Energy plays an important role in eradicating both income and human poverty. Although referred to as the missing millennium development goal (MDG), access to clean and modern energy is critical in achieving all of the eight established MDGs.
West Africa is a region where available, accessible and affordable energy services remain a pressing challenge. Whether in terms of electricity or in terms of modern cooking fuels, countries within the region are seen to fall among the worst performers in delivering energy services to its populace.
Moreover, when the impacts of energy poverty are assessed at a disaggregated level, a clear disparity exists between men and women. This condition is mainly attributed to the fact that, on average, woodfuel accounts for over 60% of the energy mix of countries within the region. As about 80% of this fuel is used for cooking, women who are mainly responsible for this activity, face more directly the impacts of procuring and using, in the traditional form, biomass in meeting the household energy needs.
Consequently, an energy policy or project which does not take into consideration the differences in gender roles as constructed by the society cannot effectively meet the needs of both men and women and will, ultimately, not lead to sustainable energy for all.
Thus, as energy poverty affects men and women differently, mainstreaming gender in energy access in therefore necessary to accommodate for the differences in the energy needs of men and women at the community and household level.
Our goal in ECREEE is to ensure that women, who play vital roles as energy producers and managers in their households, have access, as men, to energy services for uses including those which could enhance their entrepreneurial capacities.