MEDA hosts a panel at the UN Commission on the Status of Women side event that advances the conversation about gender equality and resilient food systems

Waterloo, ON– On Tuesday, March 15th, MEDA hosted and co-sponsored a virtual event, Social Entrepreneurship, at the Gender Equality and Climate Change Nexus session. This NGO parallel virtual event was a part of the program of parallel or side events happening alongside the 66th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Forum (CSW66). MEDA’s engaging panel discussion illustrated how women are at the forefront of creating sustainable climate change solutions and outlined what was needed to continue supporting them.

The panel included:

  • Happy Amos, founder and Managing Director of Roshan Renewable Technologies Ltd, the first woman-led company to provide affordable and locally made clean cooking and lighting products and services for households across Nigeria. 
  • Yelfign Ayenew, Gender Specialist with MEDA’s EMERTA project in Ethiopia, which works to ensure women’s empowerment and gender equality in agricultural and gemstone value chains in the Amhara region. 
  • Sylvia Herzog, Director of The Charcoal Project (TCP) , a US-based non-profit focused on finding solutions to unsustainable production and consumption of wood fuels worldwide. 
  • Dr. Dan Sweeney, lead researcher and lecturer for the Biomass Fuel & Cookstoves Group at MIT D-Lab, which supports research, development and manufacturing of innovative household energy technologies with community partners, including many women entrepreneurs.

Leanne Baumung, one of MEDA’s Technical Specialists in Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI), was the event’s moderator.

The CSW enables diverse stakeholders, from civil society, government, and the NGO sector, to convene in New York City for two weeks each year to discuss the present state of gender equality and how each stakeholder can promote women’s rights. This year’s CSW theme was “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.” As MEDA’s event demonstrated, women social entrepreneurs contribute to alleviating the local effects of climate change and building social, environmental, and economic resilience.

Some key takeaways from the event included:

  • Charcoal can be both a problem and a solution- it is cleaner burning than wood but it is harmful when unsustainably harvested from trees
  • Greater gender equality can reduce demand for charcoal through higher incomes and better education about clean cooking options
  • Mentorship is critical and can provide a way for women entrepreneurs to access capital

The event was the first of two parallel events that MEDA participated in, the second being “Women at the forefront of action for climate-resilient food systems” on March 16th, another panel discussion that brought together women working in different parts of the agrifood market system to discuss the role that climate change plays in food systems. Jennifer Denomy, MEDA’s Technical Director, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion, was among the panelists who contributed her insights to the discussion.

MEDA was pleased to share best practices with like-minded professionals in the international development field to strengthen gender equality. This event was fully aligned with our core values and our strategic plan, Towards an Equal World, to create or sustain half a million decent jobs by 2030. MEDA is committed to further providing opportunities to promote gender equality, climate resilience, and sustainable livelihoods.

To watch the video, click below:

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