Turning information into empowerment: strengthening gender and energy networking in Africa
Mainstream energy policies fail to apply a gender-sensitive approach, and have largely ignored the crucial roles that rural women play in energy systems. This report follows a two and a half year-long project: Turning Information into Empowerment: Strengthening Gender and Energy Networking in Africa (TIE-ENERGIA). ENERGIA is an international network that links national gender and energy networks in Africa and Asia, acting against the inadequate recognition of gender issues as a legitimate area of concern in energy policy and practice. This is a joint publication by the TIE-ENERGIA project partners: ENERGIA, Eco, Practical Action East Africa, KuSiNi, and EAETDN. The TIE-ENERGIA project synthesised the work of organisations (members of the ENERGIA Africa Gender and Energy Network) in 12 sub-Saharan African countries. This publication describes a new approach that was developed by ENERGIA between 2005 and 2007, the two pillars of which are: a comprehensive training program on gender and energy in Africa, and undertaking gender audits of national energy policies. The aim of this approach is to generate greater awareness, knowledge and skills for integrating gender into energy policies, programmes and practices. Over 260 energy and development practitioners in the region were trained on how to integrate gender into projects, programmes and policies. Three key project outcomes: Enhanced resources/capabilities to mainstream gender in energy policies and programmes across sub-Saharan Africa; Distinct changes in perceptions and commitments regarding the importance of integrating gender and energy, particularly among the institutions and ministries involved in the audits; and Institutional behavioural changes related to awareness raising and gender mainstreaming. The main lesson from gender audits conducted in Kenya, Senegal and Botswana is that the energy sectors in these countries do not effectively address gender issues; however, there is potential to reorient the ministries’ approach. A range of key recommendations, which have been validated by the ministries responsible for energy, are outlined; they include the establishment of databases and indicators of gender-disaggregated data on energy and economic statistics, and developing and implementing a capacity-building programme for all actors involved in energy formulation and project and programme planning. The dissemination of the TIE-energia project’s results and products (website, publications, training packs, etc.) is discussed, as well as the major lessons learned from these knowledge-sharing activities. Following this is a section for conclusions and recommendations for future activities. Support for this publication was provided by Intelligent Energy Europe, the Directorate General for International Cooperation in the Netherlands (DGIS), and the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).