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Mainstreaming gender for energy security

Access to energy is gendered, with women in informal urban settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa experiencing energy poverty differently and more severely than men. Mainstreaming Gender for Energy Security in Poor Urban Environments, in short, Gender for Energy Security or GENS, is an Africa-UK Trilateral Research Chair aiming to build research capacity and produce knowledge across Africa concerning gender-informed innovation and commercialisation opportunities in alternative energy technology and services.

GENS work includes:

  • exploring opportunities for gendered energy innovations, which means innovations that take into account the different roles, responsibilities and needs of women and men in dealing with energy insecurity
  • supporting stakeholders in co-designing gendered energy innovations
  • informing gendered policy landscape for energy technology commercialisation
  • setting up social innovation labs for multi-stakeholder and community collaboration in Paarl, South Africa and Mathare, Kenya.

The GENS Trilateral Chair directly contributes to national and international policy priorities of:

  • Enhancing partnerships to create a better South Africa, Africa and World
  • National priorities of the three collaborating countries – South Africa, Kenya and the UK
  • African Union Agenda 2063
  • Agenda 2030 of the United Nations, specifically, SDG5 on gender equality, SDG7 on affordable and clean, SDG10 on reduced inequalities, SDG11 on sustainable cities and communities, and SDG17 on partnerships to achieve the goal
  • Five-priority areas for South Africa’s economic activity as stipulated in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Economic Stimulus and Recovery plan

The GENS co-design toolkit

The outcome of this project, the Gender for Energy Security (GENS) co-design toolkit, is a set of tools designed to equip private and public stakeholders for creating gendered energy solutions for African informal urban settlements. The toolkit was developed to be used as a knowledge source, as well as an instrument for idea generation.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Fabrizio Ceschin
Dr Fabrizio Ceschin - I am a Reader in Design for Sustainability, coordinator of the Design for Sustainability research group and member of the Design for Sustainable Manufacturing research theme. I worked in the Design and Innovation for Sustainability research unit at Politecnico di Milano for six years before joining Brunel University London in 2012. I carry out research in the area of: - Design for Sustainability and Circular Economy, and in particular in developing principles, strategies and tools to innovate and design products, services, product-service systems and business models integrating environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability; - Co-design, and in particular on how to support multi-stakeholder and participatory design processes. Over the past years I have been involved in several international and national research projects, funded by the European Commission, EPSRC, Innovate UK, the British Council, SMEs and multinational enterprises. My research projects have resulted in more than 50 journal and conference publications and 4 books. I have been teaching in the area of design for sustainability over the past 15 years. I am currently teaching modules on Environmentally sensitive design (BA and BSc) and Sustainable design (MSc), and I am director of the MSc Integrated Product Design. I am member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, the Design Research Society and the British Industrial Design Association, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Education I obtained a BSc and MSc equivalent degrees in Industrial Design awarded by Politecnico di Milano in Italy. In 2009 I started my doctoral research in design for sustainability at Politecnico di Milano, which was completed in 2012.

Related Research Group(s)


Design for Sustainability - We focus on developing the theory and practice required to design solutions that foster environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability in areas ranging from materials and manufacturing to products, services, business models, bottom-up initiatives and socio-technical systems.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 16/01/2024