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Training gender-energy practitioners and policymakers

During Phase 4, ENERGIA strengthened our advocacy capacity by working on two fronts:

  • By improving the advocacy skills and knowledge of network members and partners to influence social change.
  • By supporting national policy makers, stakeholders and other organizations to identify gender gaps in their projects and programs, and enforce gender-sensitive policies.

ENERGIA developed gender and energy training packages, manuals and tools for development and energy practitioners and organized a large number of events to build the capacity of the network. The idea was to expand not only practitioners’ knowledge of gender issues in the energy sector but also to build members’ capacity to develop gender-sensitive energy proposals.

Part of these activities focused on strengthening the skills to mainstream gender in projects and programs. While Phase 3 activities focused on Africa, in Phase 4 capacity building coverage saw the inclusion of Asia and the Pacific. ENERGIA aimed at building the capacity at the national level to help develop a critical mass of gender and energy experts, particularly practitioners, with the capacity to design and implement gender sensitive rural energy access projects and national energy policies.

ENERGIA’s capacity building strategy followed specific steps: (1) Training of trainers and practitioners at regional workshops, who would in turn organize training workshops in their countries; (2) Creating national training packages; (3) E-learning: ENERGIA developed an online, e-learning course on basic concepts on gender and energy by use of all. This course was also used as a basis for workshops to outline a common understanding of the concepts of gender and energy; (4) National training workshops for energy practitioners to expand knowledge on the gender/energy/poverty nexus. ENERGIA also shared practical tools they could use to design and implement gender sensitive rural energy access projects (including problem definition, needs assessment, design of intervention, and evaluation); (5) Action planning and coaching: Following the workshops, ENERGIA supported a selected number of participants with coaching and mentoring to help them integrate what they had learnt into their work.

Several participants incorporated gender approaches in their energy projects. Examples include:

  • The Energy Forum of Sri Lanka worked closely with the electricity consumer societies that managed micro-hydro plants to develop business plans that promoted income generation for women.
  • The Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE) from India promoted ‘non-traditional’ roles for village women in the operation and management of their micro-hydro schemes.
  • National biogas programs in Lao and Nepal targeted women’s involvement in the construction, promotion, marketing and installation of biogas plants.
  • Gratis Foundation in Ghana trained women-owned roadside restaurants in the adoption of fuel efficient, cost saving LPG stoves as a replacement for wood fuel stoves.

Following the publication of “The Gender Face of Energy” produced in Phase 3, ENERGIA developed two more training modules:

  • The “Mainstreaming Gender in Energy Projects: A Practical Handbook” for energy planners and project managers with a technical background delved into how to integrate gender concerns into all stages of the project cycle. The handbook explored methodologies and approaches to mainstream gender depending on the stage of the project cycle, structured in four major stages: preparation, design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. The publication provided an extensive overview of the development of a Gender Action Plan (GAP), a strategy for ensuring gender concerns are integrated into project goals, actions and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. This tool ensured that all parties involved had a common reference to the gender goals or objectives, outcomes, activities and actions to track and evaluate the implementation. Attention was also given to the institutionalization of gender mainstreaming into the organization itself to create the long-term capacity to implement gender aware activities.
  • As part of the work for the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), ENERGIA published the training program: “Mainstreaming Gender in the Energy Sector” targeting gender specialists working in the energy sector and Gender Focal Points wanting to gender mainstream in organizations.