Hello readers,

Welcome to #Women4theClimate on CleanbuildVoices!

It is another Wednesday and for today’s special, we’ll shine the spotlight on an amazing woman who is passionate about ending energy poverty and is actively working in the sustainable energy space to effect a change.

Our Woman Crush Wednesday (WCW) is none other than Damilola Ogunbiyi, the CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

To Damilola, sustainable energy is the difference between a mother or a baby living or dying. This inference is drawn from her experience when she was in her 20s which also kindled her passion to make energy accessible.

She had an opportunity to provide power to a baby hospital and as she walked into the hospital after the project, she walked into a significant number of people who were clapping for her. She didn’t understand why until a doctor at the hospital explained that it only took seven seconds during a major operation for a woman or baby or both to die. That was the beginning of the journey for Damilola.

Damilola is a global leader and advocates for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which calls for access to reliable, affordable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

She is currently the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, Co-Chair of UN-Energy, a Commissioner for the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty which is an initiative driven by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The Rockefeller Foundation, as well as the Co-Chair of the COP26 Energy Transition Council aimed at driving action to accelerate the shift to clean energy ahead of COP26 and to bring together leaders in the power sector across politics, finance and technology to speed up the transition from coal to clean renewable energy in developing countries.

Damilola is also a member of the Development Advisory Council of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), a member of the clean cooking alliance advisory board, and a member of the Advisory Board of the University of Oxford – Future of Cooling Programme.

Prior to joining SEforALL, she was the first female Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency where she successfully negotiated the Nigerian Electrification Project – a $550 million facility aimed at closing the energy access gap in Nigeria by rapidly constructing solar mini-grids and deploying solar home systems across the country.

She also conceptualised the Energizing Economies Initiative aimed at providing affordable and sustainable off-grid power solutions to economic clusters, including markets and industrial clusters in Nigeria, that is estimated to impact 1.2 million SMEs.

She entered public service as the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). Prior to her appointment, she was a consultant for the UK Department for International Development (DfID) on public-private partnerships.

She was the first female to be appointed as the General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board and five independent power projects aimed at delivering over 55 megawatts of power to Lagos State hospitals, schools, streetlights, and the Government secretariat, were completed under her leadership.

Damilola previously worked as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Power and Head of the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria. She was responsible for the Power Sector Recovery Programme – a series of policy, operational, governance and financial interventions to be implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).

She has a particular interest in mentoring and empowering young people through skills acquisitions. Little wonder she created the Lagos State Energy Academy to build the capacity of young people in renewable energy technology, and the Energizing Education Programme (EEP) which launched a Female STEM Student Internship Programme to provide hands-on practical experience in designing and constructing power systems for 700 female undergraduates.

Watch this space as we’ll be back for another edition of our #Women4theClimate.