What’s unique about the initiative?
Energy scarcity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip impacts women in different ways to men, yet women are very rarely consulted on energy solutions. PENGON’s ‘Empowering Women as Sustainable Energy Leaders’ initiative brings local women together to transform the energy system in Palestine, putting solar energy in their hands. It also empowers women to be active in decision-making around energy and to lead change in their communities.
Most outstanding results
PENGON organised women-only discussion spaces throughout 2018 to 2020, which enabled women to participate freely in discussions on energy issues. Community workshops were held to discuss the importance of women’s participation, and strengthen social acceptance of the project. In the Gaza Strip, our work helps women build their skills at community and organisational level, and to become active in lobbying and advocacy spaces for influencing energy policies, thereby benefitting more than 800,000 citizens.
Through our initiatives, which target low-income families and small businesses, electricity bills have hit zero thanks to the use of clean energy sources. We have provided technical capacity-building to train women to operate and maintain clean-energy technology, such as solar powered devices and water pumps in households, farms and training centres. This is alongside building women’s skills to run lobbying and advocacy campaigns to influence national clean energy polices.
Many of our activities were designed to target the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Energy and Natural resources, as governmental ministries are considered a key stakeholder of the project. One example is training ministries in how to apply gender mainstreaming in their work. As a result, in 2020 the Ministry of Women’s Affairs took an active part in building the capacity of the gender unit in the Energy Authority, and ensuring that the national clean energy strategy is sensitive to women’s needs.
PENGON and our members have brought people-powered electricity to more than 270 households in the Gaza Strip. In the past, these communities struggled to access enough energy to meet their needs, and the limited amount they were getting came from dirty energy sources in Israel, such as coal. PENGON is also moving towards changing the law to protect the environment by increasing the share of Palestinian energy that comes from clean energy sources.
Covid-19 outbreak impact
All Palestinian cities were placed under lockdown for three months from the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, resulting in delays to the implementation of solar energy projects. However, we started working again in these cities with some protective measures directly after the government opened them up. While the spread of COVID-19 has slowed progress in our lobbying work, one positive outcome is that when many activities moved online this enabled more stakeholders to be involved.
Quote from the evaluation committee
“The Empowering Women as Sustainable Energy Leaders project raised the social acceptance of women particularly in decision making in the clean energy sector as well as raised their economic power. This project has further reinforced the centrality of women movements in the quest for clean energy and environmental sustainability.”
– Akinbode Matthew Oluwafemi