ENERGIA implements a multi-pronged approach, which combines evidence building (both academic and on-the-ground), awareness creation, lobby and advocacy, gender mainstreaming, knowledge and information sharing, women’s economic empowerment, innovative strategies, organisational strengthening and network building.
Women’s Economic Empowerment
Together with project partners working on the ground, ENERGIA supports women entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa. Through training and mentorship programs that provide them with technical, business and leadership skills, ENERGIA strengthens women’s capacities to scale up their businesses. We furthermore link them up with financial institutions, local governments, providers and other pivotal players. ENERGIA also works with these and other parties, including electricity utilities, energy programs and rural electrification agencies, to mainstream gender approaches in their institutions and operation. Institutions and decision-makers do not usually take into account the differences between men and women relating to access to, use and distribution of, and control over energy services. A complete understanding of the gender dimension in the energy sector and the implementation of gendered approaches can promote greater gender equality, as well as enhance the effectiveness of development programmes, projects, and policies. ENERGIA’s approach contributes to building a gender-sensitive environment that promotes equality and creates equal conditions as well as opportunities under which both women and men can unleash their full potential.
Policy makers and practitioners need sex-disaggregated data and evidence on the impacts of gender-blind programs and policies in order to develop and implement more inclusive strategies which effectively implement programmes and policies to enable equitable energy access for both women and men. Recognizing the lack of both, sex-disaggragated data and evidence, ENERGIA developed a research programme to provide robust evidence and analysis of interactions between energy provision, access and use, and gender. Our research program explores potential barriers that limit the integration of gender in policies, programs and projects and identifies the impacts of policy measures and programs outcomes on women and men. It further provides solid recommendations based on the context of each country.
Advocacy and awareness raising
Empirical evidence is crucial for our advocacy and lobby activities, which aim not only at raising awareness, but also at informing and influencing policy at all levels. Systemic gender-responsive change in the energy sector is required to achieve energy access for all and leave no one behind. This cannot be attained without political commitment and will. Our advocacy and lobby actions are combined with our gender mainstreaming efforts, which in turn help to translate messages into practical strategies, gender action plans, and operational actions on the ground that could benefit women and reduce the energy access gap.
Despite progress and efforts in the energy access space, the international community is failing to reach Social Development Goal 7 which establishes clean and affordable energy for everyone by 2030. ENERGIA has identified persistent and tenacious challenges that have limited the advancement of a gender-inclusive energy sector. To spur gender responsive energy access actions, ENERGIA has co-established the Gender and Energy Innovation Facility, to foster innovative approaches and maximize experimentation and learning.
Since its establishment, ENERGIA has been a network. Being a network enables us to convene, connect and engage organisations, private sector, decision makers, research institutions and gender and energy experts, who would otherwise operate separately. This enables ENERGIA to engage with high-level bodies and participate in high-level events to influence global and national agendas, ensuring that no one is left behind.
Since March 2016, Hivos (the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation), an international non-governmental organisation based in the Netherlands, hosts the network and provides the legal framework within which ENERGIA’s work is funded and implemented. Hivos is guided by humanist values and strives for a world in which all citizens, both men and women, have equal access to resources and opportunities for development and can determine their own future.