People-Centered Accelerator

Advancing Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Women’s Empowerment in The Sustainable Energy Sector

We believe that promoting the inclusion of women and the poorest people in society within efforts to achieve universal access to sustainable energy services, and related business opportunities, can help secure a just energy transition that leaves no one behind.

The People-Centered Accelerator is a voluntary partnership of stakeholders interested in advancing gender equality, social inclusion, and women’s empowerment in the sustainable energy sector.

THE CHALLENGE

The clean energy transition, supported by world leaders through the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, offers an historic economic opportunity for growth and development. It heralds an economic transition that must move us toward a net-zero emissions economy by mid-century and provide more equitably than we do today for everyone globally.

To achieve a transition for all, we need a renewed focus on closing the energy access gap by 2030 for the 1.06 billion people worldwide today without electricity and the 3.04 billion without clean cooking. This requires focusing on women and others most vulnerable in society who suffer the most from the implications of energy deficits and energy poverty and are under-represented in consultations about energy services, including the design and delivery of such services. It requires a more socially inclusive approach throughout development and economic processes—particularly in critical sectors such as energy—to support a more diverse energy sector and create opportunities for lasting change.

OUR AIMS

The People-Centered Accelerator aims to enhance and complement ongoing efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement through gender-responsive and socially inclusive approaches. Partners in the People-Centered Accelerator are working jointly to:

  • Enhance and extend the provision of sustainable modern energy to the very poorest people in society, who will not be reached by business-as-usual approaches
  • Incorporate gender equality at the heart of the energy transition by enhancing women’s full participation in sustainable energy solutions at every level
  • Help unlock finance from private and public sources for gender equality, social inclusion, and women’s empowerment in the energy sector
  • Bring together and strengthen collaboration between a broad range of stakeholders to achieve these aims in the context of the People-Centered Accelerator’s work streams and activities.

JOIN US

SEforALL would like to hear from stakeholders who are interested in addressing these challenges by engaging with and supporting the People-Centered Accelerator. As we move through the energy transition, this will help to bring a more inclusive voice and participation in the design, delivery, and planning of energy services for all.

Read the overview here.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

A FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION

SEforALL is working with interested partners over 2018-21 on an action-orientated work plan that aims to:

1

Demonstrate and help scale-up sustainable access pathways for the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach
people.
Business-as-usual solutions are not working to deliver energy access to women and the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people, particularly those living in urban slums and rural parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia Pacific. Women and girls represent 50 percent of the people living in poor households in developing countries.

The Accelerator aims to work with governments to develop innovative social safety net bundles that would enable access to energy, social protection services, and a regular cash payment for the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach people, and to facilitate the development and scaling of opportunities for women’s participation in the clean energy and/or cooking sectors as service users, entrepreneurs,engineers, designers, and businesswomen.

2

Help direct capital to gender-responsive and socially inclusive energy businesses to support faster delivery of sustainable access solutions. Finance needs to flow faster to support gender-responsive and socially inclusive energy access solutions along the entire value chain. Financiers seek a bankable investment pipeline but face challenges in identifying proposals that meet their investment criteria and timing. Enterprises and market participants face barriers accessing finance and creating financially viable business models that are scalable.

The Accelerator will explore how it can help to: develop a pipeline of gender-responsive and socially inclusive sustainable energy access investments; facilitate the engagement of gender-responsive and socially inclusive energy businesses with a coalition of funders interested in investing in energy-access solutions; and advocate for energy companies and investors to apply a gender-responsive and socially inclusive lens to investments in energy access.

3

Empower women engaged in energy service delivery to achieve autonomy, authority, and decision-making power at work and thereby accelerate progress on international climate change and sustainable energy goals. The energy sector is behind other sectors in terms of gender balance— from girls’ and young women’s participation rates in science, technology, and mathematics education, to women in the energy-sector workforce, in management, or on the boards of energy services companies. Conventional energy policies tend to focus on energy supply, with limited attention to women’s empowerment in the energy sector, risking vital opportunities to draw on women’s local knowledge and capabilities as energy leaders and entrepreneurs.

The Accelerator will help to: advocate for changes in public and private-sector policy to support and empower women to engage in all levels of energy services delivery; connect women working in energy services delivery with others who can help build their capacity, mentor them, or serve as role models; and connect businesses with best practices in organizational policy and female representation across both management and workforce to each other, and to those who seek to improve performance.

Partners are mapping stakeholders and initiatives working on these issues globally to help inform engagements and opportunities to enhance partnerships. Work is also underway to gather the data and evidence to support the business case for action in each work stream

WORK STREAM 1

Photo credit: SEWA
Demonstrate and help scale up sustainable access pathways for the most vulnerable and hardest to reach people.

Leave no one behind

Business-as-usual solutions are not working to deliver energy access to women and the most vulnerable, particularly those living in urban slums and rural parts of Africa and Asia.

In seeking to achieve the interlinked objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 7 and the Paris Agreement, it is necessary to consider new and innovative approaches to energy service delivery that specifically target these people and communities who are currently being left behind.

Developing new ways of working to deliver universal energy access by 2030 will require evidence on how the lack of energy access affects women and men differently and how to bring inclusive and equitable energy access to all. It requires demonstrating the potential development gains that can be accrued by providing women with access to energy, enabling participation in all aspects of decision making across the energy value chain and by assisting key stakeholders to scale up such approaches.

In an effort to realize these benefits, SEforALL has engaged partners to create a People-Centered Accelerator to advance gender equality, social inclusion and women’s empowerment in sustainable energy. One of the four goals of the Accelerator is to “enhance and extend the provision of sustainable modern energy to the very poorest people in society who will not be reached by business-as-usual approaches.”

Photo credit: Mbabazi Ester Ruth & Let There Be Light Int.

How can you get involved?

We would like to hear from stakeholders who are interested in engaging and supporting the People-Centered Accelerator and its mission. Broader, more diverse input will enable more inclusive perspectives and participation in the planning, design and delivery of energy services for all.

WORK STREAM 2

Photo credit: BURN Manufacturing Co.
Help direct capital to gender responsive and socially inclusive energy businesses to support faster delivery of sustainable access solutions.

Problem Statement

Finance needs to flow faster to support gender responsive and socially inclusive energy access solutions along the entire value chain. Financiers seek a bankable investment pipeline but face challenges in screening for proposals that meet their investment criteria (e.g. return on investment, size of loans) and timing. Enterprises and market participants face barriers in accessing finance and how to create financially viable business models that can go to scale and don’t rely on non-market based revenues to be sustainable.

To support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, partners in the People-Centered Accelerator will work together to accelerate action across the energy sector to help unlock finance from private and public sources for gender equality, social inclusion and women’s empowerment in the energy sector.

Proposed Accelerator Activities

Advocate for energy companies and investors to apply a gender responsive and socially inclusive lens to investments in energy access.

The People-Centered Accelerator aims to work with partners to:

  • Bring together stakeholders from the finance and energy communities and those working on gender and development sectors to create a common language and narrative around the case for gender responsive and socially inclusive access investments.

  • Explore what work has been done in developing benchmarks for gender responsible and socially inclusive investments in energy access. Use/ tailor this to help develop a Return on Investment metric (in $) for investing in women in energy access if this is not already available. Encourage others to adopt such a metric.

  • Tell the story and showcase investments in gender responsive and socially inclusive sustainable energy access solutions.

  • Celebrate leadership of financiers investing in gender responsive and socially inclusive access solutions.

Photo credit: Calvert Impact Capital

How can you get involved?

We would like to hear from stakeholders who are interested in engaging and supporting the People-Centered Accelerator and its mission. Broader, more diverse input will enable more inclusive perspectives and participation in the planning, design and delivery of energy services for all.

WORK STREAM 3

Photo credit: Frontier Markets
Empower women engaged in energy service delivery to achieve autonomy, authority and decision-making power at work, and thereby accelerate progress on international climate change and sustainable energy goals.

Problem Statement

From girls and young women’s participation rates in science, technology and mathematics education to women in the energy sector workforce, in management or on boards of energy services companies, the energy sector is behind other sectors in terms of gender balance.

Conventional energy policies tend to focus on energy supply, with limited attention to women’s empowerment in the energy sector. This risks missing out on vital opportunities to draw on women’s local knowledge and capabilities as energy leaders and entrepreneurs.

Women at all levels and across all capacities engaged in energy services delivery – from governments, to businesses to non-profit organizations - tend to lack autonomy, authority and decision making power at work. They often lack access to support networks, role models and champions to help advance their career as well as ‘female-friendly’ public and company policies to help them realize their goals.

The People-Centered Accelerator to advance gender equality, social inclusion and women’s empowerment in the energy sector, through SEforALL, will therefore work with partners to enhance women’s full participation in sustainable energy solutions at every level.

Proposed Accelerator Activities

Advocate for and enable increased leadership and participation of women engaged in all levels of energy service delivery, to achieve autonomy, authority and decision-making power at work

The People-Centered Accelerator aims to work with partners to:

  • Advocate for changes in policy in the public and private sector to support and empower women at all levels to engage in energy service delivery, including by engaging a network of ambassadors (e.g. national, regional, local) to advocate for change with leaders in the public sector, non-profit and energy business community.

  • Gather data and where necessary propose metrics to support better understanding and benchmarking of the policy uptake in government and business, and the impact on advancing women’s empowerment. Explore how they can support the business case for greater engagement of women at all levels of energy service delivery.

  • Highlight and elevate women’s successes in sustainable energy policy and business.

  • Connect women to networks, mentors and role models (in business and policy making) for peer to peer exchanges and to increase their access to career advancement and decision-making opportunities.

  • Raise awareness and encourage men to support women's professional development.

Photo credit: Adam Schultz/ENERGIA

How can you get involved?

We would like to hear from stakeholders who are interested in engaging and supporting the People-Centered Accelerator and its mission. Broader, more diverse input will enable more inclusive perspectives and participation in the planning, design and delivery of energy services for all.