NAIROBI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Kenya launched a policy on Friday to promote the participation of women and girls in energy value chains amid marginalization linked to poverty, skills deficit and cultural myths.
Senior officials said that Kenya became the first African country to launch a gender-responsive policy for the energy sector whose implementation is key to boost access to affordable and reliable power among female-led households.
"The gender policy for the energy sector is anchored on our constitution and aims to ensure that women, girls, the youth and people living with disability have equal access to electricity," said Simon Kachapin, Chief Administrative Secretary in Ministry of Energy.
He said the gender policy tailored for the energy sector will boost action on poverty and climate change.
Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary in Ministry of Energy said that Kenya will leverage on robust policies and capacity building to ensure that women are adequately represented in the top management of power utilities.
"The policy we have just launched will expand space for women in the energy sector. It envisions greater employment for women in energy institutions alongside entrepreneur activities in oil and gas," said Njoroge.
He said the government will support capacity development for women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to enhance their participation in the energy value chains.
Farida Bulhan-Aliwa, the East African Director of Practical Action, said the launch of gender-sensitive energy policy will have positive outcomes on grassroots women, children and youth. Practical Action is a UK-based organization working with poor communities to develop appropriate technologies.
"The policy is progressive since it promotes equitable access to clean energy sources that have the potential to lift women and girls from poverty," said Bulhan-Aliwa.
Sheila Oparaocha, program manager for International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy, said that increasing the number of women involved in renewable energy value chains will boost inclusive growth and cohesion in Kenya.