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The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the UN Women are collaborating to establish a five million Euro small grant Facility for more energy availability in West Africa.

Known as ECOW-GEN, the Facility is a funding vehicle created for the purpose of operationalizing the ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access, which was validated by the region’s energy and gender experts in June 2015.

Specifically, the joint effort is meant to provide technical and financial support to upscale the deployment of projects which would promote gender equality and improve energy access in the region at the same time.

The ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access aims to address existing barriers to the equal participation of men and women in expanding energy access in the region, and thus contribute to the success of the sustainable Energy for All (SE4AL) initiative in the ECOWAS region.

In aid of this, ECOW-GEN Facility which runs from June 2016 – 2019 would focus on promoting gender-responsive investments and business development by transforming women-led business ideas in energy into real, commercially viable enterprises.

The Facility is meant to aid and contribute towards technology development and transfer; knowledge and skills acquisition; and establishment of sustainable energy businesses. It would also identify gender-responsive projects through annual calls for proposals.

With an initial €500,000 it is billed to commence with a pilot phase lasting up till June 2016, supporting between about 7 to 10 energy projects. In this regard, calls for project proposals for the Facility’s pilot phase opens on 12 October 2015m while applicants may apply for any of the Facility’s three components, namely: the ECOWAS Women’s Business Fund; the Women’s Technical Exchange Program; and Women Economic Empowerment through Energy for Productive Uses.

Organizations eligible for financing include government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the 15 ECOWAS Member States, international and local civil society organizations (CSOs), women and community-based groups and associations (including youth organizations, entrepreneurs, private sector organizations, the academia and research institutions.

The partners which are supporting the energy access facility include the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the United States’ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN).





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