Designing an international gender and energy programme
Eco worked with ENERGIA – the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy – developing funding proposals for its four-year programme phase. Not only did ENERGIA’s proposals need to demonstrate relevance to the energy access agenda and donor objectives for development cooperation, but also required a monitoring approach suitable for a long-term initiative occurring in a complex, largely decentralised environment.
In September 2011 ENERGIA engaged Eco to help develop its funding proposals to Sida and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland. Established in 1996 with the objective of mainstreaming gender in energy sector policies and programmes in developing countries, ENERGIA had been gradually stepping up its activities on institutional networking, capacity building, policy influencing and advocacy, engendering energy projects and programmes, and knowledge management and research.
ENERGIA is now seeking to build on its successes and lessons learned, and intensify its impacts through larger programmes in fewer countries. For its next phase, ENERGIA looked to Eco for support on programme design including selection of indicators.
Eco’s work started with reviewing the outcomes of ENERGIA’s evaluations and intensive consultative processes to date. This process clarified ENERGIA’s future direction and strategy, and identified a number of challenges and considerations for both the short and medium terms. Given the continued lack of access to reliable and sustainable energy services in the developing countries, there was a need for ENERGIA to scale-up gender mainstreaming activities to improve energy access. Eco worked closely with ENERGIA’s Secretariat to refine its programme’s focus on three highly interrelated components: support to national networks in Asia and Africa; intensive gender mainstreaming interventions in selected country programmes; and international advocacy initiatives.
Eco recognized that gender mainstreaming, and the related capacity and advocacy activities of ENERGIA, occur in a complex, largely decentralised environment. Most often, it has been nearly impossible to demonstrate categorically that results of previous interventions came about due to ENERGIA’s initiatives alone. Further, as in previous phases, ENERGIA had tended to plan, track and report on physical outputs (e.g. number of meetings, workshop, brochures), rather than on changes in capacity of targeted stakeholders. While this practice is commonplace, unfortunately it is easily possible to deliver on concrete outputs according to a project plan while not achieving any real changes in the capacity of project stakeholders.
Eco, therefore, recommended a monitoring approach based on Outcome Mapping that focused on the changing behaviours of key stakeholders. This approach provided a framework for strategic planning and management, and also a platform for consistent and simple reporting. In particular, ENERGIA’s reporting will use graduated indicators using a “traffic-light” system (i.e., green for good progress, orange for some progress, and red for areas of concern). Graduated progress indicators will be used from the outset of Phase 5, and the simple reporting format allows for both quantitative and qualitative reporting on the changes observed.
By focusing behavioural outcomes through this “graduated progress indicators” approach, ENERGIA can track its overall progress at the national and international level, and determine how well its next phase delivers changes in attitudes and actions of the key stakeholders targeted.
Eco is ready to support all organizations with the design and development of their energy and climate change programmes. If you are looking for experts to support your work, contact Dr Grant Ballard-Tremeer using our online form to find out how we can help you.