Applying a Gender Lens to PAYGo Solar

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Tuesday, Jun 15, 2021
from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM (UTC)

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Climate & Environment


Sustainable Development

Virt Africa

Virt India

Pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar financing has electrified the homes of more than 100 million people and transformed many households that aren’t connected to the electrical grid. CGAP’s theory of change suggests that PAYGo solar can be an inclusive business model which improves access to energy and finance in ways that can likely benefit women. However, a review of available literature finds little evidence, due to the lack of sex-disaggregated data and research examining heterogeneous impacts. Conversations with experts further revealed that only 25 percent of all PAYGo customers are women and that they face several gender-based barriers in accessing PAYGo financing.

How can the PAYGo solar model better serve the energy and financial needs of excluded women? In this webinar, providers and experts from CGAP, FinEquity, GOGLA, ENGIE, Solar Sister, Strategic Impact Advisors, and J-PAL will discuss existing knowledge gaps, implications for future research, as well as the design and delivery of PAYGo solar.

Katherine Lucey, Founder and CEO, Solar Sister.
Institution : Solar Sister
Katherine Lucey is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Solar Sister. Katherine is a Schwab Foundation Entrepreneur of the Year, an Ashoka Fellow, and a Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Entrepreneur. She has received recognition and awards for her work with Solar Sister including Clinton Global Initiative, Social Venture Network, C3E, and International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) Champion of Change Award. Prior to becoming a social entrepreneur, Katherine spent over 20 years as an investment banker on Wall Street providing structured finance solutions to the energy sector.

Alison Boess, Head of Credit Operations, ENGIE Energy Access.
Institution : ENGIE Energy Access
Alison Boess has over a decade of experience in providing inclusive financial services across Africa. As the head of credit operations, Alison works across nine markets to provide responsible clean energy financing. Previously, Alison headed up FINCA International’s PAYGo clean energy company in Uganda (BrightLife), led strategy and management of FINCA’s microfinance bank start-up in Nigeria, and supported the launch of new financial products, digital channels, and improved standards across FINCA’s microfinance operations in Africa.

Susie Wheeldon, Head of Communications and Insights, GOGLA.
Institution : GOGLA
Susie Wheeldon leads GOGLA’s research activities and programs, including the multi-country, multi-company Powering Opportunity impact series. Prior to GOGLA, Susie held roles as the Senior Communications Manager at Power for All and Campaigns Manager at SolarAid. Before her move into the off-grid industry, she spent 12 years in the finance sector at Lloyd’s of London, working in a variety of research, advisory, and management roles, and as a consultant to the insurance industry ClimateWise group — facilitated by the University of Cambridge. Sponsored by Nokia and G24i she also cycled 13,500 miles around the world to promote the potential of solar energy in 2010, writing a book on her return entitled The SolarCycle Diaries.

Shelley Spencer, CEO, Strategic Impact Advisors.
Institution : Strategic Impact Advisors
As CEO of Strategic Impact Advisors, Shelley Spencer brings nearly 30 years of expertise from the telecommunications sector and is dedicated to accelerating the use of digital technology to improve the lives of others. She has worked to advance access and uptake of digital financial services (DFS) since 2011. Her work has included leadership of technical assistance projects to drive DFS offerings by providers in Indonesia, research on the DFS market in India, design, and management of grant programs to support NGOs’ use of DFS and, more recently, research focused on accelerating women’s financial inclusion. Shelley has founded several successful mobile companies, and in 2014 she founded Strategic Impact Advisors to create a team that provides strategic advice and insights to DFS providers, donors, and users to realize the promise of DFS to close the gap in financial inclusion. She currently serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Small Business Association of International Companies.

Andrea Cristina Ruiz, Policy Manager, J-PAL Global.
Institution : J-PAL Global
Andrea Cristina Ruiz is the Policy Manager for the Environment, Energy, and Climate Change sector at J-PAL Global. She also supports J-PAL’s King Climate Action Initiative, which generates evidence and catalyzes the scale-up of high-impact policy solutions at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation in partnership with governments, NGOs, donors, and companies worldwide. In her role, she conducts policy analysis, cultivates new research partnerships, and conducts policy outreach for evidence related to measuring real-world impacts of energy and environmental policies, energy access, pollution reduction, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Andrea also serves on the Committee on Extreme Weather and Climate Change Adaptation for the Transportation Research Board with the National Academy of Sciences and is a ShelterBox response team member. Prior to joining J-PAL, Andrea worked in the office of the Chief Economist at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and has previously worked with the World Bank Climate Change group, World Food Program, Miami Dade County Office of Resilience, the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington D.C., and Ashoka’s Youth Venture.

Sai Krishna Kumaraswamy, Financial Sector Analyst, CGAP.
Institution : CGAP
Sai Krishna Kumaraswamy works in the Business Models team, where he leads research on integrating a gender lens in CGAP’s work on PAYGo solar. His other research includes projects on improving the impact narrative of micro and small enterprise financing and understanding the financial and nonfinancial needs of small businesses in emerging markets. Previously, he worked as a Researcher at the Gender Group and as Financial Analyst at the Global Infrastructure Facility, both at the World Bank Group. Sai Krishna is a Chartered Accountant from India with over 8 years of experience providing audit, advisory, and consulting services to clients in the financial services, energy, infrastructure, technology, and government sectors.

Yasmin Bin-Humam, Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP
Institution : CGAP
Yasmin Bin-Humam is CGAP’s focal point for gender mainstreaming and facilitates FinEquity, an industry-wide community of practice on women’s financial inclusion. She works on analyzing excluded segments to more closely examine who remains financially excluded and how financial services might impact their lives. Previously, as part of the World Bank’s Women, Business, and the Law team, Yasmin developed indicators measuring women’s equality under the law and published on legal barriers to women’s economic empowerment. Her previous research includes the historical evolution of labor and family law reform in countries around the world, and she has compiled legislation on banking, nonbank financial institutions, and consumer protection regulations.


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