She was born in the city of Beira, but feels part of the country's largest city, Maputo, where she grew up and lived all her life. She was always a good student and her passion for nature made her choose to study Ecology at the Eduardo Mondlane University. Today, she is a proud Girl Mover and her path and REN's crossed in October. Bendita Chiquela is 25 years old and wants to change the world, starting with her own country, Mozambique.
The trigger to do 'something larger' came when she was still studying, in 2019, after a month-long field research and work as part of her bachelor's thesis in Banhine Park, where she witnessed the conditions of extreme poverty of the population, who had no access to clean drinking water. However, the change of course would come later, in 2020. 'I remember it vividly: it was 11 PM and, following my participation in a conference about Energy at the Energy and Climate Forum, I received an email asking if I wanted to be a woman leader, and that's when everything changed.' She enrolled in Girl MOVE Academy's Change programme and began her fight for a world where energy should be accessible to everyone.
'This experience made me think about what I can do to combine my academic training with a need that I feel is everyone's, not just of that community in Banhine, but of others in Mozambique', explained the young woman. And that is why she came up with the idea of promoting access to energy, an area in which she was also interested.
'Now I know where I should start, who I should look for, how I can make this happen. And REN is helping me with that'
Contrary to the thesis that ecologists are always opposed to progress, Bendita sees in Energy and its sustainable use the solution for a better future, where it is possible to reconcile the protection of nature with the well-being of people.
With no knowledge in the area of Energy, she sought the answers for her chosen path in the Change Programme. This is where REN came in. At REN, she did a one-month online internship which, according to her, 'was great because it enabled me to understand the energy segment'. Bendita has one goal: to promote access to energy, and 'now I know where I should start, who I should look for, how I can make this happen', said Bendita, 'and REN is helping me with that'.
Bendita plans to one day obtain a master's degree in the field of renewable energy. However, before that, and in parallel, she 'wants to get her hands dirty' and work in the sector, in an entity connected to energy. And, to do so, she is open to the world: after all, the will to make energy accessible to everyone has no borders.
About the Girl MOVE Academy Programme
The Girl MOVE Academy is a project supported by REN for the first time this year. With its programmes, the Academy promotes gender equality through innovative educational models, favouring female empowerment while seeking to break the cycle of poverty in which millions of people in Mozambique live. Through the Change Programme, the Girl Move Academy annually promotes the training and personal and career development of around 30 young Mozambican graduates, the girl movers (see REN's partnership with the Academy here https://www.ren.pt/pt-PT/media/comunicados/detalhe/ren_promove_igualdade_do_genero_com_a_girl_move_academy_2 ).
This year, the Girl MOVE Academy was awarded the 2021 UNESCO Prize for Girls' and Women's Education, an award that recognises individuals, institutions, or organizations that have distinguished themselves for their contribution in promoting girls' and women's education (learn more here https://www.ren.pt/pt-PT/media/comunicados/detalhe/projeto_apoiado_pela_ren_vence_premio_da_unesco_2).