The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
UNOPS personnel achieve prestigious civil engineer recognition
UNOPS infrastructure experts Trudy Morgan and Nick Gardner, based in Sierra Leone, have been awarded Fellowship of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Ms. Morgan becoming the first woman in Africa to be recognized with the honour.
“This is an exciting time for women in engineering in Africa. Across the continent, we are finding our voice and are demonstrating that we can be at the forefront of infrastructural development,” said Trudy Morgan.
A Sierra Leone national, Ms. Morgan has around 30 years of experience in the industry and has served as UNOPS Technical Coordinator on a landslide remediation project in Freetown and on a skills gap project with the government of Sierra Leone. Her contributions to UNOPS projects and her country are praiseworthy.
“Working for UNOPS has been an eye-opener. We make a difference to the lives of people and are able to respond swiftly, which is important in times of emergency,” said Ms. Morgan.
Passionate about empowering women in her country, she added: “At UNOPS, I have had the pleasure of working alongside many local women in our projects. I see their confidence grow and express a sense of pride for their work and for the examples they are setting for their children.”
UNOPS Nick Gardner was also among the engineers to be recognized. With over 30 years of experience in the design, construction and project management of infrastructure works, Mr. Gardner joined UNOPS in 2009 and is now Country Manager in Sierra Leone.
“From using drones to map landslide-affected areas, to providing much-needed electricity to rural areas of Sierra Leone, we continuously try to be forward-thinking and develop our tools and skills to prevent disasters, and react to them as quick as possible,” said Mr. Gardner.
The Institution of Civil Engineers is one of the world's most respected professional engineering associations. Fellowship is the highest grade of membership and is reserved for civil engineers and technicians who have made a significant contribution to the profession. Ms. Morgan is the first woman in Africa to be recognized with the honour.
“As a believer in hard hats and lipstick, I hope that everyone will realize that from an early age, we should allow our children – boys and girls – to be the best they can be and not put anyone, especially our girls, in a box,” said Ms. Morgan.
Rapid development across Africa in recent years has highlighted the need for more infrastructure that will be sustainable now and in the future. And that requires more home-grown engineers to apply their skills in local contexts.
Yes, we are mothers, wives, nurses and teachers, but we are also engineers, rocket scientists and neuro-physicists. Civil engineering is an exciting career for women as it shapes the world we live in.
Seán Harris, ICE Director of Membership, said: “Trudy deserves recognition for her exceptional engineering achievements and for acting as a beacon to other aspiring female engineers across Sierra Leone and Africa. ICE is proud to celebrate her continued contribution to the profession and commends her commitment to making society a safer and fairer place to live.”
Ms. Morgan and Mr. Gardner received their awards this week in London. Read more about the Institution of Civil Engineers here.