert load shedding in-line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP). Currently, Namibia is a net importer of electricity which poses a risk in terms of security of supply hence, building a power plant that utilizes local fuel will ascertain that the risk of importing electricity is not shifted to sourcing of fuel from other countries,” she concludes.