Celebrating women making a mark in the energy sector


Queenter Osoro - Kenya

As Kenya sets her sights on nuclear energy, the one person at the heart of the program is Queenter Osoro. A holder of a master’s degree in Nuclear Science from the University of Nairobi, Ms Osoro is working at developing policies, guidelines and frameworks for Kenya’s nuclear program. “My interest in this field stems from a desire to contribute to sustainable energy solutions and to make a positive impact on Kenya’s energy landscape,” says Ms Osoro, a chemist at the state-owned Nuclear Power and Energy Agency.  

She says that the in-depth study of reactions of atoms in chemistry fuelled her passion and decision to pursue a career in science. Ms Osoro is also the current president of the Eastern Africa Association for Radiation Protection – a platform that promotes safe and peaceful application of radiation and nuclear technologies in the region. She had a word for aspiring young girls in science. “Embrace curiosity. Keep learning, and resilience is the philosophy. Don’t be afraid to challenge stereotypes and pursue your passion, as the scientific community benefits from diverse perspectives.”  

Charity Wanjiku – Kenya 

Charity Wanjiku is Chief Operating Officer and cofounder, Strauss Energy – a renewable energy and construction firm. Among other firsts, Straus Energy brought into the Kenyan market roofing tiles with solar cells. An abundance of sun and frequent and long droughts inspired Charity an

d her brother Tony Nyagah to engineer functional building materials with built-in solar panels that convert sunlight into energy.   

With these innovative designs, the very walls, windows, and roofs of new homes have the ability to generate electricity. The firm’s patented solar tiles were already powering off-grid areas in rural Kenya when Tesla started taking orders in the US and UK for its own solar tiles in 2017.

An architect, Wanjiku is working towards a future with solar cells as an integrated part of construction, bringing reliable and affordable power to all through green energy.   She has been featured among the World’s Top 50 women in Tech by Forbes.  

Hellen Odegi – Kenya

Hellen Odegi is the founder and Chief Executive of Skylon Global, a Nairobi-based energy firm. Born in Siaya and raised in Nairobi, Ms Odegi switched from a budding career as a biochemist in the cash-rich pharmaceuticals industry to working and making a name for herself in the male-dominated oil and gas industry.   

After nearly 10 years with different oil firms and marketing experience spanning geographical boundaries, Ms Odegi founded Skylon Global – a firm that in 2017 started building the first state-of-the-art, fully robotic solar panel producing factory in Nairobi. 

The same year, Skylon Global Company won the SheTrades Investment Challenge in Turkey following a successful investment pitch. The winning concept was described as “innovative and delivers real impact on an issue that matters to people.”  

Eng. Zainab Musa Gwoma Nigeria

Eng. Zainab Musa Gwoma is a wife, mother, energy researcher and lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, University of Maiduguri, Borno State in Nigeria.

One of her ground-breaking studies focused on the need to have an independent generating station composed of a standalone diesel generator, hybrid PV/diesel with battery storage and hybrid PV/diesel without battery storage as an alternative solution to remote villages not covered by the grid.

The results of her study showed that a hybrid PV/diesel with a backup battery had the potential to replace diesel powered generator used by individual households. She is currently a PhD student at Bayero University Kano. 

Joy Uchenabo – Nigeria

Joy Chinyere Uchenabo holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Jos in Nigeria.

In 2022, the 28-year-old founded Greenshift Tech, a Nigeria-based start-up firm dedicated to developing sustainable solutions for a greener future.

Already, the tech firm has developed and tested the quality of briquettes from organic materials and agricultural waste for energy-efficient stoves as a substitute for charcoal and wood fuel.

Currently, Ms Uchenabo is in the process of conducting research on the utilization of waste papers and plastics fibre as reinforcement for ceiling boards.  


Ziria Tibalwa Waako Uganda

Ziria Tibalwa Waako is an electrical engineer and corporate executive currently serving as chief executive officer of the Electricity Regulatory Authority. Eng.

Ziria holds an MSc and BSc in Electrical Engineering from Makerere University, and an MBA in Leadership from Walden University, USA.

Ziria prides herself in the development of various national and development partner-funded projects both at national and regional level, from sourcing of financing, appraisal feasibility studies and construction.

Last year, Eng Ziria was awarded by President Yoweri Museveni the Crested Crane Medal in recognition of her outstanding service and contribution towards the growth of Uganda’s Electricity Supply Industry.

She is among the first group of Ugandans to operate the computerized Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for the remote operation and monitoring of the Electrical Power System Network.  

Eileen Lara – Uganda

Eileen Lara is the co-founder of Women Renewable Energy Association of Uganda (WREAU), an advocacy organisation that seeks to increase women awareness and involvement in the renewable energy sector. The organisation seeks to increase the technical capacity of women in the renewable energy sector by creating and connecting members to training opportunities in solar, biomass and hydro energies.

In 2020, Ms Lara alongside two other students, won the 2020 Micro-Grid Academy Young Talent of the Year Award, given out by the RES4Africa Foundation in recognition of their ingenuity and their positive potential impact on their communities.  

Ms Lara holds an MSc in Renewable Energy from Makerere University. She is currently Project Engineer at Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation where she manages multiple renewable energy projects and studies across the East African region. She also conducts energy audits, creates awareness of Solar PV and energy management activities and good energy management practices as well as carrying out research on new energy management and solar products and services on the market.  


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