By Wallace Mawire
The Gender and Energy Network in Zimbabwe (GENEZ) recently formed under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) is to play a pivotal role in promoting gender mainstreaming in the energy sector.
According to Gamuchirai Chipangura, Assistant Programmes Officer for ZWRCN, the Gender and Energy Network in Zimbabwe (GENEZ) is a network with a membership of 15 organizations and seeks to empower children, youth and women through skill development workshops, training programs, awareness campaigns, increasing local participation in energy projects and campaigns.
Chipangura said that GENEZ was re-established on 14 June 2017 under the Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) Partnership. She said that the goal of GIE is “A transition towards 100% Green and Inclusive Energy Systems that improve livelihoods, support social services and create economic opportunities and growth for all while mitigating climate change.”
She added that the role of the GENEZ is to influence gender mainstreaming in national level energy policies and strategies, through revitalizing a critical mass of gender activists to articulate the issues as a collective and advocate for change in relevant spaces.
GENEZ uses a multi-sectorial approach where civil society, financial and industrial stakeholders join hands on their respective roles and competences to coordinate action towards improved gender and energy access.
It is also reported that in addition, GENEZ seeks to increase participation of women and children in energy related programming, bridge the gap between the energy related policy frameworks and its implementation.
It also aims at increasing awareness of gender and energy in Zimbabwe since this has been lacking for the past years, according to Chipangura.
She added that CSOs in Zimbabwe lack capacity in energy lobbying and advocacy hence the need for GENEZ to coordinate energy lobbying and advocacy.
“GENEZ will address the current lack of synergies among energy, gender CSOs and other stakeholders such as Private sector in energy programming,” Chipangura said.
Pamela Mhlanga, ZWRCN Executive Director said at the recently held women and energy meeting hosted by HIVOS in Harare under the clean energy week for 2017 that the gender and energy network will also seek to advocate for the acceleration of renewable energy technologies.
Mhlanga said that the network will also lobby for increased budgetary allocations to the energy sector and actively engage with civil society organizations especially women’s organizations.
ZWRCN has produced a policy brief following a rapid assessment conducted in March 2017 on gender issues in the renewable energy sector in Zimbabwe. The assessment provided insights into the barriers that undermine women’s access to renewable energy and gives solutions to overcome them.
According to the assessment, the global energy sector and that of Zimbabwe is shifting towards renewable energy. The policy brief says that the shift presents immense opportunities for increasing access to clean and sustainable energy, especially for the poorest hardest hit by energy deficiencies.
It adds that women remain least served by this energy source, yet access to such energy can have great potential in improving their socio-economic status and reducing the feminization of poverty.