Architect Nguvan kyenge is a consultant and Project Architect with Ashtic Consultants that designed and built the ultra modern Tor Tiv palace. In this interview with FLORENCE UGBEM and JOVITTA IORSHASE, she spoke on the need to encourage the girl child in the study of science and how women can succeed in the male dominated professions.
How do you feel as a female working in a male dominated occupation?
Personally, I don’t feel any different, I don’t feel like I’m in a place where I’m not supposed to be or there is something the male can do that I can’t, because I enjoy what I do and I do it well. I don’t feel less nor do I feel challenged.
In the course of studying and working as an Architect, have you experienced the challenge of men looking down on you?
Funny enough, if they look down on me I didn’t notice it, I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn’t have the time to notice such.
Would you attribute your successes to your family ,husband or hard work?
First of all, it’s not by power nor by might, I give all glory to God before family, determination, self motivation and focus. With the help of God no doubt, my family too has played a big role, especially my husband in allowing me to go out there and be the best I can be, and he has given me enough moral support.
So what exactly can you say has been your driving force, source of motivation?
My driving force has been one, the love for what I do, when you love what you do you put in your best. Even when faced with hurdle’s you pretend as if you didn’t see them, you forge ahead and look for how the situation will be addressed. My passion and love for what I do is a strong driving force because if you don’t have passion for something, when you are faced with a little hurdle, it throws you off balance.
What do you think is the reason for under-representation of women in your field and in other science courses?
I feel it’s lack of knowledge and proper orientation. The girl child has to be oriented at least from junior school in order for her to decide where she wants to fall into in life because it’s from JSS 3 that you prepare to either go to science class or art class . They will be able to take a decisive decision on what they want to do and if they see other female practitioners that are doing very well, it’s easy for them to model, and the sky will be their starting point.
What do you think is the way forward?
So far, we have tried to move from one school to another trying to orient girls in junior school and encourage them to take on science subjects. In that group, we have architects, builders, geologists etc. The group was called Benue female environmentalist . Surprisingly, we did that for a year and it has paid off.
What do you think the government can do differently to encourage the girl child in the study of science?
The government can occasionally organize seminars to talk to girls about science courses and empower them mentally. Like I said, the problem is ignorance and it can be solved by enlightenment .
Also, government can give incentives to girls who wish to study science-based courses. Maybe a full or partial scholarship, and this will encourage more girls to study science related courses. Also, individuals can motivate young girls in their own little way, like scholarships for girls, in their communities, who wish to study science courses.
What is the idea behind your “Mindset Series” and what have you achieved so far?
I got motivation to do The Mindset Series from my environment, that’s the Benue community sometime around 2015. I discovered that social media was becoming well known, the energy around the Benue Facebook community was very negative, so much vain talk, insults and all that. I thought to myself that if our minds are like this, how can we move forward? I might not have the power to sanitize everybody but I can start with my own space and sanitize it. At least, when you come to my wall you should be able to read something that is encouraging, motivating and something that will help you change your thought process and take up productive moves instead of vain talk. People always need encouragement and motivation every now and then that was how I started writing on Facebook and I kept writing on till I came across John Maxwell team and I went to Florida and got certified by John Maxwell himself to teach their curriculum and that was when Mindset Series became an organization, a company where we use trade of events training programmes which is geared towards mental empowerment to enhance productivity in people. Productivity in anywhere you find yourself either at work, as a wife, as a husband, as a staff anywhere you find yourself. How you can empower your mind to be more productive.
Do you have testimonies from your Mindset Series?
There have been so many testimonies of persons who were broken in their homes, people that had emotional issues being rectified, they begin to think differently. Whatever problem that is around you, the meaning you give to the problem is what your mind carries. We have succeeded in making people think differently and think light of negative situations rather focus more energy on productive conditions. It has helped a lot of people in broken homes or broken relationships realign themselves, help those who do not have clarity on what they want to achieve. We help people to add value to themselves. For instance, people cry that there are no opportunities anywhere but most people are attractive to opportunities but they have not made themselves for opportunities to be attracted to them. When you make yourself valuable, opportunities are attracted to you. How are opportunities attracted to you? If you know how to do what you know how to do very well people keep calling you. You have to make yourself valuable so that opportunities will continue to present themselves.
Do you think the Benue woman is evolving or static?
I must give kudos to our Benue women. Of a truth, we are evolving even as at five years ago the economic scope of Benue was not as vibrant as it is now, we may not be where we should be but at least we are not. Where we were yesterday. Before, a lot of Benue women were not doing anything and they were not even aspiring to do anything but now, the percentage of women into one job or the other is on the increase and it is highly commendable.