Organization of a Gender and Energy training in Togo as part of the ECOWAS Regional Training Program on Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Projects, Products and Services

In West Africa, vulnerable women are the most affected by energy poverty and its effects. Indeed, they are the most exposed to health risks related to the use of polluting fuels. They are responsible, within their household for the supply of cooking energy, which weighs heavily on their budget and their spare time, specifically in situations where fuel wood is used, to the detriment of other activities (time dedicated to for children’s education and to income generating activities, etc.). Due to these issues we see a prevalent situation where women tend not to have the means or the power to make investments for the betterment of their households, which would have allowed them to improve their living conditions and that of their family.

It is for these different reasons that Entrepreneurs du Monde (EdM), a France supported association created in 1998, works with people living in fuel poverty by facilitating access to essential goods and services for their families. To achieve its mission, Entrepreneurs du Monde promotes the emergence of sustainable local organizations. The association operates in 11 countries and has supported 122,000 micro- entrepreneurs in 2017. Based in Togo since 2012, EdM has developed three programs:

Assilassimé Solidarité, a social microfinance institution, which supports around 30,000 people in Lomé, 95% of whom are women, in the development of their income-generating activities through financial (micro-credit) and non-financial services (training, etc.);

Miawodo, a program that aims to contribute to Togo's economic development through the creation and development of Very Small Enterprises (TPE) and access to sustainable employment through skills training and long-term support for vulnerable people living in sensitive areas;

Mivo Energie, a project that aims to combat global warming and deforestation in Togo by facilitating access to clean, modern and affordable energy products for vulnerable populations, especially women.

It is in the framework of this project (i.e. Mivo Energie) that Entrepreneurs du Monde was selected in early 2018 to participate in the training of trainers organized in Accra on Gender and Energy. The three-day training aimed at strengthening the capacity of the team to operationalize the ECOWAS guidelines on gender assessments in energy projects and gender mainstreaming in energy access adopted in 2016. As a reminder: this policy defined the actions and principles guaranteeing equitable access to energy interventions in the region. Participants were made aware of key gender concepts, including the history of the concept, as well as gender planning and budgeting in energy programs. Following this training, Entrepreneurs du Monde officially became the focal point for Gender and Energy in Togo for civil society organizations and was now tasked with disseminating the knowledge acquired to other Togolese organizations.

In this context, training was conducted in June 2018 for the Mivo Energie project team; 14 participants took part in this session, including 8 women. The purpose of the session was to disseminate the theoretical content acquired during the ECOWAS training workshop and to recommend gender-friendly measures in the program's activities. The training was organized in a very participative way: several games took place (quizzes on certain gender statistics in Togo, role play, etc.) and a number of debates allowed the beneficiaries to express their points of view on gender issues and different key concepts (equity, equality, etc.).

Through Group Work, a set of recommendations to improve the integration of gender considerations within Mivo Energie was established to support the implementation of a gender-specific approach in market research and household surveys, use of images of men and women in communication tools, encourage parity in decision-making bodies, feminize job titles during recruitment processes. To oversee these, two focal points were identified within the project and will enforce the operationalization of these proposed measures. The team came out highly motivated. Entrepreneurs du Monde will continue to replicate the content of the training in the coming months (a new training session will take place with two other civil society organizations in August 2018).