During the Asia Clean Energy Forum in Manila, ENERGIA, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy, together with the ADB and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves organised a Deep Dive Session on Unlocking Energy Access Impacts through Gender-Sensitive Approaches.
Amidst the grid electrification and other technology centred workshops, this session provided a different perspective which saw great interest from policy makers, civil society, and the private sector. We showcased initiatives that empower women by enhancing their employment, entrepreneurship at different levels and leadership in the energy sector. Again the necessity was stressed to include women throughout the value chain instead of seeing women only as beneficiaries:
@energia_org’s Soma Dutta: The challenge is to graduate women from being workers to women in the lead. #BreakingBarriers #ACEF2015
Kopernik, CRT-Nepal and SNV Vietnam showed their innovative approaches towards inclusive energy access. Although each of the organisations have their own business model, the workshop showcased best practices in business development, skills training, gender-informed marketing and mentoring.
In our experience, having a gender-informed approach impacts the outcome of energy access investments positively. This is however not yet a run race:
A central question throughout the forum and the afternoon discussion was how to reach scale in expanding energy access.
According to Jiwan Acharya, ADB’s senior climate change specialist for clean energy, it is crucial that investments, businesses and end-users are well matched. Big part of ADB’s funding is earmarked for reaching sustainable energy for all, and the main questions are what business models work in which conditions and how the last mile is best reached. Soma Dutta added that “women can play a role here, as they, through their networks, can reach poor, remote and otherwise difficult to reach customers”.