The ECOWAS Network on Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access (dubbed the ECOW-GENetwork) aims to fulfill the role of an interactive online platform connecting gender and energy practitioners, as well as other stakeholders, with the objective to promote, through knowledge sharing, a cohesive, coordinated, and a more effective approach to gender-responsive energy development in West Africa and in Africa as a whole.
Our members come from government institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSO), academia, and others working or interested in gender and/or energy within and outside the West African region.
Thus, although a regional initiative, the ECOW-GENetwork 236 members presently include individuals and organizations from:
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
- The Republic of Tanzania
- The Republic of Moldova
- And, of course, the ECOWAS Member States
From November – December 2015, a survey was conducted to assess if the platform was on track to achieving its objectives and to provide answers as to how the site could better meet the needs of its members.
To this end, respondents were asked the following questions:
- How did you discover the site?
- How frequently do you visit the site?
- What do you think is the purpose of the ECOW-GENetwork/website?
- Would you say the website is achieving its purpose?
- How would you rate the relevance of the information on the website?
- How would you prefer to contribute to the network?
- What will make you visit the site more often and to contribute more?
The responses indicate the following:
How did you discover the site?
A significant number (56%) of those who responded to the survey discovered and joined the Gender and Energy network while exploring the official ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) website. This was followed by those who discovered the site through the ECREEE Gender Newsletter (22%) and Other (22%) – those who were either referred to the site by a friend or from reading an ECOW-GEN publication on another site.
How frequently do you visit the site?
We were pleased to know that 78% of the respondents visited the site weekly/bi-weekly. This was followed by those who visited monthly (11%) and those who did so only when they received the Gender Newsletter (11%).
What do you think is the purpose of the ECOW-GENetwork/website?
The greater part of those who participated in the survey (67%) thought that the site served to share information, while only 11% regarded the site as an interactive platform where people share and receive information. Others thought that the site served to share news about ECOW-GEN (11%) and another 11% indicated that the site was established to share news about ECOW-GEN, share information, and was an interactive site where people share and receive information.
Would you say the website is achieving its purpose?
For whatever the purpose of the site was perceived to be, 89% thought that the network was effective in achieving its purpose. The other 11% could not say.
How would you rate the relevance of the information on the website?
Nevertheless, it was good to know that all of the respondents thought that what was shared on the site was informative and relevant.
How would you prefer to contribute to the network?
Most would like to contribute by posting articles (news stories and other information) (67%), and 33% would like to do so by sharing posted articles. It was good to know that all our respondents would like to contribute.
What will make you visit the site more often and to contribute more?
We found that we would be more likely to improve the site’s traffic and improve the rate at which our members contributed to the site if:
- Opportunities were frequently announced on the site (e.g. calls for application, calls for project, competitions, training opportunities etc.);
- Real life challenges and issues, on the subject matter, were presented and discussed on the site;
- Members got regular updates via email; and
- News and postings from other blogs were shared on the site.
We want to thank all who participated in our short survey and to assure you that your feedback will be used in improving the ECOW-GENetwork.
For further suggestions and comments, please send us an email at email@example.com