The Norwegian government on Tuesday extended support of 2.1 million U.S. dollars for professional development of 150 Tanzanian female engineers in a span of five years.
Edwin Ngonyani, the east African nation’s Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, said 150 female graduate engineers were the beneficiaries of the project intended to increase the number of professional female engineers up to over 500 in the country, the second largest economy in East Africa.
“This is the second support from the Norwegian government for professional development of female graduate engineers,” said Ngonyani at the signing ceremony of an agreement for the support program in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.
He said the Norwegian government made the first support for the program in 2010 when it disbursed 1.5 million dollars to train 300 female graduate engineers.
Ninatubu Lema, the Chairman of the Engineering Registration Board (ERB), said the support which complemented government financing of apprenticeship program for graduate engineers was necessary for accomplishing the nation’s goal of attaining an industrial economy and middle income status by 2025.
“Since the government has limited funds for this program, we commend the Norwegian government’s support. We call upon other donors to support this program because the country is producing 2,000 engineers annually,” said Lema, who signed the agreement on behalf of ERB.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania, Hanne-Marie Kastaarstad, who signed the package agreement on behalf his government, said such support was vital for economic empowerment of women.
“We have to recognize that women are the major drivers of the economy. They should be treated as the major drivers for attaining an industrial economy,” said the Norwegian envoy.
The ERB Registrar, Steven Mlote, said since its start in 2003 the program has benefited 3,555 graduate engineers, including 847 female engineers.
Mlote added: “The program has been successful because we have information that there are successful female engineers who are running their own companies and some of them are working in managerial positions.”
The aim of the support is to enable graduate female engineers to positively participate in the program and acquire professional competence so as to increase the number of professional engineers over the five year period, he said.