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The gender audit of energy policies and programmes is one of the outputs of Work Package 3 of the activities undertaken of the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA), which was set up in 1995. Entitled ‘Turning Information into Empowerment: Strengthening Gender and Energy Networking in Africa (TIE-ENERGIA Programme)’, the Work Package was devised as a project aimed at bolstering the network in Africa via the African Gender and Energy Network (AGEN). It is financed by the European Union as part of COOPENER, Intelligent Energy Europe’s (IEE) European Programme and the European Union Energy Initiative, which supports efforts to promote renewable energies and energy efficiency in developing countries. The project also benefited from joint-funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Energy is now recognised as the motor of development and the most effective tool for combating poverty, since it can fuel income-generating activities, particularly for women. Access to energy is the key factor for fulfiling of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and eradicating extreme poverty by increasing incomes and achieving balanced diets. The gender audit was designed to inform policies so that they effectively address the need to make energy available in a way that intelligently reflects the different activities and needs of men and women.