The Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) has engaged an extra gear to encourage secondary school girls to take up engineering as a career.
The institution has organised a series of activities that includes taking girls to some of the companies where women engineers are taking the lead in their jobs.
MIE counsellor Esther Phiri said most girls have a negative perception about engineering, believing that it is a career for men.
“Girls can also take up engineering as a career and compete with men on an equal footing. It is also a career that is rewarding,” she said.
Phiri, who is also an engineering lecturer at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said the numbers of girls entering the engineering field has not been encouraging over the year hence, the initiative to woo secondary school girls to pursue engineering.
Last week, the professional engineers’ body took form four secondary school girl students from Ndirande New Secondary School, Chichiri, Jacaranda, Zingwangwa and Soche Hill on a tour of Carlsberg Malawi.
They were taken through the entire process in the manufacturing on non-alcoholic beverages. The students were also given a chance to ask questions of their choice.
They were also given a career talk by women engineers at the drinks manufacturing company to guide them on what it takes to be an engineer and the rewards from the profession.
Sheila Kanjo, one of the students from Chichiri Secondary School, thanked MIE for organising the tour which, she said, was an eye opener.
“I never wanted to be an engineer, but having been taken on a tour of Carlsberg Malawi manufacturing plant and a career talk from women engineers; I have decided that engineering in the profession that I should pursue. I think it is not difficult as some people tell us, but with dedication and hard work, I think I can make it,” she said.
Dean of Engineering at the Polytechnic associate professor Theresa Mkandawire advised the students to work hard to achieve their goals.
She emphasised that engineering is a rewarding profession because one can start his or her own company and employ other people.
“I advise you to always look ahead and not backwards. Aim at wearing a black gown first before a white one,” said Mkandawire, one of the few women engineers in Malawi.
The MIE has since indicated that they plan to involve more school in this initiative of encouraging secondary school girls to take up engineering as a career.