Joan's Story: From Kisima to Engineer

Joan is from Natiti a village in Baragoi in a remote area of Samburu County in northern Kenya, where she grew up with her single-parent mother and brother. Joan’s mother had no livestock and only survived through working as a casual labourer. On her very small income buying food was a constant struggle and there were days when they had nothing to eat.Joan attended primary school through a government programme which also provided meals and stationery. She proved to be a very bright student, also enjoying music and representing her school in athletics competitions. Joan again excelled at Kisima School and achieved a very high A- grade in her KCSE. She was offered a place at Kimathi University’s School of Engineering where she graduated with a BSc Electrical & Electronic Engineering in 2015.

Joan has been working in the wind energy sector since 2016, her first project was working as an Electrical Engineer for the Danish company Vestas Wind Systems on the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project. This is a flagship project in Kenya, attracting the largest single investment in Kenya’s history. The wind farm covers 40,000 acres in the Loiyangalani district of Marsabit county in northern Kenya.

Joan’s employment allows her to support her mother, for whom she built a house and helped to set up her own small business, and her grandmother who was such a support to Joan as a child. She is also paying for one of her cousin’s university fees and donating to an education foundation that sponsors needy students in her home area. Joan is an active member of the Kisima Alumni network and plans to become more involved with schools and mentorship programmes in her home area when work permits.

Joan says “I am and will forever be grateful to the Kisima fraternity. They saw potential in me and nurtured it and helped me be the woman I am today. And being the first woman engineer from my area, and amongst the few female engineers from the pastoralist communities, I will dedicate my life to enlightening my community in educating women and appreciating the girl child.”