ZWRCN Gender and Energy Fair 2017: “Women Unlimited – Doing Business in the Energy Sector” & Launch of the Gender and Energy Network (GENEZ)

energy fair

The Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN), together with partners with a mandate to advocate for gender equality and universal energy access, hosted a mini fair to showcase women in energy enterprise on the 1st December 2017, under the auspices of a gender and energy network that was also launched on the same day. The funding partner Hivos provided the venue for these events. These events were spearheaded as part of a joint civil society initiative being implemented in pursuance of a Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) agenda in Zimbabwe and Malawi. The GIE programme is a partnership that focuses on lobby and advocacy that will influence the public and political debate on universal energy access by citizens, with the ultimate aim of transitioning towards a greener and more inclusive energy system. In Zimbabwe ZWRCN is implementing this programme in partnership with Zero, MISA, DRI & Action 24. ZWRCN’s role is to ensure that gender is mainstreamed in all aspects of programme implementation.

The Mini fair was held successfully with about eight organisations exhibiting at the event and showcasing their products to a number of visitors who graced the event. These organisations included Jekesa Pfungwa who showcased “the Jeka Stove” which has helped many rural women as it consumes less firewood than the traditional fireplaces that are common in most rural areas. Among the exhibitors were also two financial institutions that offer women financial support for different business enterprises, these included Virl Micro Finance and Steward bank.

It was also a pleasure to have Hon. Chirisa at the mini fair and she was part of a panel that led a dialogue on gender and energy in Zimbabwe. She highlighted the efforts that the government has put in supporting women in the energy sector. She also encouraged the participants to support women’s business on energy and also indicated that the she is prepared to work with CSOs that focus on gender and energy initiatives such as ZWRCN. Hon. Chirisa also indicated that the gender and energy fair was a very good platform for sharing ideas and she recommended that it should be made an annual event and that it should also include rural women as both participants and exhibitors.

The Executive Director of ZWRCN Ms Pamela Mhlanga also gave a detailed background of the Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) programme before she proceeded to launching the Gender and Energy Network of Zimbabwe (GENEZ). The launch was an amazing ceremony that was applauded by most of the participants. Solidarity messages from GENEZ members were also very inspiring. In launching the GENEZ, Ms Pamela Mhlanga recognised and appreciated the efforts of Practical Action who were instrumental in establishing GENEZ in the past.

The event ended on a high note with most of the participants appreciating the work that ZWRCN and partners are doing to spearhead women empowerment in the energy sector in Zimbabwe. Most participants indicated that they were looking forward to joining ZWRCN again next year for the second “Gender and Energy Fair”.