On Thursday 2 December 2021, during the closing dinner of the Building Bridges week, Nigerian renewable energy company Powerstove received a CHF 5’000 prize from Sustainable Finance Geneva to recognize their efforts to reach gender parity.
The Gender Lens Initiative for Switzerland (GLIS) is a working group set up by SFG in March 2021 at the initiative of the AlphaMundi Group Ltd and with the support of Gender Smart, to enhance Switzerland’s contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
The GLIS prize was awarded by Sandrine SALERNO, Executive Director of Sustainable Finance Geneva, to the UNDP Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) finalist that does the most to improve Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. The UNDP GSIV process resulted in more than 100 company nominations and 12 finalists, from which the The GLIS Investment Solutions Committee (ISCO) picked the prize winner.
The GLIS ISCO is comprised of Tim RADJY, AlphaMundi Group; Maria AFFONSECA VOGT, Women In Sustainable Finance International; David UZSOKI, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Olga MILLER, SmartPurse.me. To be considered for the GLIS prize, UNDP GSIV finalists were asked to report on the percentage of women on their board and senior management team, female full-time staff, number of women as customers and women shareholders. Finalists were also asked about whether they apply a Gender Lens in the selection of suppliers, hold a third party certification related to Gender Equality, and/or have corporate policies to promote Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.
Established in 2018 in Nigeria, Powerstove develops affordable and sustainable energy solutions to meet the energy demand from households in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Powerstove clean cookstove combines clean energy, IoT and mobile phone technology. The technology impacts positively women and girls who traditionally are in charge of cooking and collecting wood. Powerstove works with local female vendors to achieve grassroot product acceptability, door-to-door distribution, assembling and repairs. The company hires in priority women to champion the 'Light Every Home' campaign at the community level and to manage the company’s own mobile kiosks network which provides employment to 350 women. They are trained on marketing, bookkeeping and digital literacy on how to use smartphone to manage all business operations and inventories in the kiosk. In total, women represent at least 50% of the company’s workforce.
Okey ESSE, the Founder and CEO of Powerstove, commented: “Powerstove is honored to receive the GLIS Prize. Our company was designed with women empowerment in mind and we are grateful that our strategy was recognized.”
Tim RADJY, chair of the GLIS, stated: “Through our experience at AlphaMundi we have observed that companies investing with a Gender Lens are more likely not only to have a positive impact in their community, but also are more likely to be successful commercially. With the GLIS prize, we hope to encourage more companies like Powerstove to embed a gender lens in their business model and core strategy”.
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