Lemlem Mesganaw: Empowering Communities Through Energy Access

Lemlem Mesganaw: Empowering Communities Through Energy Access
She is one of the awardees of the influential Women in Energy Award of the influential women in Energy award of the year 2022.


She is one of the awardees of the influential Women in Energy Award of the influential women in Energy award of the year 2022.

       In the realm of energy sector leadership, Lemlem Mesganaw stands as a beacon of inspiration and progress. With a strong educational background and over 15 years of experience at the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU), Lemlem has risen through the ranks to become the Director of the Projects Portfolio Management Directorate. Her strategic vision, dedication to sustainable energy solutions, and commitment to gender equality have propelled her to the forefront of the industry, making a profound impact on communities and individuals across Ethiopia.

       Lemlem’s journey in the energy sector began with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Jimma University in 2007. She further honed her skills and knowledge by pursuing a Master’s degree in business administration in 2013 and a Master of Engineering in sustainable energy in 2016, both from the same institution. Armed with a comprehensive understanding of technical and management aspects, Lemlem embarked on a career at the EEPCO (Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation), which later became the EEU.

        Lemlem’s exceptional career trajectory within the EEU showcases her ability to excel in various roles. She started as a safety and inspection officer at the Jimma regional office, ensuring the safety of energy meters and switching gears. Her consistent performance led to her promotion as the manager of the safety and inspection department in 2011, where she focused on reducing power loss and resolving power supply issues.

       Recognizing her leadership potential, Lemlem was appointed as the supervisor of the distribution network construction, operations, and maintenance office for the Jimma region. In this position, she oversaw critical projects, including the expansion of distribution networks and the improvement of operational efficiency. Her accomplishments caught the attention of senior management, leading to her transfer to Addis Ababa as the Head of Business Excellence, where she played a pivotal role in enhancing energy sales and customer service.

       Lemlem’s expertise and impact continued to grow as she assumed the role of Director of the Customer Service and Technical Support Division. During her tenure, she implemented technical standards, improved customer service procedures, and facilitated the procurement process for distribution materials. However, her most significant appointment came in 2020 when she became the Director of the Projects Portfolio Management Directorate, leading a diverse range of projects critical to the EEU’s mission.

     As the Director of the Projects Portfolio Management Directorate, Lemlem oversees a vast array of projects aimed at expanding electric access, reconstructing distribution networks, and implementing technological advancements. Her department manages capital investment projects that focus on both on-grid and off-grid solutions, playing a crucial role in transforming the energy landscape of Ethiopia.

      Under Lemlem’s leadership, the directorate has achieved remarkable milestones. Notably, the number of cities connected to the grid increased significantly, with 325, 361, and 204 cities gaining access to electricity in the years 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively. Lemlem’s unwavering dedication to off-grid projects resulted in the successful completion of 10 out of 12 pilot mini-grid projects, providing electricity to communities that were previously deprived of this essential resource.

      Reconstruction and rehabilitation projects have been pivotal in increasing the capacity of the distribution networks throughout Ethiopia. In Addis Ababa alone, the first phase of the distribution network rehabilitation project was completed in 2012, resulting in improved service quality for customers. Currently, the final phase of the Addis Ababa distribution network reconstruction project is underway, and plans are in place to extend reconstruction efforts to an additional 10 cities.

        Lemlem’s impact transcends the energy sector, positively influencing the lives of individuals and communities. Access to electricity has improved the quality of life, contributed to better health outcomes, boosted economic activities, and opened new opportunities for youth. Lemlem also recognizes the crucial role of women, as electrification lightens their household burdens and empowers them to pursue their aspirations. Lemlem actively promotes gender equality within the EEU, striving to achieve a 30% female participation rate within the next three years and advocating for women’s leadership in managerial positions.

        Lemlem’s journey has not been without challenges. While she did not face direct gender bias in her current directorate position, she encountered various instances of ethical misconduct from clients during her time in regional offices. Cascading decisions and managing personal reactions proved difficult at times, raising questions about potential gender-related prejudices. However, Lemlem’s resilience and determination have enabled her to navigate these challenges and continue making a significant impact in her field.

        Looking forward, Lemlem has ambitious goals both personally and professionally. She aspires to pursue a Ph.D. and further advance her education, equipping herself with additional knowledge and expertise. Lemlem’s commitment to the energy sector aligns with Ethiopia’s plan to achieve 100% electrification through on-grid and off-grid solutions. She aims to play a vital role in raising awareness among stakeholders and driving the nation towards asustainable and equitable energy future.

        Lemlem Mesganaw’s remarkable journey and achievements in the energy sector exemplify her passion, expertise, and dedication to empowering communities through energy access. As the Director of the Projects Portfolio Management Directorate at the Ethiopian Electric Utility, Lemlem has spearheaded transformative projects that have expanded electricity access, reconstructed distribution networks, and improved service quality. Her commitment to gender equality and her vision for a sustainable energy future have made a profound impact on individuals and communities throughout Ethiopia. Lemlem Mesganaw stands as a role model for aspiring leaders in the energy sector, embodying the potential to drive positive change and create a brighter future for all.

Author: -EWiEn