Empowering Tomorrow: Ntsebo Sephelane’s Trailblazing Journey from Lesotho to IRENA, Fuelled by TEA-LP’s Sustainable Energy Education

By Kai Forster, 21 October

Ntsebo Sephelane representing the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Ntsebo began her academic journey studying biology and chemistry, and after graduating, ended working for a company that buildings and constructs sustainable mini-grids for rural villages in Lesotho. After that experience, which Ntsebo says really opened her eyes, she worked for a consulting company that focused on bridging the gap between investors and project developers, which she says: “pulled me away from the construction and development side of things, and geared me more towards being engaged in conversations around how to channel finance into the energy access space. I used to work for the companies that build and develop, and now I was working for a company that bridged the gap between investors and project developers, where we’re trying to figure out ways in which to channel financing into the energy access sectors”.

Here, Ntesbo found her niche and passion for energy economics, policy, and financing. Between this newfound passion and the influence of her father, an electrical engineer whom she worked alongside on several projects, she decided to pursue the MSc program in Sustainable Energy being offered at NUL. Ntsebo found immense value in this program, and explained how her and her classmates formed a supportive community who still, 3 years after graduating, remain in close contact and support one another on their respective journeys. Ntsebo also explained how she still frequently refers back to notes from some of the MSc program courses as a working woman, stating she was surprised at the exceptionally high standard of teaching and how it was very much applicable on an international scale – preparing her more than adequately for her role at IRENA, where her role will focus on renewable energy policy in Africa.

Ntsebo wanted to extend her thanks to Prof. Moeketsi Mpholo, whom she said was instrumental in her academic career and personal development. Prof. Mpholo was Ntsebo’s supervisor, and also designed the course ‘Mini-grids Planning and Design’; a course which is set to be taken up by more than a dozen of TEA-LP’s partner universities around the Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Indo-Pacific regions, further demonstrating the excellence that exists within the TEA-LP network.

We would like to thank Ntsebo for taking the time to speak to us about her journey and would like to wish her all the best as she starts an exciting new chapter.

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