On 17th February 2022, a one-day refresher on the safe use of hydrocarbons for women in the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) sector was held at the Nairobi Technical Training Institute, Kenya. It served to better understand the motivation, challenges, and opportunities for women working in this sector and to encourage them to pursue careers in this area.
11 women working as RAC experts/technicians from different organisations attended the training. They unanimously said that women should fill the gap in the skilled workforce in the field of Green Cooling technology, especially with regards to the safe use of natural refrigerants. The participants were interested in advancing the use of environmentally friendly and sustainable cooling technologies on the Kenyan market. Some of the challenges that became glaringly obvious were discrimination, tough working conditions (especially high heights on buildings), difficulties during pregnancy, and sexual harassment among others. Capacity building and awareness raising were among the top recommendations to tackle these challenges.
GIZ Proklima, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), in collaboration with the National Ozone Unit (NOU) of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya, has been conducting various trainings for RAC technicians on the safe use of hydrocarbons and other natural refrigerants throughout the country. Over 1,000 RAC technicians have been trained and slightly over 60 (6%) are women. The big gender disparity needs to be addressed and could help in achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls by 2030, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goal 5.