Entrance to the University of the West Indies, Mona campus (file photo)
The University of the West Indies’ Mona campus bested its sister campuses — Cave Hill and St Augustine — in the recent Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB’s) sustainable energy and gender competition.
The competition was mounted by the BRIDGE Programme, launched in 2014 by the IDB and its partner organisations TNO Caribbean and Arizona State University, with a mandate to reduce the gap between the current workforce capacity and skill level and the future workforce required to meet the demands of developing sustainable energy systems. It was also designed to promote greater participation of women in the field of renewable energy. The result was the Women in Energy Competition.
The Mona team, comprising students Audley Williams, River Providence, Alton Daley and Jamila Walters, won top marks for their concept proposal — Alternative Energy Awareness Programme. Advised by educators Tanya Kerr and Cheri Ann Scarlett, the team presented a “multifaceted approach and understanding that increasing female participation in renewable energy — and the science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) field in general — demands a long-term effort”, according to the judges’ remarks.
They also noted the team’s focus on working with high school science clubs and the plan to follow a cohort of girls as they progress from high school to university, including a scholarship programme for those who want to enter the STEM field.
St Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago placed third with its “Women in Sustainable Energy Development” entry.
The IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Besides loans, grants and guarantees, it conducts cutting edge research to offer innovative and sustainable solutions to some of the region’s most pressing problems.