Gender-responsive climate financing to upscale the production and use of affordable renewable energy

Description of the project: The Umbrella Cooperative, consisting of WECF and its Georgian partners, facilitate the development of gender-responsive energy cooperatives as a sustainable, inclusive and successful business model to ensure safe provision of renewable energy. Local energy cooperatives offer technical and financial advice, together with the installation of sustainable climate technologies (solar collectors, efficient cookstoves). The Umbrella Cooperative produces energy solutions, develops marketing support material and guaranties high quality products. An adapted financial mechanism, set-up with Georgian banks, enable rural women to access these technologies through affordable loans.

Climate impact: Georgia’s rural households depend on firewood for cooking and heating. Resulting in heavy deforestation: firewood consumption is approx. 3 times higher than the forests’ ability to regenerate. Households spend about 30% of their income on energy, yet they have little access to capital to invest in efficient technologies, even if these would write of rapidly. WECF’s project generates clean, affordable energy supply for rural households; while reducing CO2 emissions by 1t /year/hh and Georgia’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Gender impact: Georgia’s rural households depend on firewood for cooking and heating. Resulting in heavy deforestation: firewood consumption is approx. 3 times higher than the forests’ ability to regenerate. Households spend about 30% of their income on energy, yet they have little access to capital to invest in efficient technologies, even if these would write of rapidly. WECF’s project generates clean, affordable energy supply for rural households; while reducing CO2 emissions by 1t /year/hh and Georgia’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Scalability / replicability: This model enables households with very low revenues in Georgia, who are in great need of making energy savings, to access financing for efficient technologies. Households have three years to pay back the loans, and it has led to an increased local demand of solar solutions. The concept of an umbrella cooperative of local cooperatives can be applied to other technologies, like insulation and efficient stoves. The business model can be replicated in many countries.

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Defending Women farmers Rights for climate change adaptation and mitigation

Description of the project: This project aims to mitigate and adapt to the many gender related insecurities due to climate change in Georgia by supporting women farmer cooperatives. Our association’s topics range – from risks to opportunities for women to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives, to women’s increased dependence on informal loans to ensure family food security, to the lack of mobility for women to avoid ‘disaster’ stemming from their domestic and agricultural responsibilities, and a lack of access to capacity building services such as education, credit, training, and health.

Climate Impact: One of the great challenges of the 21st century will be to feed a rapidly growing population. Current projections suggest the number of people on earth will outpace our ability to feed them by 2050. Food insecurity can lead not only to famine but also to political instability and violence. Our project, through a consortium of universities and a research institute, looks at how we can correct this imbalance through education, innovation, and advocacy by expanding existing educational programs and research priorities to place a greater emphasis on the post-harvest preservation of food.

Gender Impact: Drought, flooding and heavy rains are negative impacts of climate change and deeper analysis of our project highlights how climate justice for women focuses on the social vulnerabilities women face. The agricultural cooperatives we work with, holistically address women’s vulnerabilities in the context of climate change. The Georgian Women Farmers, for instance, directly responds to women’s climate and social vulnerabilities in their activities. Our project is connected with benefits to bring forth discourse around distinguishing between rural women, agricultural cooperatives, gender, and climate change and vulnerabilities associated with poor sectoral responses to the needs of the rural poor and the causes of women’s vulnerabilities and gender inequities in a climate change context.

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Gender responsive energy cooperatives: a social business model to implement renewable technologies within Georgia‘s climate strategy

Description of the project: WECF and local partners facilitate the development of energy cooperatives as successful and sustainable business models by providing workshops, mentoring and knowledge exchange with international experts. Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are made accessible for a broad public, including women, through information events and citizen participation. These coops will support the gender sensitive NAMA (National Appropriate Mitigation Action) on sustainable rural energy in Georgia. Analysis of results show various co-benefits, e.g. reduced labor burden for women, increased awareness on renewable energy and energy efficiency, reduced costs for energy.

Climate Impact: Households in rural areas of Georgia spend approximately 30% of their income on energy: they depend on firewood for cooking, and heating. This results in heavy CO2 emissions and deforestation. This project reduces emissions by 1 ton CO2 per household. It also reduces Georgia’s dependence on imported fossil fuel. Rural territories become more climate resilient as there is less land degradation and deforestation. Energy cooperatives increase social cohesion and the share of renewable and affordable energy in the country’s energy market.

Gender Impact: WECF promotes gender equality by: 1. Empowering women and men equally in cooperative structures and projects that foster citizen participation and political involvement, 2. Reducing women’s unpaid labor burden, improving women’s health by reducing indoor air pollution and comfort by increasing availability of heat; 3. Ensuring that women and men participate equally in the energy cooperatives with at least 40% women in the management and supervisory boards.

Scalability / replicability: Energy cooperatives combine economic and technical know-how about energy technologies (e.g. solar collectors), ensuring efficiency and high quality services. The business models are self sustaining and can thus be replicated in other regions. The initiatives have been integrated in the Georgian Climate and Energy Policy for further upscaling. The promoted technologies have a pay back period of three years. The economic advantages and financial mechanisms (NAMA & a lease purchasing scheme via energy cooperatives) will create a high demand for solar and energy efficient technologies.

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