Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) On a visit to K-Electric, Chairman NEPRA Mr. Tauseef H. Farooqi presided over the graduation of Pakistan’s first cohort of certified women electricians. The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Rafique Ahmad Shaikh, Vice Chairman, Mr. Maqsood Anwar Khan, Member, and Ms. Huma Zafar, Consultant CSR from the Authority. This program, launched as a collaboration between K-Electric and Hunar Foundation, focused on enhancing the skillset of these women, empowering them to support their communities and is an extension of K-Electric’s Roshni Baji community ambassador program also launched by Chairman NEPRA in February of this year.
Since their induction in the program 7 months ago, the Roshni Bajis have been engaging at a grassroots level with communities across Malir, Orangi, Surjani and Lyari among others, and have educated over 100,000 households on practices for safe use of electricity inside their homes. With their assistance, almost 7,000 consumers and counting have also been successfully converted to safe, legal electricity connections. This initiative is in line with KE’s vision to partner with communities to uplift and empower residents through access to a strengthened supply of power and job creation, and also follows NEPRA’s CSR vision of “Power with Prosperity”
The certification entailed 8000 man-hours of training and is enabling these women to break gender stereotypes, gain greater financial independence, and create their own space in traditionally male dominated spaces. The training allows them successfully to deploy complete internal wiring on a single-phase supply of up to 5kW from the electric utility’s meters to the distribution board of a home. Additionally, they have been trained to calculate the load and energy consumption of appliances, which can be used to ensure that the electricity supply inside homes is safe and reliable and create awareness on energy conservation practices as well. They also have easier access to communities where homes are predominantly occupied by women during working hours; almost 50% of our daytime users are women.
During this time, the Roshni Bajis have also been trained in self-defense, how to ride and maintain a motorcycle, and how to enhance their communication skills. These tools are empowering women with greater mobility and confidence to take an active part in the workforce and play a role in contributing to the economy. Gender equality is an integral part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and KE is proudly contributing in the national effort to foster an enabling environment to allow women to thrive on an equal footing as their male counterparts.
Chairman NEPRA Tauseef Farooqi commended the achievement, stating, “It is heartening to see that K-Electric is taking an active interest in inculcating awareness and a sense of community ownership on the tenets of personal and public safety, and also going beyond this to provide women a springboard for their economic empowerment with holistic training. NEPRA’s own CSR vision believes that transforming the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan can begin with an active engagement and development of local communities, and participatory models like what K-Electric is undertaking are a positive step which can drive a lasting behavioral change. It would be a great opportunity to share this knowledge with other Distribution Companies to extend this platform to all of Pakistan.”
Speaking at the occasion, CEO K-Electric Moonis Alvi said, “At K-Electric we believe that the sustainable route to promote societal progress is through the upliftment of women and the provision of better economic opportunities. Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of our company philosophy and our female grid operating officers and female meter readers are setting a precedent in the national power sector. We are also investing heavily in our communities under our PKR 10 billion Project Sarbulandi with a dual focus on driving a growth in social capital and providing a consistent supply of electricity. The Roshni Baji program and the first cadre of certified female electricians will complement these efforts.”
NEPRA was also given a demonstration of KE’s Geographical Information System (GIS) whereby the company is mapping its complete transmission and distribution network for greater visibility and real-time monitoring. K-Electric’s senior management also apprised the Authority about reasons behind delays in making the first unit (450MW) of KE’s upcoming flagship 900MW power plant BQPS-III operational. The authority, while expressing great concerns, directed KE to expedite the process.
KE management also apprised the Authority on the utility’s plethora of initiatives leveraging technology and driving operational excellence. It was briefed that KE’s upcoming plans to transition towards paperless billing which will reduce the consumption of natural resources and protect the environment through less CO2 emission. NEPRA while appreciating the initiative, termed it in line with the vision of the Authority to transform the power sector of Pakistan.