On 12 October 2015, ECREEE and the UN Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) held an International Press Conference to launch the ECOWAS Facility for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access (ECOW-GEN Facility).
The event took place at the UN Women West and Central Africa Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal, and brought together over 50 people representing government institutions, civil society organizations (CSO), the private sector, development partners and the media. Opening statements were made by Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director of ECREEE; Diana Ofwona, Regional Director of UN Women; Fatou Sow, Ministry of Energy of Senegal; Victor Djemba, Country Representative of UNIDO in Senegal; Professor Issakha Youm, National Designated Entity (NDE) of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) in Senegal and representative of the Director of CTCN, Jukka Uosukainen; and Louis Seck, Country Director of GVEP International. Also in attendance was the Ambassador of Rwanda to Senegal.
The Executive Director of ECREEE described the event as a ‘historic moment’ for the ECOWAS region. Saying “with such regional initiatives I am convinced that we are not just on the path, but on the right path to achieving universal energy access, as no one (whether male or female) is left out in the region’s development.”
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 aims to address existing barriers to the equal participation of men and women in expanding access to energy in the region, and thus contribute to the success of the sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative.
Mahama Kappiah noted that through the Facility, ECOWAS and its development partners will provide technical and financial support to upscale the deployment of projects that simultaneously promote gender equality and improve energy access in the ECOWAS region. “The Facility will support women entrepreneurs, on one hand and, on the other, will support energy projects and investments that will lead to women’s empowerment”, he said.
The ECOW-GEN Facility aims to support gender-responsive energy projects and investments worth 5 Million Euro by 2019. The call for proposals for the pilot phase opened on 12 October, 2015, and will provide co-financing of up to 50,000 Euro to 70, 000 Euro to a minimum of 7 projects. Eligible applicants were encouraged to submit their proposals by 31 December 2015.
More information on the call for proposal is available at http://ecowgen.ecreee.org/index.php/ecow-gen-facility/