National Gender and Sustainable Energy Network members at a workshop on cleaner cookstoves. Photo credit: Tatu Mmanga, NGSEN

By Tatu Mmanga, NGSEN

The National Gender and Sustainable Energy Network (NGSEN) started in Tanzania in 1998, and joined ACCESS in 2016.  It aims to meet the challenges entrenched in gender and energy.

Whilst working on energy access in Tanzania, NGSEN has had many challenges and successes. This blog gives a summary of what they have achieved and what they continue to work towards.


  • When the organization started in 1998 there were only 7 CSOs who formed the network, now it has grown to 65 members.
  • NGSEN members (21 women and 9 men) were trained on gender mainstreaming in energy projects. The trainees were drawn from government, district planning department, private sector, civil society and faith based organisations.
  • 18 members (13 women and 5 men) were trained on lobbying and advocacy techniques to build capacity for policy influencing at all levels of decision making, especially on the issue of gender inclusion in energy projects and programs.
  • 14 members (10 women and 4 men) underwent training to become ‘Trainers of Training’ on gender mainstreaming in energy projects.
  • NGSEN has published 1000 copies of our fact sheet on whether Tanzania can achieve gender equality with the current household energy use pattern.
  • In 2011 NGSEN completed studies to assess gender and energy gaps in the supply and demand chain of household energy. This has helped NGSEN in planning for projects on teaching communities to access clean and safe energy for cooking.
  • In 2014 we completed a study on gender and energy issues around agriculture and heath sectors. This shows the different needs and opportunities of energy for communities – especially women. For example: the importance of energy for pumping water, for grinding mills, energy for lighting health centres, and light to help girls study at night.
  • In 2016 NGSEN published gender and energy articles in two newspapers where more than 4 million people may have read about our initiatives.


NGSEN has also faced many challenges when working on energy access in Tanzania.

  • The gender and energy nexus are yet not known and established to many energy stakeholders.
  • Apart from energy for lighting, other household energy needs are yet to be addressed. Such needs include modern fuels and technologies for cooking, pumping water, energy technologies for rural transportation, agriculture, and productive uses.
  • Significant disparities exist between energy access for rich and poor especially in urban and peri-urban areas. An upper income household uses electricity and LPG and middle and low income uses solid biomass and kerosene.
  • There are existing gaps in access to modern energy sources that need to mainstream gender, cultural practices and the nexus of energy, especially in the health, cooking and water sectors.

To find out more about NGSEN visit