Seminar held for gender policy makers on renewable energy

Thursday, October 22, 2015
A one-day sensitisation seminar on renewable energy for gender policy decision-makers, targeting senior officials of line ministries, departments and agencies, as well as non-governmental, civil society and community-based organizations was yesterday held at the Tango conference hall in Fajara.

The seminar was organized by the Women’s Bureau in partnership with the GEF UNIDO 4 Project entitled: “Promoting renewable energy based mini-grids for productive uses in rural areas of The Gambia”, under the Ministry of Energy which is being implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Speaking at the ceremony, Nancy Niang, permanent secretary Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Women Affairs, said renewable energy comes from natural sources that are constantly and sustainably replenished.

The technologies to be featured would make the families healthier, more secure, and more prosperous by improving air quality, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, curbing global warming, and adding good jobs to the economy, she said.

Working together as policymakers, communities, businesses, investors, utilities, and farmers could indeed help build a sustainable future for The Gambia, she added.

According to her, the seminar seeks to clearly underscore these benefits and opportunities at all levels of gender-policy development, and indeed in all other legal instruments with a view to providing the necessary investment in this area, raising awareness, providing better understanding and appreciation and stimulating interest and confidence, among others.

Binta Jammeh-Sidibeh, executive director at the Women’s Bureau, told the gathering that the main purpose of the high-level engagement, is to ensure there is increasing interest and appreciation of the benefits and opportunities, of mainstreaming renewable energy in sectorial policies.

It was also for programmes targeting gender policy decision makers, women activists, gender advocates from relevant government institutions including Ministry of Energy, Gambia Renewable Energy Centre, National Environment Agency, National Water and Electricity Company, Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority and non-governmental institutions in The Gambia.

Also speaking was Ndey Sireh Bakurin, the executive director of NEA and chairperson of the GEF UNIDO project, who said The Gambia as a country had shown real commitment to the protection of the environment as a key part of sustainable development.

She noted that in line with Vision 2020 and other policies such as the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), Gambia Environmental Action Plan (GEAP), Gender Policy and National Energy Policy (NEP), the Gambia government continues to create an enabling environment to address the energy needs of the people.

Therefore, she added, it was important to explore partnership and sustainable avenues to accessing energy issues, including clean and renewable energy for women and girls.

She said it was also important that in moving forward, women should be involved at all stages of the decision-making processes within the energy and other related sectors. The seminar ended with a field visit to renewable energy project sites.

Author: Isatou Senghore-Njie