More than 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to modern energy in their everyday lives. ENERGIA, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy, contributes to scaling up the delivery of energy products and services by strengthening women-led energy enterprises, advocating for gender mainstreaming in energy policy and creating the evidence base for incorporating a gender lens through its practice and research.
ENERGIA was founded in 1996 by a group of women involved in gender and energy work in developing countries. Their vision was and is that women and men have equal and equitable access to and control over sustainable energy services as an essential human right to development.
To date, ENERGIA Networks have been established in 22 African and Asian countries, with an additional four incipient networks in Central America. On March 1, 2016, Hivos became ENERGIA’s legal host.
Projects, programmes and policies that explicitly address gender and energy issues always have better outcomes and improve the livelihood of entire communities. By involving women in the development, delivery and use of modern energy, ENERGIA aims to enhance the sustainability and adoption rates of these services.
In order to provide continued support and have gender be part of the developmental process, ENERGIA also creates unique training modules and tools for the energy sector. This way, the Networks connect local initiatives in a global context, creating an environment where groups can learn from each other and inspire across communities.
ENERGIA works towards achieving its goals with these principles in mind:
- Empowerment and equality
- Inclusiveness and equality in partnership
- Respect for diversity, flexibility and unity
- Contextualization of interventions
- Innovation in thinking
- Balanced approach to themes and activities
ENERGIA is currently involved with several ongoing projects. Most prominent are the following initiatives:
The Women’s Economic Empower project, in line with its commitment to the UN initiative Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), focusses on empowering women in the overall value chain through energy use, from energy generation to its end uses.
The Gender and Energy Advocacy Programme advocates at the international and national level for inclusion of gender in SE4All action plans and in investment prospectuses.
The Gender and Energy Research Programme is a collaboration with DFID to advance knowledge and awareness regarding the impact of energy access—or the lack thereof— on women and girls.
Some of ENERGIA’s partners
Energy 4 Impact increases economic opportunities for women in Senegal in the energy products and services sector, including productive uses of energy linked to crop processing. Its ‘Energy opportunities for women in Senegal’ rigourously selects women entrpreneurs and mentors them at their place of business with business and technical skills training.
Kopernik engages Indonesian women to sell solar lanterns, water filters and fuel-efficient cookstoves in their communities. These ‘ibu inspirasi’ (‘wonder women’) include Tech Agents, who sell door-to-door or through technology fairs, and Tech Kiosk operators – active partners in existing retail stores.
Solar Sister brings high quality, affordable clean energy solutions to the rural Kenyan, Nigerian, Tanzanian and Ugandan customer’s doorstep, where traditional distribution channels do not exist. It implements a women-driven, enterprise-based model focussed on the “recruit-train-mentor” mantra.
Practical Action strengthens Kenyan women entrepreneurs in three value chains - improved cookstoves, solar products and biomass briquettes – with its ‘Women in Energy Enterprises in Kenya’ project through innovative and women-friendly distributions models
Centre for Rural Technology Nepal strives to develop a market system for improved cookstoves by encouraging women stove masters in rural and remote locations to become local stove entrepreneurs (retailers) and by promoting private district-level distributors and larger city-based suppliers in the overall ICS market chain in Nepal