Celebrating the results of the five-year Green and Inclusive Energy Program

December 9, 2020

2020 marks the last year of the Green and Inclusive Energy program, a five-year-long lobby and advocacy program of Hivos, ENERGIA and IIED in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Under the ministry’s Dialogue and Dissent program, alliances were forged with civil society organizations in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Nepal, Myanmar, Central America, and at international level. Together we contributed to policy change and increased investments to the benefit of decentralized people-centered energy systems that meet people’s energy needs and create economic opportunities for women and men while mitigating climate change.

Now that we are at the end of the five-year program, we celebrate the achievements of the consortium and highlight the lasting improvements in lobby and advocacy capacities of our partners.

Raising Voices  

The capacity of citizens and their organizations to voice their interests and push for inclusive social change lies at the heart of lasting impact. Therefore, strengthening the influencing power of civil society partners was at the core of the program.

Through learning by doing, shared learning but also specific training (e.g. on gender and social inclusion), partners who were new in advocacy for inclusive energy have become legitimate and credible voices in the energy debate. The partners that were already active in the energy sector have also increased their influencing power. All understand the connection between the energy agenda and the role of citizens better and have the skills to form influential coalitions, also with partners outside the energy sector. Working in close cooperation and with different approaches instilled confidence in partners who took ownership of the program.

Special focus on gender

Building on Hivos/ENERGIA’s extensive track record in gender and energy, partners gained capacity in improving the position but also the leadership of women regarding energy services, finance and policy. For example, in Indonesia, stakeholders confirmed that the gender narrative is one of the critical success factors of the program, both in terms of popularizing the topic of decentralized renewable energy (DRE) and mainstreaming gender at policy level.

Increased quality reporting by media

Engaging with media fraternity including individual journalists, was an important strategy of the Green & Inclusive Energy Program. Journalists put topics on the agenda, steer the debate and enhance transparency and accountability. The program supported independent journalism in different ways; from organizing training and fellowships to opening doors to (inter)national platforms and high-level experts.

As a result, we have seen a growth in quality reporting on environmental and energy related issues. A couple of by the program trained journalists have gained recognition by receiving awards and one journalists saw his reporting being discussed in Malawian parliament. Furthermore, this work has contributed to the recognition of the program and its partners and the overall uptake of the program’s messages.

Policy influencing

By using a myriad of approaches such as conducting thorough research and creating coalitions with governments and private sector partners, several intended outcomes formulated at the beginning of the partnership have been fully achieved or even exceeded, as the external evaluation concluded.

Created space for civil society

A crucial outcome is that CSOs have gained recognition by governments in all countries and at global level. Partners are engaged in national and sub-national policy and budget development and review processes, something that will continue beyond the lifespan of the program.

Some examples of the numerous successes of creating space for civil society:

  • the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the electric power utility that runs under the supervision of the Government of Nepal, acknowledged the role of and now engages in a strong collaboration with Hivos’ partner National Association of Community Electricity Users-Nepal (NACEUN) as an important player in the energy sector with their contribution to energy access.
  • In Zimbabwe the Climate Change Department under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement nominated partner Action 24 to represent CSOs in the National Adaptation Plan Committee.
  • In Indonesia, collaboration was strong with various ministries, most notably the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection who showed strong interest in the model villages in Sumba and Central Java based on L&A interventions by gender partner KPI

Adopting new policies

Another crucial outcome is that governments have adopted policies to make energy systems (grid/off grid) more green and inclusive. This was realized at national level in Malawi, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Central America, and at county or local level in Kenya, Indonesia and Nepal.

Some examples are

  • In Central America, the Heads of States of the SICA region and their eight Ministries of Energy signed an agreement with Hivos, partner ACCESE, OLADE and ECLAC, for the region to become the first developing region with 100% energy access.
  • Also in Central America, Hivos and partners influenced the Energy Strategy 2030 to include gender and access to green energy.
  • In Kenya, joint advocacy on the reinstatement of VAT on clean cooking and solar products by Hivos, Kenya Climate Change Working Group (KCCWG), Clean Cooking Association of Kenya and other CSOs, made the Ministry of Energy commit to collaborating with CSOs to compel the Kenyan government to repeal this VAT.
  • In Tanzania, the Minister of Energy signed and published for the first time a Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) Gender Action Plan after close cooperation with partner TANGSEN.

Increased Finance

One of the most significant objectives realized by the program is the increase in finance for DRE solutions (off-grid and mini-grids). From 2013-18, the yearly investments by donors, governments and financial institutions rose from USD 210 to 460 billion, mainly through increased international public finance, as shown in the Energizing Finance series by SEforALL.

Our interventions supported by our studies, many with IIED (e.g. on unlocking climate finance), have contributed to the growing awareness about the importance of and increased finance for DRE for energy access.

More attention for clean cooking

Also key was the changed position of clean cooking on a global scale. Before 2018, clean cooking was virtually absent in the energy access debate, but has since received international and national attention and action, amongst other by the program’s work at national level and globally.

Through an innovative approach, Hivos commissioned and published several studies about the (economic and social) feasibility of e-cooking (e.g. Beyond Fire). Strong and targeted outreach during publication launches ensured broader and more solid uptake of the message around clean cooking.


  • At international level, work on political prioritization around clean cooking bore fruit. Health and Energy Platform for Action (HEPA) has grown into an established platform, and the High-Level Coalition for Clean Cooking is established (awaiting a formal public launch), the work plan agreed upon and the HEPA Steering Committee is functioning.
  • Linking national-international advocacy, cooperation with the Government of Kenya grew stronger. Kenya proved to be a real leader in increasing access to clean cooking, by being outspoken on the need to develop supportive policies and invest in clean cooking, setting an example for neighboring countries, engaging in discussions with the core group of actors on clean cooking (Hivos, ENERGIA, MECS, Kandeh Yumkella), proposing an international day for clean cooking, with Hivos and ENERGIA providing support in writing and outreach, and leading the development of a high-level event related to the High Level Political Form on clean cooking.

Energy Change Lab

Last but not least, in the Energy Change Lab in Tanzania, IIED led the productive uses of energy and accountability themes by prototyping strategies to build demand and appropriate finance for community businesses and hold dialogues at the national level. Achievements include scale-up by key partner CEFA who adopted methods to build demand of community businesses. At the national level, the Lab established itself as a well-respected entity in the sector, convening stakeholders from inside and outside the energy sector including government, but also young Tanzanians, to tackle pressing issues.

For more information visit the Energy Change Lab website


Hivos and partners have been frontrunners in putting DRE on the societal and political agenda. The tailor-made capacity strengthening of partners, cultivated the overall effectiveness of the lobby and advocacy work, and increased visibility and trust of CSOs in the energy domain.

Together we have made important strides towards achieving green and inclusive energy for all. Nonetheless, a lot still needs to be done to achieve SDG7 by 2030. That’s why our, now former, partners will continue their work, striving for equal distribution of renewable energy.

More results:

For  more success stories about the impact the program has had in the communities in which we work in  Kenya and Tanzania. Download our success story booklets:


If you want to read more about the results of the Citizen Agency Consortium, have a look at the reflecting on five years of Citizen Agency: Raising voices around the world.