Women and girls are important consumers of energy, and they benefit the most from the availability of sustainable and affordable energy sources. Women’s participation in the value chain of renewable energy solutions has been recognised as indispensable to realising the sustainable development goals.
Gender equality is a cross-cutting theme in EEP and the new EEP In-Depth Gender Study essentially seeks to understand the role of women and girls in renewable and energy-efficiency projects of the EEP portfolio. The study is based on a survey of EEP projects, and interviews with a sample of project developers. It presents a variety of gender-differentiated approaches the projects have adopted as well as the gender-related challenges and outcomes they have identified. The aim of the report is to share lessons learned from gender-related activities within the projects, and to provide recommendations to project developers on how they can maximise the benefits to their business and the development impact from a gender-differentiated approach.
Based on the survey, 12% of project developers considered their projects to be particularly ‘gender targeted’ while 48% considered their projects to significantly contribute to gender equality and/or women’s empowerment, but as a secondary objective. These projects are well positioned to generate substantial development outcomes and real impact on the daily lives of African women and girls. Additionally, in many of these projects the gender-differentiated approach was also considered an important factor in improving financial results.
The report highlights, for example, that women have had particular success in the sales and distribution of solar products and cookstoves, and in many projects female sales agents have been outperforming male counterparts. However, there are still challenges and constraints to women’s involvement in the renewable energy projects more broadly. Safety issues, burden of household chores as well as cultural and societal norms were mentioned as causes that prevent women’s full participation in the workforce.
The report indicates that nearly half of projects were actively following the progress and results of gender related activities and outputs. However, there is still potential to further strengthen the project design process and improve the monitoring in order to ensure prospective benefits to women both as employees and end-users of renewable energy, and to the organization itself.
EEP would like to thank all the project developers who participated in the gender survey and contributed to the results of the study by sharing experiences and interesting insights from the field. Special thanks to the following organizations who were interviewed for the study: LivelyHoods Kenya, Improved Cook Stoves for East Africa/Ugastove, Envirofit International, GCS Tanzania, Greenlight Planet Kenya, Nuru Energy East Africa, Norges Vel, BioLite, Renen Energy Solutions, Emerging Cooking Solutions and NewLight Africa.