Gender Advocacy Toolkit: A New Guide on Strategic Engagement of Women in Clean Energy

By Tindi Sitati

The Partnership on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER), has launched a toolkit on gender advocacy in clean energy to address barriers and opportunities for strong advocacy for women across the energy value chain.

The toolkit, From Advocacy to Action: Toolkit on Gender Advocacy in Clean Energy’ creates a cohesive and targeted advocacy agenda and is comprised of calls to action on increasing involvement of women in clean energy initiatives.

The development of this toolkit was necessitated by a need to have a unified sector voice when addressing the importance of women’s participation in clean energy access at the household level. Although organizations working in clean energy access at the household level advocate for women’s participation, they all tend to work independently of each other. The danger with such an approach is that solutions and strategies applied by different sector players are likely to be contradictory at worst and non-complimentary at best. More often than not, this may lead to missed opportunities to effectively engage women in clean energy access.

The Vulnerability of Women

wPOWER recognises the vulnerability of women in the lack of access to clean cooking, household heating and lighting solutions. Recent statistics indicate that close to 4 million deaths are recorded annually as a result of illnesses attributable to household air pollution (WHO, 2018). Unfortunately, since women are the primary users of these inefficient cooking methods, a majority of these deaths comprise of women and children.

This energy burden is especially acute in Africa and Asia, where women and girls in rural areas spend up to five hours a day collecting firewood leading to deprivation of education and other empowerment opportunities. Urban women and girls are not spared the drudgery as they rely primarily on charcoal stoves that need a lot of time to light and are an inefficient way to cook quick meals in these increasingly fast paced environments.

Based on these facts, changing the narrative of women as victims, to active participants across the clean energy value chain has never been more urgent. wPOWER, whose vision is to empower 8,000 women to provide clean energy access to 3.5 million people, is confident that this toolkit will benefit all sector player in streamlining their advocacy messages to increase women engagement across the clean energy value chain.

Increasing Involvement of Women in Clean Energy Access

Developed from well-established research findings and refined through contributions from partners and stakeholders, the wPOWER advocacy toolkit lobbies and advocates for the adoption of women-inclusive approaches in delivering new targets for clean energy access at county, national, and international levels.

“Effective advocacy requires the right tools. That is the core of wPOWER’s approach – and what the advocacy toolkit offers.” Wanjira Mathai, Senior Partnership Advisor, wPOWER.

Among stakeholders targeted are financiers, governments, policy makers, researchers and implementers. The advocacy toolkit emphasizes five advocacy goals that are adaptable for any geographic context; and include;

  • Advancing women’s participation in clean energy entrepreneurship
  • Improving access to finance for women in clean energy
  • Expanding research on women’s impact in clean energy initiatives
  • Promoting gender-inclusive policies for clean energy
  • Focusing engagement at the grassroots level

Endorsement by wPOWER Partners

The content of the gender toolkit has been well received by partners. So far, the toolkit has been endorsed by 26 partner organizations. Those who have endorsed the toolkit expressed optimism that its publication will streamline activities and policy formulation to ensure sustainable approaches to increasing women’s engagement in clean energy access at the household level. Binagwaho Gakunju, EU Project Coordinator at SOLARKIOSK, described the toolkit as, “an innovative and sector-friendly framework which serves as a key resource for information on clean energy, impacts and negotiations for 2018 and beyond.”

The toolkit provides a roadmap to develop, implement, and evaluate a focused clean energy advocacy strategy from start to finish.
View, download, and share the Toolkit on Gender Advocacy in Clean Energy here.

Edited by Maureen Onyango and Linda Davis, Ph.D