Foyré Rewbé 3 kicks off to advance women’s roles in Senegal’s clean energy transition and climate justice

In the ENERGIA Phase 7 program “Women Driving the Energy Transition and Climate Justice” we work with five partners in six countries, supporting women energy entrepreneurs and productive uses of energy. In the coming years, we aim to reach 2,500 new women entrepreneurs and 2 million consumers in last-mile communities. One of our longstanding partners is Mercy Corps –  Energy 4 Impact (MC-E4I). After an inception phase, MC-E4I recently announced the kick-off of their Foyré Rewbé 3 project in Senegal, part of the ENERGIA Phase 7 program.

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Mercy Corps – Energy 4 Impact is excited to announce the renewed collaboration with the ENERGIA Network, marking the next chapter of the Foyré Rewbé project (Women & Energy in Wolof). Extending until March 2025, this phase focusses on fostering equal opportunities for harnessing clean energy to drive local economies and contribute to climate-smart socio-economic development. Through this partnership, women are empowered as key contributors to Senegal’s journey towards a cleaner, more resilient, and inclusive future.

In Senegal, a predominantly agricultural society, climate change poses significant challenges. Erratic rainfall and increased drought severely impact crop productivity, compounded by the loss of arable lands and declining water resources. This disproportionately affects rural, off-grid communities grappling with poverty, limited infrastructure, and environmental degradation. Women, who make up 70% of Senegal’s agricultural workforce, are particularly vulnerable due to limited resource access, entrenched gender norms, and reduced decision-making authority. Addressing these challenges requires gender-responsive policies and adaptation strategies to effectively tackle the impacts of climate change.

Sustainable access to energy, especially productive use in commercial activities, has transformative potential for people’s livelihoods. It not only modernises subsistence farming economies with clean energy sources, boosting productivity, but also creates alternative, non-farm-based employment opportunities.

As Senegal embarks on its ambitious energy transformation, targeting universal electrification by 2025 and a 40% share of renewable energy in the national energy mix by 2035, it is crucial to ensure that women play an integral role in this transition and are adequately supported to leverage clean energy for creating robust and flourishing livelihoods, amidst the challenges posed by climate change.

Energy 4 Impact has been a longstanding partner of the ENERGIA Network in implementing Women Economic Empowerment programmes in Senegal since 2014. In this new phase, the focus is on promoting productive uses of energy in key sectors such as dairy, livestock, fisheries, market gardening, rice and banana production and processing, that have the potential to offer increased employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women businesses, including youth.

Collaborating with local civil society organisations, policy makers and private sector actors, Foyré Rewbé 3 provides a platform for women to voice their needs and concerns and contribute to solutions that facilitate equal access to productive resources, income-generating opportunities, as well as financial and market inclusion.

Leveraging insights gained from action-research pilots, the project is positioned to shape policies and practices that overcome barriers to women’s full economic participation. Foyré Rewbé 3 aims to identify opportunities for value addition through clean energy access across different stages of selected value chains, including processing, production, transformation, packaging, and marketing. The goal is to empower women to enter the workforce, establish businesses, and effectively contribute to economic development.

Project Manager Bayo Thiam underscores the importance of placing women at the forefront of the clean energy shift:

“This is vital to ensure the equitable distribution of productive energy use and technologies, addressing gender imbalances in resource access. The underrepresentation of women in policy decision-making and many energy-dependent commercial sectors has resulted in energy services, products, and markets not adequately meeting their unique needs, leaving them particularly vulnerable to climate and economic shocks. Through our project, we aspire to challenge the status quo and instigate positive change”.

Mercy Corps – Energy 4 Impact’s previous experiences have shown that creating supportive environments and robust incentives to facilitate women entrepreneurs’ access to clean energy services and products to strengthen their businesses unequivocally results in increased revenue, elevated social standing, and enhanced agency for women. This enables them to assume transformative roles in driving economic growth and social change within their communities.

“In this next stage of the Foyré Rewbé project, our aim is not only to cultivate growth but to anchor resilience at its core. By bringing diversification, innovation and collaboration to our endeavours, we strive to create a foundation for sustainable economic growth that is resilient to the challenges posed by climate change”,

says Bayo Thiam.

From October 1, 2022 – March 31, 2025, MC-E4I aims to reach 500 women entrepreneurs and 500,000 consumers. Apart from supporting women entrepreneurs, the project includes actions to enhance the enabling environment and policies for women entrepreneurs in Senegal, as well as gender mainstreaming interventions and actions to maintain and strengthen MC-E4I as thought leader in the field of Gender, Energy and women’s entrepreneurship.