How to Enhance Your Business through Gender Capacity Building
Capacity building is a key component of the Alliance's gender strategy to empower women through the value chain and increase adoption of clean cooking solutions. The Alliance offers targeted technical assistance to its partners to assess the impact of gender on their business models. This includes best practices for engaging women as business owners, employees, service providers, and end users, leading to an increase in demand and revenue. As an added benefit, this approach can attract investment, and reach new customers. The Alliance also supports a global network of over 50 women-led energy enterprises through capacity building, training, grants, and networking opportunities. Research shows that women entrepreneurs face different constraints than men in terms of access to finance, formal training, and mobility, among others, and the Alliance has developed a number of resources to help address these challenges.
The broad range of tools available include gender due diligence assessments, gender value chain analysis, case studies, gender best practices, and agency-based empowerment training. These tools are available to the public, and have largely been applied to organizations receiving grants through the Spark Fund and the Women’s Empowerment Fund. Partners are paired one-to-one with Alliance gender experts and consultants who pay close attention to the special needs of each enterprise. Experts conduct gender analysis to understand the business’s potential socio-economic impact, and then develop an action plan in collaboration with partner organizations. The Alliance recognizes that capital alone will not accelerate the adoption of clean cooking solutions, and that understanding gender dynamics in the sector and increasing the involvement of women requires a series of strategies, tools, and gender expertise. The Strengthening Enterprises through Gender Capacity Building brochure outlines this type of capacity building support, including several successful case studies.
One training designed to support enterprises is Gender-Informed Approaches to Strengthening Human Resources and Operation: A Training for Clean Cooking Enterprises, a toolkit built in collaboration with Value for Women. It provides recommendations and guidance on how to design and implement a gendered operations model by outlining performance-enhancing best practices. Companies may directly hire Value for Women to conduct the training, or if they are receiving a grant from the Alliance, they may request this type of support.
Another example of training that can be provided is the Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook, which is designed to support organizations in empowering women throughout the household energy value chain. The Handbook includes approximately 50 hours of curricula around business skills, empowerment, and leadership training, and tools that can be implemented to better support women sales agents and entrepreneurs. To date, the Alliance has reached over 400 women entrepreneurs through training-of-trainer workshops and direct entrepreneur trainings in 10 countries: Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Bolivia, Ghana, Guatemala, Peru, Bangladesh, and India. The training is also available in French, Spanish, and Bangla.
The Alliance also offers a webinar training series, Integrating Gender throughout the Capacity Building Facility, that highlights women as an underutilized force and asset. It emphasizes the need for incorporating considerations that benefit both men and women, while increasing the effectiveness and sustainability of businesses. This is part of the Capacity Building Facility (CBF) effort designed for investors, capacity building firms, and enterprises; and encourages them to integrate gender into their work.
By supporting the sector through capacity building, the Alliance fosters an enhanced understanding of critical gender barriers and opportunities. Women and men can bring value to the sector both as actors in the marketplace, as well as beneficiaries of cleaner and more efficient cooking solutions.