Improving gender equality and social inclusion remains critical to fully realizing the development impacts of energy programs. Energy affects women and men differently, as men and women have different roles and responsibilities in households, markets and their communities, which makes their access, use, and impact of energy services also different. Since 2010, ESMAP's Africa Renewable Energy and Access (AFREA) Gender and Energy Program has piloted approaches, developed analytical resources, and worked with energy teams and government clients on integrating gender into existing and new energy access operations.
The program has been supporting activities in 6 countries: Senegal, Mali, Benin, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia. As part of this work, a Gender and Energy Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange workshop was held in Dakar, Senegal on April 7-9, 2014. The workshop provided a forum for country counterparts to document the lessons and approaches on integrating gender issues into their energy programs under the first phase of AFREA (AFREA I), and to begin planning activities under AFREA II. The workshop was attended by about 60 participants, including representatives from the six pilot countries; project beneficiaries from the Senegal Sustainable and Participatory Energy Management (PROGEDE II) project; and representatives of development partner institutions from ENERGIA, UN Women, the Embassy of Denmark, ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) Gender Program, and Netherlands Development Organization (SNV).
The workshop included knowledge exchange on subjects such as working with Rural Energy Agencies, developing institutional capacity, establishing gender focal points within organizations, carrying out community-level pilot interventions, and working with utility companies to develop targeted training to help customers access finance and subsidies for electricity connections.
The knowledge exchanges were enhanced by the input from rural women, especially those representing the PROGEDE II project. This group demonstrated how including gender considerations as part of project design enabled rural women to engage in activities such as sustainable charcoal production and sustainable community forest management, thereby increasing both their participation in the project and enhancing their incomes. In addition, the workshop focused on building participants’ capacity in the areas of knowledge exchange, monitoring and evaluation, and advocating for a gender focus on specific energy issues.
Key outputs of the workshop included the development of country notes that will capture the approaches, results, and lessons learned under the various country initiatives and country road maps to develop next steps and aspirations for the second phase of the program. In addition, ESMAP and the World Bank Institute (WBI) introduced new gender and energy e-learning modules. These modules will be made available in mid-2014 on the e-Institute webpage.
In addition, an online space is being developed through the Collaboration for Development (C4D) platform to connect the Gender and Energy Community of Practice. Once launched in the coming months, all participants will be invited to join to continue engaging with Africa regional colleagues and join the broader global discussion on gender and energy.
Contact: Vanessa Lopes-Janik
Read more about the ESMAP/AFREA Gender and Program.