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Strengthening our advocacy capacity through manuals, training and toolkits

ENERGIA approached Phase 3 with the awareness that very little progress had been made in incorporating gender in the design, implementation and monitoring of energy projects and programs. Gender-blind interventions resulted in a weak capacity to address the energy and basic needs of rural women in communities we work with. ENERGIA increased its efforts to support stakeholders in reinforcing gender and energy perspectives into policies and programs.

The participation of national network members in international meetings revealed an increasing need to provide them with additional knowledge and skills to help them approach policy makers about integrating gender and energy in policy, programs and projects for sustainable development. To be effective, efforts to influence policymakers needed a well-structured, well-prepared and well-implemented strategy.

Thanks to our previous advocacy experience, ENERGIA knew that developing a complete advocacy strategy required a goal and identification of methods, stakeholders, partners, activities to perform and at what level (local, national, regional and international), assumptions about the outcome and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism. This is why ENERGIA organised training and developed manuals to support members and external stakeholders in implementing a successful advocacy plan.

A successful example is the “Turning Information Into Empowerment: Strengthening Gender and Energy Networking in Africa” (TIE-ENERGIA) project, which aimed to increase human and institutional advocacy capacities and mainstream gender in the energy and development sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa. TIE-ENERGIA made available gender and energy training packages specifically designed for the energy sector and trained over 260 energy and development practitioners in twelve countries in the region on how to integrate gender into projects, programs and policies. Based on this experience, we produced five generic and one complementary training packages for policymakers and energy practitioners exploring strategies, tools and techniques on how to develop more gender-responsive projects and projects in terms of content and process, as well as how to build advocacy skills and how to communicate project results on gender and energy. In addition, in three countries —Botswana, Kenya and Senegal— the project audited national energy policies on their gender responsiveness and developed action plans based on the audit results.

The project, which ran for two and a half years between January 2005 and June 2007, can be seen as breaking new ground in mainstreaming energy and gender through a comprehensive (in terms of scope and practitioners targeted) capacity-building initiative across Africa.

Relevant impacts included:

  • Enhanced resources and capabilities for the integration of gender into the design and delivery of energy projects and policies and for advocacy among a large pool of gender and energy professionals in Africa.
  • Distinct changes in perceptions and commitments as to why it is important to integrate gender concerns into energy policy and practice, especially among decision-makers in the ministries involved in gender audits in Botswana, Kenya and Senegal.
  • Changes within institutional policies and actions. These have been achieved through national training session participants translating their learnings into practice.
  • A better understanding of the gender-energy nexus and viable entry points for mainstreaming gender in energy access activities by various stakeholders.
  • Strengthening of the Network’s leadership in gender and energy access in sub-Saharan Africa.