The SAR100 training program which was attended by 101 women energy engineers culminated in a Capstone Week at the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok. The 5-day event, from 4 – 8 March 2024 concluded with the celebrations of the accomplishments of the participants from seven South Asian countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, marking a pivotal step toward empowering women in the power and energy sectors. For 8 months, 101 talented and tenacious female engineers participated in a series of online modules, research projects, site visits, collaborating on some of the region’s most pressing energy issues.

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During the Capstone Week, the participants observed and learned about new technologies being applied in renewables, preparing them to implement these advancements back in their countries. This program, carrying 16 professional credits, required participants to present and defend their final projects. Participants in their groups with dedicated supervisors from across the globe, engaged in discussions to exchange insights, learnings and practical problem solving. The week in Bangkok also included field visits to Wang Noi, Energy Absolute and Amita Technologies for the participants to see real infrastructure and engage with site engineers for practical knowledge sharing. The cohort of 101 women also had the opportunity to participate in the South-East Asia Green Energy Cooperation & Exchange Forum at UN ESCAP.

The last day of the week was marked by the graduation ceremony which was attended by senior representatives from the development sector. Ms. Felicity Lee, First Secretary (Development), Australian Embassy, Bangkok, highlighted the importance of empowering women in different sectors and equipping them with technical advancements happening in the world. Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto, President of AIT, expressed gratitude to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government, for trusting the Yunus Centre, AIT with the SAR100 program. Prof. Faiz Shah, Program Lead, WePOWER-SAR100, emphasized the program’s success as a collective achievement driven by the dedication of mentors and educators alongside the participants’ determination.

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Esteemed author and philanthropist Dr. Sudha Murty illuminated the event, not only by her presence but also by bestowing the graduation certificates, serving as a beacon of inspiration for many. The SAR100 program reinforced the role of the women engineers in advancing South Asia power sector’s shift towards renewable technologies.

This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme was ‘Inspire Inclusion’, and as we watch the SAR100 graduates move forward, their success is evidence of how education, upskilling and collective effort across borders can lead to a more inclusive and sustainable South Asia.