Welcome to our very first newsletter intended to update all of you interested in addressing global challenges on energy security and gender equality!
GENS, or Mainstreaming Gender for Energy Security in Poor Urban Environments is an Africa-UK trilateral research project aiming to build research capacity and produce knowledge across Africa concerning gender-informed innovation and commercialisation opportunities in alternative energy technologies and services in informal urban settlements.
GENS in 2020
2020 was indeed a demanding year for the GENS team spread across two continents and three countries. The global pandemic has challenged the way we conduct human-centred research, urging our multidisciplinary team to rethink community engagement and data collection strategies. Here are a few highlights of our year, proving that despite all the challenges Covid-19 threw at us, we still managed to succeed.

The GENS team meets at the synergizing workshop at Brunel University London
For the first time the GENS team gathered in its London hub. A five-day workshop was attended by the Chairholder Prof Josephine Kaviti Musango, the Principal Investigators Dr Fabrizio Ceschin, Dr Amollo Ambole, and the Research Fellows Dr Aine Petrulaityte and Dr Benjamin Batinge. The team worked on driving GENS overall objective, setting timelines for specific tasks, clarifying institutional roles, integrating the different work packages, and building the capacity of the team to co-design to achieve the project goals. What we did not know is that very soon our plans were going to be tested by lockdowns and travel bans.
Stellenbosch University and Radio KC searching together for energy solutions. Engagement with Groenheuwel community in South Africa
The GENS Stellenbosch University team signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Radio KC, a leading community radio station in the greater Paarl and Wellington areas. Together we aim to find solutions that can sufficiently meet the energy needs of households in Paarl's Groenheuwel community and later in the greater Drakenstein region. The GENS Stellenbosch University team and Radio KC is working towards setting up of a social innovation lab in the Groenheuwel community, educating and entertaining the community and coming up with gendered energy solutions that are relevant to the residents of Groenheuwel. The GENS is conducting research in the setup of the GENS Living Lab and Radio KC provides a platform to coordinate, mobilise and manage stakeholder engagements with the Groenheuwel community, co-researchers and GENS Youth Champions aged 18-24 years. Read more about GENS and Radio KC collaboration here.

The GENS Nairobi research team kickstarts stakeholder engagement process
The GENS Nairobi research team from the University of Nairobi met with potential stakeholders from Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting aimed to kickstart the stakeholder engagement process by introducing GENS research to community leaders from Mathare. In a two-hour meeting, the participants explored the diverse range of stakeholders in Mathare and the methods that we could use to engage with them in GENS research. Throughout the discussion, the Mathare community leaders demonstrated a willingness to work with the GENS Nairobi team. Most importantly, we also gained valuable insights into the complex governance structure within Mathare, which is a mix of formal and informal sub-structures.
The GENS team publishes the paper setting the scene
The GENS team has published its first co-authored paper Mainstreaming Gender for Energy Security in Poor Urban Environments, which highlights what we mean by three keywords, namely: mainstreaming genderenergy security, and poor urban environments. The paper was published in the Energy Research & Social Science international Journal with an impact factor of 4.771. Our team aimed to communicate and clarify these keywords to the diverse stakeholders who we are engaging in the research process. Download your copy here.
November was a busy and productive month for the GENS team. With Covid-19 restrictions eased in Kenya and South Africa, we were able to carry out data collection and stakeholder engagement activities.
The GENS Stellenbosch University team collects quantitative data in Groenheuwel informal settlement in South Africa
While following Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) as spelt out by the South African Government and Stellenbosch University, the GENS team in South Africa collected quantitative data in the Groenheuwel community in Paarl. Five community recruited and trained co-researchers (3 females, 2 males) collected the quantitative gendered-disaggregated data using the GENS questionnaire through face-to-face interviews. Ten sections in the community were covered with a total of 100 households interviewed. During the data collection, GENS activities were also promoted on Radio KC with weekly interviews and draws conducted rewarding 10 lucky community interviewees with R500 Pick and Pay Shopping vouchers.
The GENS Nairobi team collects data in Mathare informal settlement in Kenya
In respect of all the necessary health and safety measures of the Kenyan government, the GENS Nairobi team collected quantitative and qualitative data in Mathare informal settlement. Quantitative gendered-disaggregated data was collected using the GENS questionnaire and comprised of face-to-face interviews, do-it-yourself (DIY) surveys and phone calls. The GENS Nairobi researchers with the help from local Mathare-based community co-researchers surveyed 200 Mathare residents in one week! The following study, qualitative ethnographic data collection, aiming to understand gendered energy-related behaviours in Mathare households, was organised by the GENS London team and implemented by the local community co-researchers, who spent one full week observing the residents of 20 households.
Stakeholders participate in engagement workshops in Nairobi: Steering energy policy and co-creating energy solutions between residents, experts, and policymakers in Mathare informal settlement 
Following the successful data collection in Mathare, the GENS Nairobi team ran two stakeholder engagement workshops. The first Energy Policy and Innovation workshop was dedicated to discussing strategic, market-focused and user-centred policy approaches for solar energy in Kenya, emphasizing the importance of clean energy in sustainable gendered energy innovations. The workshop activities were guided by the “Solar Power for Houses and Businesses Policy Advisory Committee”, which the GENS Nairobi team is a member of since summer 2020.
The second workshop invited Mathare residents and community activists, energy experts, policymakers and the private sector to identify existing energy-related issues in Mathare and co-create energy solutions. The workshop was co-organised by the GENS Nairobi team and the design collective Wetopia and took place in Mathare community centre at the heart of the settlement. The rest of the GENS team and the members of Wetopia joined in online and enjoyed seamless participation in the workshop activities.
We are excited to see what 2021 has to bring for the GENS team! Stay tuned for more exciting stories about our achievements and check our website for latest updates.
Copyright © Mainstreaming Gender for Energy Security in Poor Urban Environments
A Stellenbosch University Africa-UK Trilateral Research Chair in collaboration with Brunel University London and University of Nairobi. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
A.I Perold Building
Stellenbosch University
Western Cape
South Africa

You are receiving this email because you have connected with someone from the GENS team. We value your privacy: you can you this link to update your preferences, or if you no longer want to receive emails from us you can unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Brunel University London · Brunel University, Administration Block · Kingston Lane · Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH · United Kingdom

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp