Civil Engineer | Ministry of Works and Transport
Helena Imalwa is one of the young professionals that are carving out careers in the public service. The Ongwediva-born and bred is one of the engineers working at the Ministry of Works and Transport. She is an alumnus of the Namibia University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering – Urban. “I joined the public service as a civil engineering technician in 2015 when I was a fresh graduate from the university. In 2017, I was translated into an engineer position after I completed my bachelors,” said the jovial Imalwa. “At the time, I was just looking for employment and lucky me, I landed a public service job and I have loved it ever since.” Imalwa plays an important oversight role to ensure Namibia has the best roads and aviation infrastructure. She is attached to the transportation infrastructure management directorate that deals with roads and aviation facilities.
“My role is to manage road and aviation projects, ensure that the project outcome complies with the project specifications, supervise our service providers and oversee the role of the SOEs under the Department of Transport in the Ministry of Works and Transport.”
“I also ensure that the ministry has sufficient funds for our projects and that our service providers are paid for the service provided. Also, I am responsible for ensuring that the public is compensated when their land or properties are affected by the construction of road or aviation projects.” The government greatly benefit from Imalwa’s expertise and other civil engineering professionals to create safe, reliable and sustainable public facilities. “My expertise as a civil engineer enables me to properly plan and manage projects which in the end will save the government cost and time spent on executing projects. My expertise also ensures that the government provides modern transport infrastructures that meet international standards and are safe, effective and efficient to transport goods and services, which enhance the economy of the country,” Imalwa said. This is what she likes most working for the government. “I am contributing to the provision of safe, effective and efficient modern transport infrastructures, which are responsive to the socio-economic needs of the public. The fact that I am working for the people, in as much as I am enjoying doing what I do, I like the satisfaction of our people as I deliver my services to them. I enjoy that I get recurrent skills development and continuous learning by attending various training courses which helps me better my service providing and career-building skills as a young professional.” Meanwhile, Imalwa does not conform to the misconception that experts like her that are working in public institutions are unproductive and inefficient.
“No, I do not agree with this sentiment simply because people do not understand the roles of civil servants. They do not understand the contribution civil engineers, for instance, make towards the realisation of projects and they also do not understand the analytical work that goes into a project from the start to the end. Civil servant engineers are qualified experts that follow engineering principles to make sure that the projects meet specification and standard, and this takes a bit of time however it is necessary,” she said. In our professional career, we do have memorable moments that we are proud of and remind us of the important work that we do. These moments activate emotions that will remain in our memory for a long time. “My most memorable moment was when I helped an elderly whose land, properties and some trees were affected by the construction of a specific road project in the north. He did not understand what was going on and was in dismay of what will happen to his land and properties,” she said. “However, I explained to him that he will be compensated and further explained how the compensation guideline policy works.
I calculated the value of his land and properties and ensured that he was compensated. The satisfaction on his face was everything to me.” At the moment, Imalwa is content serving in the public service. But that does not mean she has stopped dreaming. “Professionally, I would like to venture into private practice and one day owns an engineering firm where I will be able to groom and empower female engineers in this male-dominated career,” she said. “Individually, I am very family orientated and I would like to start a family of my own one day, hopefully soon.” She has advice for young people including civil engineering graduates who are still pondering about their careers to consider joining the public service.
“If they are passionate about our country like I am, I will advise them to join the public service for one thing - Vision 2030. Vision 2030 aims and I quote “to improve the quality of the life of the people of Namibia to the level of their counterparts in developed worlds, in 2030, this in my view can only be achieved by the government as the main driver of this vision, hence public service needs civil engineers to develop and maintain modern safe, efficient and reliable infrastructure. You will get an opportunity for skills development and continuous learning and ensure that your expertise benefits our country.” firstname.lastname@example.org