The objective of the Central American Integration System’s (SICA) is the “integration of Central America, to make it a region of Peace, Freedom, Democracy and Development”. One of SICA’s priority pillars is climate change. Within this framework, programmes to advance the energy transition are promoted, and the role of women in the region’s integration process is given a strategic dimension.

As we know already from various studies, the energy transition would be realised faster, if more women were represented in leadership positions (for more information, see the GWNET Study “Women for Sustainable Energy – Strategies to Foster Women’s Talent for Transformational Change”).

With this in mind, the “Women in the SICA Energy Transition” Mentoring Programme, organised by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET), aimed to advance the careers of junior and mid-career women working in the energy transition.

38 Mentees from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic successfully completed this 12-month programme.

Map of the world with mentor countries highlighted
Mentee countries

Each mentee was paired with a senior professional mentor who accompanied them in their professional and personal development during this year. Each mentor is a senior professional committed to making a difference and having a positive impact on younger woman’s career in the energy sector.

Map of the world with mentor countries highlighted
Mentor countries

The participants also benefited from:

  • Bilateral interaction for 12 months between mentees and mentors
  • An Online Knowledge Transfer Series, where they received inputs on topics related to the energy transition and gender equality. This included exclusive video material and live online sessions led by various key speakers
  • Networking sessions and other features that allowed the mentees to establish new contacts, share ideas and progress their professional careers.
  • 1 concluding webinar
  • An online storytelling series: meet the women in the SICA energy transition

“When I started the program I thought about how this opportunity would enrich my professional career (thinking only as an individual), now that we have finished the program I feel inspired and committed to always keep in mind that I can support other women in the energy sector, to the extent of my possibilities. To give support as well as I want to receive support in my professional career to get ahead. To contribute so that my daughter and the girls of her generation have more opportunities than us.”

Yanin Maria Morales Chow, Nicaragua (Mentee)

“Not only did this experience teach me to empower my work in the energy transition as an engineer, but it also taught me self knowlegde and confidence. The experience taught me skills that will enable me to continue to develop my career.”

Heyleen Villalta Maietta, Costa Rica (Mentee)

“My experience with the Women in the SICA Energy Transition-Mentorship Program was amazing! My mentor is a wonderful person, and she has taught me so much. Best moments shared with my mentor are when she shared her personal and professional life struggles and that made me realize how we were similar in so many ways. The program taught me about gender equality, all the aspects about energy transition by empowering women in these areas.”

Lizbeth Del Carmen Gonzalez Marciaga, Panama (Mentee)

“The mentoring program, supported by the constructive talks and webinars throughout a year, and the subsequent events of the program’s alumni, became my point of support when I was a mentee in 2019-2020. Being able to share our experiences in the energy field with hundreds of women from different regions, and together identify paths towards assertiveness in change management to promote equity in the energy sector was transcendental to keep me 100% focused on creating enabling conditions for inclusion. Now in 2021-2022, as a Mentor, the program represented for me the chance to give back what was provided to me before. It reflected a real and tangible sorority environment that surround us while building a sustainable energy future for all.”

Rosilena Lindo Riggs, Panama (Mentor)

“Like any new experience, at the beginning of the program I thought it would be a challenge to get along with the mentor, however, the reality was quite the opposite. From the first day, the conversation with my mentor flowed very spontaneously and we were learning from each other’s experiences. I feel that this program has helped me to see things from another perspective, to trust myself more, to value myself as a human being and to value the work of many women who, against any stereotype, fight to achieve their dreams. And above all, to lose the fear of proposing new ideas and breaking paradigms. And the best part is that it is focused on developing the potential of STEM women and expanding our knowledge beyond geographical barriers.”

Leslie Gonzalez, Panama (Mentee)

“My satisfaction with the matchmaking of my mentorship has been extremely positive. My intention to participate in the program was to seek a wise and neutral perspective that could bring advice and knowledge for the next steps in my professional career in renewables. Therefore, I affirm that it has been accomplish. Along the journey, I received quality time full of honest feedback, support and kindness. Finally, the highlight of my mentoring experience was to get to know personally each other, and share personal interest.”

Diana Marcela Barillas Lemus, El Salvador (Mentee)

“It was my privilege to be a mentor in the SICA Programme. I enjoyed helping my mentee to explore the big picture in the energy sector and guiding her as she took the decisions on the next steps in her career. The mentorhips is a two way learning process and I am grateful of being part og GWNET initiative. Energy transition requires more women in decission making roles.”

Ingrid Gonzales, Peru (Mentor)

“My experience was excellent not only because I had a great mentor who gave me the necessary guidance to become a leading woman in energy, but also because this program reminds us how important it is to listen, meet, share and learn from other women in the sector.”

Liliana Gisell Morales Córdoba, Panama (Mentee)

“This was an amazing experience, I learned a lot about my mentor, I admire her a lot and now I understand that women are powerful, we are strong, we are smart and we can develop our careers in the renewable energy industry. I hope that much more women are interested in this industry and they could lead many projects in my country.”

Stephanie Tatiana Mejía Morales, El Salvador (Mentee)

“I’m so grateful of the Program “Women in the SICA Energy Transition”. As a mentor I had a great experience from the personal and professional point of view. I learned a lot from Lorena from El Salvador and I believe we did a great match. I feel I was able to contribute with a sand grain to empower a fantastic woman in her career.”

Loreto Rivera Torteroglio, Chile (Mentor)

It was the great interest and activity of this cohort that enabled a good cooperation and positive outcomes. We are grateful to the participants for their commitment and wish them all the best for their future endeavors. A special thank you goes to the mentors who provided advice and support to the participants in the course of this year.

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