SWE in Africa Pt. 3: Central & Southern Region

In 2020, SWE launched the Africa Task Force to develop a roadmap for growth and engagement of women engineers and technologists across the continent. Learn about the activities and leaders in the Central & Southern Africa Region in part 3 of this series.
SWE in Africa Pt. 3: Central & Southern Region -

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series to learn more about SWE in Africa and the work of the SWE Africa Task Force.

The Central & Southern Africa region comprises 10 countries including Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. There are two affiliates in the region:

  • Universite Loyola Du Congo (ULC), a university affiliate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Lusaka, a professional affiliate in Zambia

The region is represented by SWE members, Enia Kakombu on the Task Force.

“SWE has assisted me grow my professional network through creating great opportunities for mentorship and growth within and outside the network. I have also learnt through SWE that it is possible to have a sustainable integration of women in all areas of STEM leaving no one behind, thus achieving a future that is well groomed and mentored.”

         – Enia Kakombu

Learn more below about SWE activities in the region. Additionally, review the data compiled by the SWE research team on professional women engineers and engineering students in South Africa.

SWE ULC Affiliate

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The SWE ULC Affiliate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was formed in March of 2020. The affiliate focuses on activities that promote engineering as a career path for girls and create a welcoming environment for women pursuing engineering degrees.

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The SWE ULC Affiliate has organized outreach activities in which girls take part in science competitions and elevated female role models to all the students.

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SWE Lusaka Affiliate

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From the left, Enia Kakombu (regional lead for Central & Southern Africa), Chipo Tembo (vice regional lead), Bwite Kasonde (collegiate lead for SWE Lusaka), Nyakalon’gu Muchima (member), and Rabecca Siankope (member). Remaining members not pictured due to gathering size restrictions for COVID-19.

The SWE Lusaka Affiliate was formed in February 2021 in Zambia. The group has hosted various events and pursued local partnerships to expand their impact. Some of their activities include:

  • Hosted talks with females in STEM from the Copperbelt University on overcoming educational pressure and dealing with societal bias.
  • Hosted meetings with SHE Engineers from the University of Zambia. The meetings allowed female engineering students to meet with the SWE Lusaka chairperson to discuss professional and STEM development, as well as general topics regarding how women engineers manage to work in a male-dominated field and the challenges faced and how they are resolved.
  • Organized in-person meetings with groups of girls to encourage them to pursue their education and explore STEM as a career.
  • Hosted an International Women’s Day virtual meeting under the theme Choose to Challenge where they discussed the challenges faced by female engineers and growing a professional network.

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