Women In Engineering (WINE) Forum, Accra Ghana
Address by APWEN President
Engr. (Mrs.) Nnoli Akpedeye FNSE, FNICE, PMP, FMP
at the 4th Women in Engineering (WINE) Forum
in Accra Ghana; 25th March, 2014.
Permit me to quickly give a little introduction about The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) which is the professional body of the Female Engineers in Nigeria. APWEN is a non – governmental, non-profit, educational organisation and a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), the umbrella body for all Engineers in Nigeria.
APWEN was formed in 1982 with only 6 members and our membership strength has grown to about 1500 members with 25 Chapters and 10 collegiate chapters across Nigeria.
The Association is Committed to contributing to the technical development of Female Engineers; and promoting the education of the girl-child in taking up sciences to study Engineering.
In this regard, APWEN partners with both local and international bodies like the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES) to achieve common aims, and we look forward eagerly to future collaboration with WINE as well.
Back to the business of the day, permit me to make a few remarks about the conference theme which is “Providing Sustainable Solutions for Improved Quality of Life: The Role of the Engineer”.
Looking at the Theme, the words “sustainable” and “quality of life” clearly standout, an indication that both subjects are of immense relevance to our world today.
One definition of Sustainability states that:
Sustainability is a system of policies, beliefs, and best practices that will protect the diversity and richness of the planet’s ecosystems, foster economic vitality and opportunity, and create a high quality of life for people, and according to the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) Report – Our Common Future, 1987.
“Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The foregoing definitions therefore summarize the threefold view of sustainability; namely: economic (profit) or financial considerations; environmental (planet) protection and stewardship; and social (people) comprising community and individual human well-being. This is widely known as the triple bottom line (TBL) of sustainability.
TBL implies that the economic and social quality of life can be improved, while limiting impacts on the environment to the carrying capacity of nature. Therefore, in providing Sustainable Solutions for Improved Quality of Life; the Triple Bottom Line elements need to be taken into consideration.
The question we must therefore answer today is:
As Women in engineering what is our role or what value can we add to ensure that the quality of life is improved?
Wikipedia, defines Quality of life as the general well-being of individuals and societies, so any Sustainable Engineering Solution we can provide to improve the well-being of individuals and our society as a whole, will improve the quality of life. This may include sustainable water supply systems, food production, housing and shelter, sanitation and waste management, energy development, transportation, siting and planning projects to reduce environmental and social impacts and so on.
This is a challenge to us as women engineers and I urge you to use this conference as the first-step towards identifying how and where we can make a difference – no matter how small, as an aggregation of our individual small difference will create significant change in our journey towards providing sustainable engineering solutions for improved quality of life.
The World Engineering Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure (WECSI) 2014 will hold in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria from 2nd to 7thNovember 2014. The WIE programme is being anchored by the organizing committee led by Engr. Valerie Agberagba FNSE (VP African Federation of Engineering Organizations) in collaboration with APWEN.
Call for papers was extended to end February as it was observed that the number of technical papers submitted by the female engineers was far below expectation. This is quite disappointing considering our less than optimum participation at last year’s World Engineering Summit (WES) and the resolve at that time to significantly increase female engineers’ technical contributions / presentations at such conferences.
We give kudos to those of us that submitted abstracts, and would like to remind them that the full presentations are due by end March. If you are yet to receive confirmation of the acceptance or otherwise of your abstract, please see me after this address so we may contact Engr Agberagba immediately.
We know that female engineers in Africa are creating and developing sustainable engineering solutions that will improve quality of life and we have a wealth of experience that can and should be shared with the wider engineering community. So we encourage you to come forward to showcase your talent at WECSI or subsequent conferences.
During WECSI, the Women in Engineering (WIE) activities are tentatively planned as follows:
2nd November African Women in Engineering Conference
3rd November Breakfast Meeting on Entrepreneurship and funding
4th November Cocktail/Get together
The final programme will be communicated by email and on the conference website once it is concluded by the committee.
In addition to the foregoing, there will be a presentation and excursion to one of APWEN’s ‘Touching Lives’ projects .
On this note, I would like to congratulate, the WINE Ghana, on an excellent programme and look forward to see you all in Nigeria for the WECSI 2014 World Engineering Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure in November.