The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and UN Women are teaming together to establish a small grant facility to provide technical and financial support to upscale the deployment of projects that simultaneously promote gender equality and improve energy access in the region.
The ECOW-GEN Facility is a funding vehicle created for the specific purpose of operationalizing the ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access, which was validated by the region’s energy and gender experts in June 2015. The Policy aims to address existing barriers to the equal participation of men and women in expanding energy access in the region, and thus contribute to the success of the sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative in the ECOWAS region.
In line with this, the ECOW-GEN Facility will center on promoting gender-responsive investments and business development by transforming women-led business ideas in energy into real, commercially viable enterprises. Thus the Facility will aid in and contribute towards technology development and transfer; knowledge and skills acquisition; and establishment of sustainable energy businesses.
The €5 Million Facility will run from June 2016 – 2019, and will identify gender-responsive projects through annual calls for proposals. Prior to this, the Facility will commence with a pilot phase lasting till June 2016, and with a size of €500,000 will support about 7 to 10 energy projects. Calls for project proposals for the Facility’s pilot phase opens on 12 October 2015 and closes on 31 December 2015.
Applicants may apply for any of the Facilities three components, namely: the ECOWAS Women’s Business Fund; the Women’s Technical Exchange Program; and Women Economic Empowerment through Energy for Productive Uses.
1.ECOWAS Women’s Business Fund
The ECOWAS Women’s Business Fund will support female entrepreneurs operating in the formal and informal sectors with innovative business ideas to establish or upscale energy businesses.
Also the Fund includes a component on ‘Gender in power generation, transmission and distribution’, and will support Government Ministries, Departments or Agencies (MDAs) to incorporate gender dimensions in large scale energy infrastructure projects.
2.Women’s Technical Exchange Program
The Women’s Technical Exchange Program is a south-south cooperation framework which aims to facilitate learning and knowledge sharing for the replications and deployments of clean energy technologies. Through this Facility, trainers and trainees will be matched up to facilitate knowledge and technology transfer.
3.Women Economic Empowerment through Energy for Productive Uses
The objective of the Women’s Economic Empowerment through Energy for Productive Uses is to expand energy access to support rural women in agricultural businesses and, thus, contribute towards poverty alleviation, increased employment, and improved health and educational levels of rural women for the sustainable development of the ECOWAS region.
Entities eligible for financing
The following entities will be eligible:
- Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the 15 ECOWAS Member States;
- International and local civil society organizations (CSOs)
- Women and Community-based groups and associations (including youth organizations);
- Private sector organizations
- Academia and research institutions
Depending on the financial robustness of the applicant, they may be required to contribute up to 15-30% in monetary terms of the total cost of the proposed project. This amount will exclude any tax related implications.
Proposals will be judged based on the following criteria:
a) Sector or Strategic Fit:
Project is within the priority areas considered by the ECOW-GEN Facility.
b) Development Impact:
The project improves the quality of life of the local population.
c) Regional priority:
The authorities (e.g. government Ministries, traditional leaders, etc.) are aware and in support of the project as contributing to the country’s development goals and agenda.
d) Institutional Capacity:
The project should currently have capacity or should have credible plans to add capacity towards management and project implementation.
e) Gender responsiveness:
The project should demonstrate its gender responsiveness, specifying how the proposal was designed with intent to address gender inequalities or inequities and/or to leverage gender benefits.
The Facility’s pilot phase is supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the United States’ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN).