Sunday, October 30, 2005

ENERGIA : Networking Energy For The Good

ENERGIA is an international network on gender and sustainable energy. The objective of this organization is to link individuals and groups concerned with energy, sustainable development, and gender. The goal of Energia is to contribute to the empowerment of rural and urban poor women through specifically focusing on issues related to energy.

ENERGIA was founded in 1995 by an informal group of women involved in energy inputs to the Beijing Conference on Women. Since then, it has grown and is now active in developing nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania as well as in developed nations in Europe, North America and Australia.

Currently there are over 1800 subscribers to its newsletter, ENERGIA News. Phase 1 of ENERGIA (from1996 through1999) was focused mainly around the production of the Network's newsletter. In Phase 2 (from1999 to 2002) ENERGIA was centered on seven main activities. Those activities in addition to the newsletter, included: capacity building, advocacy, case study and research, establishing a resource center, and regionalization and formalization of the network.

ENERGIA has been extremely active in the area of advocacy. Here are listed just a few of the many things that they have done.

As a part of its Advocacy function ENERGIA has facilitated the development and synthesis of twenty-seven working papers. Twelve of these papers have been posted on the ENERGIA web site.

ENERGIA has supported the presentation of gender issues at twelve mainstream energy meetings, including the World Summit on Sustainable Development, World Renewable Energy Conference, ISES World Solar Congress 2001, Global Women Petroleum & Energy Forum 2001, Ninth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Village Power Meeting, etc.

The organization has launched a number of gender and energy programs, such as Global Village Energy Partnership and Winrock International.

Gender and energy issues have been presented at eight other international energy meetings as well. A regional workshop "Women and Sustainable Energy in Africa" held in Nairobi, Kenya in March 2000 led to the main focus of the first part of Phase 2 being on Africa. At the end of Phase 2, there were nine national networks and three sub-regional networks. Additionally a regional focus point and a Francophone focal point were created and associated with the ENERGIA Network in Africa. As a result of the Phase 2 efforts twelve initiatives of the Africa networks received seed funding to help with the stimulation and strengthening of those networks.

Four sub regional focal points in Africa met with the ENERGIA Director of Regionalisation and Capacity building in Nairobi, Kenya in June 2002. And on three separate occasions, network members undertook their own initiatives in order to further ENERGIA objectives. On more than ten occasions, ENERGIA worked in partnership with a number of regional organisations in their activities.

ENERGIA has plans for a Phase 3 which began in January 2003 will continue the activities undertaken under Phase 2, but focusing mainly on capacity development to integrate gender and energy in policy, programs and projects for sustainable development, and the consolidation of the network.

While the direct beneficiaries of ENERGIA's efforts are first policymakers, planners, and project implementers of government institutions, NGOs, private companies and other organizations and secondly, network members actively taking part in program activities, the ultimate beneficiaries, are expected to be rural and urban poor women.

Some of ENERGIA's focal points in Africa are:

Intermediate Technology Development Group-East Africa (ITDG-EA) , which is a focal point of the Eastern Africa Gender and Energy Network. The Intermediate Technology Development Group-East Africa (ITDG-EA) has an Urban Livelihoods and Shelter Programme, a Rural Agriculture and Pastoralism Programme, a Manufacturing and Enterprise Development Programme, an Energy Programme, and a Transport Programme.

ENDA-Tiers Monde is a part of the Francophone Focal Point and an international non-profit organisation based in Dakar, Senegal. Founded in 1972, ENDA is an association of autonomous entities co-ordinated by an Executive Secretariat. Enda relies essentially on the initiative and methods of popular action for its impetus that include, individual and collective initiative (particularly inner city inhabitants, who mobilise in response to particular challenges and issues); grassroots groups and social movements (rural and urban associations involving youth, women, communities, professionals and consumers, and local or national federations) and the construction of basic common infrastructures (socio-economic activities, sanitary and social services etc.) with the involvement of grassroots communities.

ENDA's support of grassroots groups also involves collaboration with numerous institutions and administrations in the third world; employing voluntary workers of Southern origin and from certain industrialized countries and other functions as well.

Enda Energy is a branch of the organisation Enda Tiers Monde and their work focuses on energy use and management in the African context, with an emphasis on the linkages between energy and development.

The Centre for Innovation and Development (NovAfrica) is a focal point of the Southern African Gender and Energy Network (SAGEN)

Novafrica is a regional development organisation that was set up in 2003 in South Africa to focus on promoting learning, innovation and knowledge and also to stimulate community-led economic development. NovAfrica's ambition is to develop a new community of development facilitators, with skills, exposure and experience to tap into and develop Africa's unique reserves of innovation and creativity. It believes that Africa's communities can - with the right kind of support - find solutions to their own problems.

West African Gender and Energy Network (WAGEN) maintains the Friends of the Environment (FOTE) focal point, which is now the Environmental Rights Action. The Environmental Rights Action (ERA) is a Nigerian advocacy non-governmental organisation founded on January 11, 1993 to deal with environmental human rights issues in Nigeria. ERA is the Nigerian chapter of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), the world environmental justice federation campaigning to protect the environment and to create sustainable societies. ERA is the co-ordinating NGO in Africa for Oilwatch International, the global South network of groups concerned about the effects of oil on the environment of people who leave in oil-bearing regions.

Dedicated to the defence of human ecosystems in terms of human rights, ERA intends to promote environmentally responsible governmental, commercial, community and individual practice in Nigeria. It seeks to do this through the empowerment of local people. It acts as a peaceful pressure group, campaigning for change in the policies of governmental, non-governmental and commercial organisations in support of environmental human rights. Additionally it enables local people to defend their environmental human rights through the use of the law.

Mali-Folkecenter (MFC) is a focal point of the Malian ENERGIA Network and was the subject of a Blog article in July of 2005

This should give you a pretty good idea of the Network that Energia has been building. It would take quite a while to discuss all of the organizations in Enesrgia's network, but from time to time, I intend to revisit the Network and bring you more information about them; but for the time being, I must bring this article to a close.

Visit ENERGIA and see for your self the many things that are taking place in the world of energy in Africa.

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