Fatsani Mwale is a direct beneficiary of the Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP) through its partnership with Zayed Energy and Ecology Centre Solar Academy (ZEEC).

“It’s exciting to be equipped with Solar PV installation skills. I am not a young woman and many years ago I was forced to leave school. Now I have a chance to learn again, I did not imagine it could happen,” says Fatsani.  She adds that she hopes to inspire young girls to go into any profession they want to.  “Girls should not be held back by old stereotypes.”

With STEP support, ZEEC is delivering a bursary program for students to get skills in the area of solar PB installation, electronics, and entrepreneurship.

The bursary programs are being implemented by various organizations that have partnered with UNESCO under the European Union funded STEP.

One of the objectives of STEP is to promote equitable and gender-based access to TEVET, and most of the bursary holders are women or vulnerable persons.

STEP Team Leader, Arthur Shears says that over 400 people have benefited from the bursary programs.

He says women, who are under-represented in TEVET, as well as persons with disabilities are important beneficiaries of STEP.

“STEP is partnering with local training centres such as ZEEC which is conducting a bursary program for women in solar installation and repair, Development and Integration of Persons with Disabilities (DIPD) which is training people with various types of disabilities and Students Driven Solutions which empowers women with entrepreneurship skills,” he says

Shears says the aim of the bursary programs is to ensure that vulnerable groups are financially independent.

The overall objective of STEP is to strengthen the vocational education and training sector and its capacity to satisfy the economy’s need for skilled professionals through expansion and improvement of equitable and gender-balanced vocational education and training.  STEP is funded by the European Union and partially implemented by UNESCO.