Women in Energy Scholarships Awarded
Kosovo, Prishtina 06th of July, – Millennium Foundation Kosovo (MFK) hosted Hon Rep Eliot Engel, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, in a ceremony awarding 28 scholarships to Kosovar women – recipients of the Women in Energy Scholarship Program.
The event gathered all the scholarship recipients, their families and friends, representatives of the international community in Prishtina, the U.S. Embassy representatives as well as Mrs Rita Engel.
Delivering his speech, Rep Engel emphasised that although Kosovo’s good name in the world has been promoted by excellent women leaders in sports, music and politics, women’s low participation in the local workforce means that the economic gap with the rest of Europe will never be bridged if Kosovo women do not have an equal share of opportunities in the marketplace.
Addressing the 28 scholarship recipients directly, Rep Engel added: “So, dear recipients of the Women in Energy Scholarships, after you finish the studies in the US, to serve the increasing number of companies and investors interested in the energy sector, you also face a formidable task to lead and inspire the future generation of girls.”
In this regard in an earlier statement, Sean Cairncross, Chief Executive Officer, Millennium Challenge Corporation has declared; “The Women in Energy scholarship program addresses a key factor holding back economic growth in Kosovo—the absence of women in the workforce, especially in fields like energy.”
Mr Cairncross also added: “Strengthening economic opportunities for women is fundamental to MCC achieving its mission to reduce poverty through economic growth. Countries cannot succeed unless women succeed, and programs like the Women in Energy scholarship play an important role in making that happen.”
Hosting the event, the MFK CEO Petrit Selimi, thanked the women and their families for taking this rather long and challenging journey.
He then invited the audience to watch a short documentary featuring a journey of the 28 women to several energy companies in Kosovo. He used this opportunity to provide an insight into the projects of the MFK as well as the attention to the Women in Energy Program as the main pillar of its Gender and Social Inclusion efforts.
“We launched a massive online national campaign raising awareness about the women in energy, women in science and women in the overall economy. Statistically, every woman in Kosovo has seen one of our ads, and hundreds of them then applied for our scholarship program. So, the 28 women present today are the best of the best—we were highly impressed with their dedication to change, their persistent quest for knowledge and their love of science.” noted Mr Selimi.
He thanked the MFK team as well as partners from the private sector for helping raise sufficient funds to offer 28 scholarships.
“We have initially increased the number of scholarships from 5 to 20, from 20 to 25 and in the end, 28 women have been chosen for the program. This was also made possible through additional fundraising and matching funds we obtained from the private sector actors like Raiffeisen Bank and energy companies,” he added.
28 women from over 15 different Kosovar municipalities are awarded full, two-year scholarships to study at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Iowa, in energy-related fields.
The Women in Energy Scholarship Program is budgeted at over $1 million and is an activity of the Threshold Program signed between the Republic of Kosovo and Millennium Challenge Corporation – MCC.
Recognizing women’s low representation in the labour market and the energy sector, in particular, the Women in Energy Program supports opportunities for women’s participation in this sector as employees and entrepreneurs ensuring equal economic opportunities.
Women in Energy Scholarship Program was launched in February 2019 via a national campaign which aimed to support the educational opportunity as well as raising awareness for the importance of the participation of women in the energy sector.
photography: Astrit Ibrahimi