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Development of Kenya’s National Gender Policy

With support of our Empowering Women, Engendering Energy (EWEE) program, ENERGIA partner Practical Action supported activities undertaken by Kenya’s Ministry of Energy to develop, finalize and launch the National Gender Policy for the Ministry of Energy. This policy is the first national Gender Policy in the energy sector ever.

This policy aims to raise the level of gender awareness, change attitudes and support an engendered work culture among staff in the energy sector. It will guide the integration of gender by considering the needs of both men and women in all segments of the Ministry through gender analysis and integration of these needs in energy planning. It is further intended to strengthen institutional capacities for gender mainstreaming as a basis for gender sensitive project formulation, implementation and impact evaluation of all energy projects in Kenya.

ENERGIA’s involvement in this policy started in 2007 through gender audits, which provided a first glance of how the energy sector could become more gender-sensitive and responsive. The process, which included trainings, research and assessments, continued until November 1, 2019, when the National Gender Policy was launched.

How ENERGIA and Practical Action EA contributed to the development of the Gender Policy

ENERGIA and long-time partner Practical Action Eastern Africa (PA) stood at the cradle of this policy and are thrilled that the policy has now seen light. The Gender Audits of the energy policy in 2007, led by the Ministry of Energy, was one of the key milestones of this ambitious process. The audits offered a clear roadmap on how to reform the energy sector in a more gender-sensitive way. It also provided a model used by 9 ministries of energy from other countries in Africa and Asia (Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Senegal, Lesotho, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal).

Next followed a long trajectory of training and meetings, to build awareness, capacity and support within the governing body. In 2010, the development of a gender strategy and policy of the Kenya Power (national utility) was used as a model by other electricity utilities in Liberia, Nepal, Ghana and Botswana. Under the ENERGIA Funded Women in Energy Enterprises in Kenya (WEEK phase 1) project, PA provided technical support to mainstream gender during the development and dissemination of the SEforALL Action Agenda (AA) and the Investment Prospectus (IP), also supporting the MoE during the county SEforALL awareness meetings in 15 counties. The process went on during WEEK phase 2 project. While encouraging the Deputy Director-Gender to prepare a gender policy to support the ministry to mainstream gender in its agencies, through our Gender and Energy Research Program ENERGIA provided relevant evidence to inform policy and practice. Our studies carried out in Kenya focused on impacts of electrification and the value of adopting gendered approaches in energy planning and delivery. This evidence gave a further boost to the finalization of the Gender Policy, which has seen the light on Friday. Along with Practical Action, the contribution of our long terms partners such as the University of Nairobi, and Sustainable Community Development Services has also been crucial.