I was barely a year old in IEEE when I decided to quit my job with the motivation to volunteer actively for the IEEE Kenya Section. – Mercy Chelangat

We all draw inspiration from different life experiences. What a lovely coincidence it is to have a career where you can focus on building both your professional skills as well as your passions. What’s your IEEE story? Here’s mine!

“The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” – Fabienne Fredrickson

To the North of the Rift Valley, on the western side of Kenya, I studied my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Moi University, Kenya, and cleared in 2017. I took up an opportunity with the Aga Khan Development Network as the Rural Projects Development Intern then Officer. This was under the Rural Electrification Department. We focused on solar mini-grid technologies as they were ideal for our farmers in off-grid areas. The aim was and still is to provide modern, affordable, and clean energy to ALL, in line with the UN SDG 7 which seeks to achieve universal energy access.

Growth when a career and passion come together.

With this intense research information from the experience in my mind, I sought out to apply my skills appropriately. I was barely a year old in IEEE when I decided to quit my job with the motivation to volunteer actively for the IEEE Kenya Section. Indeed, I’m lucky to have worked with dedicated members to improve the overall section growth. They taught me the way. Consequently, this encouraged me to continue working for the section and extended Region.

I recall, having deactivated my Facebook account, deeming it NOT COOL, until volunteering as the Publicity, Historian, and Marketing Committee opened up my eyes. My responsibility was to manage different organizational units’ fan pages. For this reason, I learned how to engage potential member leads through creating targeted content. It was very encouraging to see our events draw the attraction of random online people. Admittedly, some of them have turned out to be our best volunteers.  

Having a background in Energy, it goes without saying that the Power and Energy Society would best fit my interests. Coupled with supporting societies as the Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology, my passions collided. The outcome of this has been a beautiful journey, that I would absolutely not have any other way. IEEE is now my family. Undoubtedly, I highly regard it as my lifetime membership subscription. What a massive network I have built along the way! I cannot begin to mention and thank every individual who has been instrumental in acclimatizing me to the IEEE association. Every IEEE member I’ve encountered has truly touched my life in an incredible way.

New Beginnings Present New Opportunities. 

The IEEE Power and Energy Society Kenya Chapter was formed in 2018. I was appointed Secretary and Treasurer. This opportunity made me connected with various PES organizational units all over the world. Through various social media platforms, I have made special connections that have taken me places beyond borders. By networking without borders, we have been able to share experiences and activities such as the 3rd IEEE Student’s Congress, Renewable Energy for Kids Program and Women in Engineering STAR that have impacted on education a great deal. 

It is through this that I came across IEEE Smart Village and now in partnership with the Maa Trust, an NGO in rural Maasai Mara, we are impacting the lives of many women, youth, and children towards growth. The Mara hosts one of the world’s seven wonders, the annual wildebeest migration, and is a favorite destination for many tourists. In my next feature, we will take a deeper look at what activities are ongoing. This will be in line with the 3 IEEE Smart Village pillars of Energy, Education, and Entrepreneurship. Further, we will take a look at how such partnerships are empowering off-grid communities and their essence in overall community development. 

In conclusion, as a passionate Humanitarian Engineer, I am proud to be an IEEE member. I am proud to contribute to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Additionally, in 2019, I was awarded the IEEE Region 8 WiE Clementina Saduwa award for my dedicated volunteering efforts. Currently, I am proud to represent the IEEE Entrepreneurship Steering Committee as the Social Impact Liaison and PES Women in Power as Region 8 Lead


Did engaging with IEEE activities affected your professional decision path and career? Share your IEEE story with us if you are an IEEE Region 8 member at: region8today@gmail.com