Bezawit Mekonnen Getahun - Project Manager- (ADELE on grid -Ten towns project,WB)- EEU

Growing up most of her childhood (8 years) in a single-mother household alongside four siblings, Bezawit developed a resilient spirit from an early age. Despite being the middle child, she was granted the freedom to forge her own path in all aspects of life. This independence was complemented by a strong support system from her teachers and siblings, who provided encouragement and guidance throughout her academic journey.



Due to financial constraints, Bezawit attended a public school for her elementary education and then joined high school at Dejazmach Wondirad Preparatory School. However, her determination to improve her circumstances propelled her to excel academically, utilizing the available resources to become a competent student. She also sought out like-minded peers who actively participated in healthy competitions, fostering an environment of growth and collaboration.


Although Bezawit’s passion for art and mathematics initially inclined her toward a degree in Architecture, the university she was assigned to, Bahirdar Institute of Technology, did not offer that specific program. Consequently, she chose the next best career option and pursued electrical engineering.


Between 2001 and 2006, Bezawit completed her studies; however, due to health issues, she was unable to complete a prerequisite course, resulting in a one-year delay in obtaining her degree. During this gap year, she volunteered working in a shop ,and sharing her computer skills with others. In 2007, Bezawit officially entered the workforce, embarking on her professional journey.


Upon successfully attaining her official degree, Bezawit wasted no time in taking the entrance examination for a job position prepared by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) at Addis Ababa University. Fortunately, her performance surpassed expectations, and she passed the test with flying colors, opening the doors for her to join EEPCo. Upon joining the establishment, her initial assignment involved fieldwork on projects falling under the Universal Electric Access Program (UEAP). Following a two-week orientation period, Bezawit was sent to her first site assignment in Arba Minch. As a Junior Electrical Engineer specializing in Distribution Design, she was paired with a senior colleague who provided valuable guidance throughout the projects. Her tasks consisted of contract administration for Amhara and North region  rural electrification project , supervision follow up and payment certification, contract document preparation for more than 50 contractors and TVET, preparation of material quantity and review and approval of electrical drawing for distribution network amongst others.


What truly impressed Bezawit during her involvement with the UEAP, Universal electric Access Program, was the remarkable organization and drive that permeated the workflow. Witnessing the efficiency and dedication exhibited by her colleagues motivated her to push herself even harder. With unwavering determination, she dedicated herself to the project, committing five years of hard work until her exceptional contributions led to a well-deserved promotion for another significant undertaking.


In 2012, Bezawit joined the as a team leader within the design team of EEPCo under the UEAP. At that time, their primary objective was to distribute electricity to 2,000 towns across Ethiopia. In her role, Bezawit was responsible for reviewing and approving electrical drawings, designing and analyzing distribution networks of 2000 villages, conducting GIS mapping 300 of rural villages, preparing standards manual and training documents for TVETS and contractors, given approval for equipment specification and design for more than 20 projects financed by AfDB, BADIA, world bank financed project and conducting feasibility studies. 



As Distribution Design Team leader , which encompassed the Northern and Amhara regions, as well as the Somali and Afar regions, Bezawit navigated a challenging period. With 30 different areas requiring either electricity upgrades or installations, the project  demanded intense coordination and management.   Ultimately, she successfully oversaw the distribution network of these utilities .


After the conclusion of that endeavor in 2015, Bezawit assumed the role of head of the engineering department, assisting more than 15 tender evaluation and contract award for project, prepared and update standards and guide lines, FAT and acceptance of material , approve FAT procedure projects and give training and support for 8 regions engineering teams, international bank financed projects , overseeing construction projects, project evaluation, contract management, and the distribution of materials to various regions in collaboration with team of engineers . One notable project that Bezawit managed during her tenure in the engineering sector was the Addis Ababa Light Railway project. During this period, the establishment also under went decentralization and structural reform, bringing about a new way of working. The expanded work scope included providing training to new staff in the regions, enabling them to independently facilitate projects and share the workload.


Additionally, she had the opportunity to serve as the acting chair of the Engineering and Planning Office for six months, leading a team of over 50 staff members across eight regions. This experience allowed her to showcase her leadership skills and effectively manage diverse teams in a dynamic environment. Aside from managing projects she also took part in rural towns feasibility study and selection of mini-grid projects.



Coincidentally, Bezawit came across an exciting opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies in Japan and decided to take a chance by applying. In 2018, she was accepted and embarked on her master’s studies at SIT-Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo by ABE (Africa Business Education) JICA scholarship. When asked about her motivation for joining this institute, Bezawit explained her curiosity about how other countries operate in the energy sector. She was eager to not only acquire theoretical knowledge but also gain practical insights into a sector that her own country had not yet been able to fully provide. This opportunity filled her with anticipation as she looked forward to broadening her understanding and contributing to the energy field in innovative ways. During her stay she got opportunities to work internship in Toshiba Plants Systems and become member of IEEJ . 


Upon her return to her motherland in 2021, Bezawit continued her professional journey as a Senior Electrical Engineer, focusing on approving conceptual designs for model rural villages and solar equipment. Furthermore, since 2021, Bezawit has taken on the role of Project Manager at Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU), where she plays a pivotal role in overseeing the ADELE on the grid – Ten Towns project. In 10 towns she prepared procurement plan for EOI(expression of interest) for consultants and preparation of EPC bid documents and contract documents and network study for 10 towns of Ambo, Nekemt, Asosa, Hosana,Jijiga, Dilla, Asela, bishoftu  debrebirhan,and sululta 1000 Transformer ,1100Km MV. In this capacity, she is responsible for leading and coordinating the project, ensuring its successful execution, and contributing to the development of robust and sustainable electrical infrastructure in Ethiopia.


She also disclosed that the projects she took had an immense impact on a lot of communities in the country and on the energy sector as well. Being able to distribute electricity for thousands of towns and helping the people in these towns to switch from ecologically destructive to environmentally sustainable ways. She believes that one of the other major contributions to the energy sector is putting a higher quality standard to the equipment utilized for the projects as well as a more efficient and well-defined structure within the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU).



According to Bezawit, working in middle management can be challenging as it requires acting as a bridge between higher administration and the staff under her supervision. However, she has successfully embraced this role by employing a supportive leadership style, enabling her to align everyone involved in a project and achieve shared objectives. Bezawit emphasized the effectiveness of motivating her staff , particularly when facing difficult projects.

One notable characteristic that sets Bezawit apart as a leader is her adaptability in a field that is constantly evolving. She recognizes the importance of staying up-to-date with industry advancements and has actively utilized the resources available within EEU to enhance her leadership skills. Taking advantage of short courses in office and project management, Bezawit has continuously sought opportunities to refine her abilities and lead her team more effectively.



Bezawit encountered several challenges while working in the energy sector, with one of the major hurdles being the lack of practical knowledge. Despite acquiring theoretical knowledge during her university education, she found it to be of limited assistance when it came to the practical and technical aspects of her work. Alongside her colleagues, she had to conduct extensive research to gain a visual understanding of manufacturing processes. Compounding the issue was the absence of manufacturing companies and testing facilities in the country at that time, further impeding their progress.

During Bezawit’s initial site work, there was a significant debate regarding whether or not she should be sent for field assignments due to her petite physical appearance. Many of her seniors harbored doubts about her ability to withstand the pressures of such work. However, once she arrived at the sites, she swiftly dispelled these concerns through her unwavering dedication and tireless efforts. It didn’t take long for her petite physique to cease being a factor that was held against her during on-site projects.


Furthermore, she faced difficulties in finding role models at the beginning of her career, which made it challenging for her to establish her own work style. This struggle persisted even when she assumed a leadership position, as the expectation from her staff was that she should possess comprehensive knowledge. Consequently, she had to consistently update herself to stay at the forefront of her field by engaging with mentors working with senior experts and meet the demands of her role effectively .

Bezawit’s journey as a woman in a male-dominated field has been marked by various stages that have shaped her current position demonstrating her remarkable growth and accomplishments.


In addition to her professional endeavors, Bezawit is actively involved in empowering women in the energy sector through her engagement with EWiEN. She demonstrates her commitment to supporting other women by organizing and conducting various training programs. Notably, she played a crucial role as a trainer in the Res4African MCA program, equipping women with essential skills and knowledge. Furthermore, Bezawit is a proud co-founder of a chess club dedicated to women in Addis Ababa, providing a platform for female enthusiasts to come together and enjoy the game. Her passion for uplifting women extends beyond her work, showcasing her dedication to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment.


Reflecting on her achievements, Bezawit acknowledges that she has accomplished more than she ever anticipated. And gives the credit to her God ,her family ,colleagues and friends who has supported her in different challenges ,fears and hesitations. However, she remains aware that there is still much work to be done. Looking ahead to the next five years, her aspirations revolve around witnessing the tangible outcomes of the ADELE project. In terms of her education, she intends to pursue a Ph.D., with a preference for specializing in Development and Innovation.


In addition to her professional pursuits, Bezawit harbors ambitions of venturing into entrepreneurship and exploring opportunities within the social enterprise business sector .In the long run, she desires to share her journey with other dreamers who possess a similar passion and enthusiasm, hoping to inspire and support them along their own paths to success.

Author: -EWiEn