Mrs. Langiwe Chandi
The Zambia National Gender and Energy Policy Seminar was held on 22nd-23rd September, 2001 at the Zambia Institute for Mass Communication
(ZAMCOM) Complex in Lusaka, Zambia. The Seminar attracted more than thirty participants from a cross section of organizations including non-governmental organizations, research organizations, industry and the electronic media. Also present were five participants from Botswana, South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Mrs. Mondo Yeta, a gender expert and currently the Chief Executive of the Economic Association of Zambia, chaired the seminar. The seminar methodology included paper presentations, discussions and group work. There were six resource persons who presented papers covering the following topics:
·Introduction to Gender Concepts and Gender Analytical Tools (Mr. Nelson Nyangu).
·Situating Gender in the Energy Policy Debate of South Africa (Ms. Grace Banda).
·The Energy Situation of Women In Botswana (Ms. Nozipho Ditlhale).
·Research Findings under the AFREPREN/FWD Gender Studies (Mrs. Langiwe Chandi).
·Gender Research Needs in The Energy Sector (Mr. Charles Mulenga).
The first two introductory papers on gender and gender analytical tools enabled all participants to have a clear understanding of gender and how to use the gender analytical tools for identifying and addressing problems. They were prepared by Mr. Tobias Mulimbika but presented by Mr. Nelson
Nyangu. Both resource persons are senior officials in the Gender in Development Division in the Government of Zambia Cabinet Office. The two papers from Botswana and South Africa provided a regional perspective of gender issues in the energy sector. The keynote paper was on the Zambian study on gender and energy by Mrs. L. Chandi. The paper discussed the Zambian situation and provided an opportunity for sharing the wide range of experience among the participants. The last paper was future-oriented and considered potential areas of research in the energy sector that would enhance the mainstreaming of gender issues.
In the second phase of the workshop, the participants were divided into three groups to focus on and discuss in detail the following three identified areas:
·Research needs in the energy sector,
·Policy measures and activities that would mainstream gender in the country's energy sector, and
·The best institutional framework for mainstreaming gender in development of the energy sector.
Research was identified as an important priority activity that would assist in deepening the understanding of gender issues. It was also necessary to identify policy measures and activities that address the existing imbalances. Finally, the seminar stressed the need for an effective institutional framework in place to help realize the formulated objectives.
The first group was asked to identify priority research needs in the energy sector such as other parallel studies that can be undertaken, or additional studies that need to be undertaken to effectively mainstream gender in the energy sector. The second group was to identify policy measures and activities that can be undertaken to address gender imbalances in the energy sector. The third group was requested to propose the best institutional framework for mainstreaming gender in the energy sector. This includes identifying the institutions that are currently critical in mainstreaming gender in the energy sector. The group was requested to consider whether new institutions needed to be established. The final task was to identify the best framework that would facilitate the mainstreaming of gender in the country's energy sector.
Group one identified inter- alia the need for research on the gender aspect of energy; assessment of the feasibility of renewable sources of energy; market feasibility studies; improve understanding of the interface between gender and energy with other development policies in Zambia; and, more accurate and up-to-date data on the gender aspects of energy for incorporation into national statistics.
Group two identified the need for a systematic and extensive gender sensitisation of policymakers especially through policy seminars.
Group three recommended that there was no need for the establishment of new institutions in order to mainstream gender in the energy sector. The proposed framework was to operate at four levels; national, provincial, district and village. At the national level, there would be the National Energy Development committee and a Provincial Energy Development Committee at provincial level. This would similarly be replicated at the other levels. This framework would not require new institutions but would simply improve coordination of current institutions to ensure that gender issues are fully addressed. It was further proposed that the flow of information should be both top-down and bottom-up. Finally, Group Three recommended that there should be a review of the National Energy Policy to put in place special measures on gender and also to formulate guidelines or strategies on how to mainstream gender.
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