Inspirational women within renewable energy in Ghana

Gloria Boafo- Mensah

Gloria Boafo- Mensah is a PhD student at PhD-program within renewable energies at KNUST, supported by EnPe. I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Gloria in Accra this week to talk about her academic and professional career.

“I am employed at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research which is a governmental body here in Accra. Actually, having a PhD has recently become a requirement at my place of work and therefore I was very motivated to do a PhD. I work with mainly men and they were all pushing me to do a PhD”.

Gloria’s PhD evolves around finding an energy efficient construction of a biomass cookstove. A typical traditional cook stove has a 15% efficiency, while Gloria’s goal is to find an insulative lining for the cook stove that will improve the efficiency to at least 20%.

“I will soon be spending some months at NTNU Ålesund to conduct some testing and research in the laboratories there. My supervisor there is prof. Razak Seidu who is currently the research leader of the Water and Environmental Engineering Group at NTNU in Ålesund”.

Many PhD students have to juggle family and work in addition to doing their PhD. Gloria is no exception with a husband who travels a lot through his job in the military and two kids aged 9 and 7. Despite of the time constraints, Gloria expects to finish her PhD in 2020. As for the future she says:

“I hope to continue my employment at the Council as well as mentor students from KUNST and be a part-time lecturer”

Maame Tabuah Ankoh

As with Gloria, Maame Tabuah Ankoh is also a PhD student within Renewable Energies at KUNST and supported by EnPe. Her PhD is about testing solar photovoltaic modules under the climate and installation conditions in Ghana. She is employed by ICF which is a global consulting and technology services company within a number of areas amongst others energy technologies. She is not only employed, she is actually the manager of the Energy and Economics section in the ICF Ghana office.

“I work mostly with men and they respect me as a fellow professional. They are also very encouraging in my pursuit of a PhD, already calling me Professor when they see me”.  When asked about her motivation for taking a PhD she eagerly responds: “I want to be able to impart knowledge on the young! I want to work on research that will have an immediate impact on the energy sector”.

Maame is also a mother of two with a husband who works as an engineer with a state company. In the future Maame wants to be a part-time lecturer at KNUST and “lead a large public institution to increase infrastructure and energy access in Africa”.

There is no doubt that Maame Tabuah Ankoh and Gloria Boafo-Mensah are the future for Ghana’s development within renewable energies. And Ghana is lucky to have them on its team.

Text: Elisabeth Strand Vigtel. Photos supplied by interview objects