How Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Can Enhance Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) Projects in Nigeria

Clean Technology Hub
4 min readMar 4, 2024
  • Ifeoma Malo and Desmond Bardeson
Image Credit: Africa Oil + Gas Report

Introduction

Nigeria is a country with a diverse population of over 200 million people, comprising different ethnic, religious, linguistic, and cultural groups. However, Nigeria also faces significant challenges in achieving social justice and inclusion for all its citizens, especially in the areas of gender, disability, and rural-urban disparities.

One of the sectors that can benefit from applying the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is the decentralized renewable energy (DRE) sector, which aims to provide clean, affordable, and reliable energy solutions to the millions of Nigerians who lack access to electricity and clean cooking.

DEI is a set of values that promote the fair and respectful treatment of all people, regardless of their identity, background, or circumstances. DEI also recognizes the value of diversity in bringing different perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table and the importance of inclusion in creating a sense of belonging and empowerment for everyone.

Applying DEI to the DRE sector can help to ensure that the energy needs and preferences of different groups and communities are considered and met, that the benefits and opportunities of DRE are equitably distributed and accessible, and that the potential social and environmental impacts of DRE projects are minimized and mitigated.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) for DRE Projects

The third session of the online course on People-Centered and Holistic Approaches to Off-Grid Electrification in Nigeria for a New Generation of Energy Practitioners, organized by Clean Technology Hub (CTH) with the support of Wuppertal Institute, focused on the topic of DEI for DRE projects.

The session was led by Ms. Damilola Aseleye, a renewable energy entrepreneur and the co-founder and COO of Ashdam Solar Company Limited, a company that provides solar energy solutions in Nigeria. Ms. Damilola is also the founder and executive director of Girls and Women Technological Empowerment Organization (GWTEO), a non-profit that empowers girls and women to be technology leaders in ICT and green technology.

Ms. Damilola shared her insights and experiences on how to apply DEI to DRE project design and implementation, and how to measure and evaluate the impact of DEI on DRE project outcomes and sustainability. She discussed the key elements and dimensions of DEI, such as gender, disability, age, ethnicity, religion, and geography, and how they affect the access and use of energy services by different groups and communities.

She also highlighted the benefits and challenges of implementing DEI in DRE projects, such as improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, increasing social acceptance and trust, enhancing innovation and creativity, reducing costs and risks, as well as the need for stakeholder engagement, capacity building, data collection, and analysis. She presented some examples of best practices and tools for integrating DEI in DRE projects, such as conducting participatory needs assessments, developing inclusive business models, designing user-friendly and adaptable products and services, ensuring affordability and accessibility, providing after-sales support and feedback mechanisms, and monitoring and evaluating the social and environmental impact of DRE projects.

Conclusion

The online course on People-Centered and Holistic Approaches to Off-Grid Electrification in Nigeria for a New Generation of Energy Practitioners is a capacity building initiative that aims to improve the social impact and sustainability of DRE projects in Nigeria by increasing long-term community governance of such projects. The course targets early career energy sector professionals, entrepreneurs, and civil society actors with technical backgrounds who work in underserved communities in Nigeria.

The third session of the course focused on the concept and practice of DEI for DRE projects, and how it can enhance the social and environmental impact of DRE projects in Nigeria.

The session was very informative and inspiring, and trainees look forward to learning more from the upcoming sessions. If you are interested in learning more about the course or the DRE sector in Nigeria, you can visit the following links:

Social Media Handles WISIONS & Wuppertal Institute:

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  • @WISIONS of sustainability
  • @Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie gGmbH
  • @Clean Tech Hub Nigeria

Facebook:

  • @WISIONS of sustainability
  • @Clean Tech Hub- Energy Innovation Center

Twitter / X:

  • @wisions
  • @Wupperinst
  • @cleantechhubng

Instagram:

  • @wupperinst
  • @cleantechnologyhub

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Clean Technology Hub

Clean Technology Hub is a hybrid hub for research, policy development, community engagement, & incubation of clean energy & climate resilience ideas in Nigeria.