MUST Girls Science Camp ends with motivational field trip to EGENCO’s Nkula Hydro Power Station

The girls (above) at the Nkula B intake and below Standard Bank’s Pempho Chalamanda (left) handing over the sponsorship

* The annual camp was initiated in 2018 to impress female students into studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

* Standard Bank Plc supported K15 million for this year’s cohort drawn across the country

By Duncan Mlanjira

The 2024 girls’ science, technology, engineering, arts & mathematics (STEAM) camp, organised by Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), ended on a high note as this year’s cohort were hosted by Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) to a motivational field trip at Nkula Hydro Power Station in Neno yesterday, July 11.


The girls, drawn from across the country and identified by MUST’s various stakeholders, were first treated to motivational speeches by EGENCO’s chief engineer, Samuel Ndala as well as gender equality manager, Ethel Atupele Bvalani, impressing on the young minds to consider studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Ndala, who first made a briefing of the history of hydro power generation from 1965 when Nkula was constructed and commissioned in 1966, highlighted the need for women to take up engineering, saying the sector is mostly male dominated.

“We are greatly proud to host you as our guests of honour knowing that some of you are considering venturing into our field and that some will eventually end up as employees of EGENCO as us older generation would soon retire.

“Engineering is possible for everyone and we at EGENCO have women who are performing exceptionally well alongside their male counterparts,” he said.

On her part, Bvalani inspired the girls that there are very few women engineers in the country, thus the need to increase the numbers, saying: “Women are the primary users of electricity and they are also supposed to be part and parcel of decision making in power generation.

“The numbers between men and women are unbalanced, which means that the economic status of women is very low. Here at EGENCO, we only have 16% of women engineers, so we are looking up to you to venture into sciences — more especially engineering.”


She prayed that their visit would leave a long lasting impression on them to be inspired into engineering and the event proceeded to a visitor the intake as well as the generation plants of Nkula A & B.

MUST’s projects engineer, Triphonia Kommwa applauded EGENCO for hosting the girls, saying they will go back to their respective homes with a different perspective of what they would choose as their final career choice.

She emphasised that the camps are very important in that the participants are underprivileged girls also drawn from rural areas, who don’t have the exposure to consider engineering as their choice of career.

She highlighted that even MUST’s girls’ enrollment is currently at 30%, saying that is much lower considering theirs is a Science and technology university.

She thus applauded EGENCO and various sponsors of the STEAM Camp such as Standard Bank Plc for partnering MUST in their drive to inspire more girls into STEM academic studies, saying the programme was first rolled out as a fee-paying event but it only attracted girls from affluent families.

Underscoring its commitment to support young women in STEM, while advancing gender equality, Standard Bank Plc invested MK15 million which directly supported the camp’s initiatives, including technology & arts workshops for the underprivileged girls.

At the presentation of the support, Standard Bank’s Client Coverage Manager, Pempho Chalamanda said the gesture reiterates the bank’s core purpose of driving Malawi’s growth.

“Standard Bank believes in the transformative power of STEAM education and inclusivity,” she said. “By investing in the Girls STEAM Camp at MUST, we are investing in a future of innovation and leadership with more female representation.”

“Through partnership with MUST, Standard Bank aims to make a lasting impact in the lives of girls and inspire female participation in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

“This Investiment is a testament to our commitment to corporate social responsibility and our dedication to making a meaningful impact in the communities we serve. We hope this contribution will help create pathways for young women to pursue successful careers in STEAM fields.”

On behalf of Standard Bank, she commended MUST for coming up with the Girls STEAM Camp, saying the intervention contributes significantly to encouraging girls to feel confident and motivated to participate in these disciplines.

Standard Bank continues to support education initiatives that improve the access and quality of education for the youth of the nation and earlier this year, it invested K20 million to the university as its annual contribution towards the MUST Endowment Fund that offers scholarships to underprivileged students.

On his part, the MUST STREAM Girls Camp chairperson, Dr. Marion Chirwa Kajombo commended Standard Bank for its support, saying it will create great possibilities for girls at the institution.

“The support has enabled us to reach out to needy students lacking motivation and inspiration to realise their dreams,” he said. “Some do not have any hope but through the camp, their lives will change because the intervention will open opportunities for girls to be exposed to several career pathways through interaction with role models.”

The MUST STEAM Girls Camp started on July 1 and has ended today, July 12 at the institution’s campus at Goliati in Thyolo District.