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New facility opens to support gender-inclusive energy access ideas

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Published on: 16 July 2020 | Changed on: 16 July 2020

EnDev, Hivos/ENERGIA and MECS have launched the Gender and Energy Innovation Facility. The Facility supports the development, testing and evaluation of innovative approaches which focus on gender challenges in energy access.

Gender innovation in energy access is an area that has not been looked into much. Because of this, Hivos/ENERGIA, EnDev and MECS decided to establish the Gender and Energy Innovation Facility (GEIF). The Facility aims to promote new, gender-inclusive ideas that help with the challenges of scaling up energy access.

Innovation to overcome gender barriers

Energy access is essential for meeting basic human needs. It also helps reduce poverty, safeguard health, and allow people to follow educational and economic opportunities. Worldwide there are 789 million people who do not have access to electricity. Also, 2.8 billion people do not have access to clean cooking solutions. A lot still needs to be done to guarantee universal energy access for all.

The Facility wants to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of Agenda 2030, especially SDG5 on gender equality and SDG7 on universal access to energy. To do this, we need a better understanding of women’s and men’s specific needs for modern and clean energy services and products. Women often face challenges in energy access and modern cooking. This limits their potential to follow income-generating activities and scale up existing clean energy businesses. It also reduces their ability to speak up for their independence and rights. For women to reach their economic potential, the system needs to change to allow equal female and male participation and development. During the work on the ground, the Facility saw a lack of progress towards a more inclusive, gender-sensitive and clean energy sector.

Gender and Energy Innovation Facility

To start with, the Facility will be open for 18 months. A budget of around €800,000 is available. GEIF will select a maximum of 17 innovative projects in 3 countries via a closed call for proposals. The projects will get financial support to develop, test and evaluate their proposal.

The first set of activities is in Kenya. There, the people involved in the projects can discuss, integrate and develop their project ideas during a bootcamp. The project ideas will be carried out and tested in pilot projects. This will determine which innovations work are suitable for scaling up. After carrying out the pilots, a few proposals will be selected for further, tailored support so they can be scaled up.