Hosted by Hivos since 2016, ENERGIA contributes to universal, equal and equitable access to and control over sustainable energy for all, putting women at the center of its efforts.

Why ENERGIA focuses on women

Women and men’s energy needs and uses differ, as do their levels of access to it. Even where infrastructure is physically available, the poor and women often lack the means, information, or training needed to access energy. Moreover, institutional structures often benefit men, who often are the decision-makers regarding energy products and services that are mostly used by women, such as for cooking. Worldwide, roughly 759 million people still live without access to electricity and 2.6 billion still cook on traditional stoves that cause indoor air pollution and kill close to 4 million —mostly women and girls— each year. At the intersection of gender equality and clean energy access, women cannot be held back.

How ENERGIA achieves its vision

To achieve its vision, ENERGIA implements several multi-year programs that:

  • contribute to energy access for all by scaling up the delivery of energy services through women-led micro and small businesses
  • advocate for and provide technical support to mainstreaming gender approaches in energy policies and programs
  • provide the evidence base for improving energy investment effectiveness through research
  • raise awareness and enhance knowledge of issues related to gender and energy through networking and knowledge products


Bangladesh, Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania.

Results so far

By the end of 2021 ENERGIA, which celebrated its 25th anniversary, had trained and supported 8,000 women entrepreneurs through its Women’s Economic Empowerment Program. Thanks to their sale of over 450,000 units of clean energy products, four million people in last-mile communities in Africa and Asia now have access to affordable energy.

Advocacy efforts have contributed, amongst others, to shaping UN Women and UNEP’s flagship program: “Women’s Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Energy”. The Research Program to date has produced over 60 articles, blogs and other publications which have been shared widely. Gender Mainstreaming efforts in Benin, Ghana and Liberia have resulted in gender audits and the development of gender action plans in governmental institutions.

Together with Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), ENERGIA initiated a multi-stakeholder coalition to develop a Gender and Energy Compact. The Compact works towards gender equality and women’s empowerment to accelerate a just, inclusive and sustainable energy transition. To date, the Compact has over 50 signatories and plans to expand its constituency further.

ENERGIA Director Sheila Oparaocha was awarded the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy’s Carnot Prize at the University of Pennsylvania for her distinguished contributions to energy policy.

Jointly with EnDev, Hivos, MECS and SIDA, ENERGIA also rolled out the “Gender & Energy Innovation Facility”, resulting in 11 innovative grant projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Nepal.

Period and budget

2018-2022, €10.5 million


30+ partners worldwide, including NGOs, research institutes, social enterprises, networks and government organizations.


Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, UK Department for International Development, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS), the Asian Development Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.