Inaugural Kinshasa Digital Week highlights ELAN RDC’s partners’ work

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Inaugural Kinshasa Digital Week highlights ELAN RDC’s partners’ work

On March 22 and 23, ELAN RDC attended the first edition of the Kinshasa Digital Week, an event to connect the main actors of the digital ecosystem in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The event, which included a start-up competition, brought together businesses and entrepreneurs to discuss the current Congolese business and tech environments, their challenges, and strategies to foster Kinshasa's tech ecosystem. The vibrant forum connected national and international actors and resulted in productive discussions on how to best address the challenges. 

One of the event’s clear takeaways, is that quality training and support for young entrepreneurs are necessary for the ecosystem to further develop. Through promoting sustainable and inclusive economic development, ELAN RDC has already begun addressing these takeaways through its support of Solvay Business School and Ingenious City. Solvay is carrying out an analysis of the digital technology training needs for businesses in DRC. Ingenious City, opening in May, is a space in Kinshasa where business incubators will provide tailored training and mentoring to help entrepreneurs build scalable businesses that solve real problems. Ingenious City will provide a space where entrepreneurs can learn and work together, receive training and mentoring, access office services and connect with other like-minded people, all under one roof.

ELAN will publish Solvay’s report on the digital technology training needs for businesses in DRC when the final version is ready.

For more on Ingenious City, check out their website: http://ingeniouscity.com/
 

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Milestone launch of DRC Renewable Energy Association hosted by ELAN RDC

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Milestone launch of DRC Renewable Energy Association hosted by ELAN RDC

On 22 March, 14 international and national renewable energy businesses met in Kinshasa as the first step towards the formation of an association for the sector.

 ELAN's Raouf Saidi presenting at the meeting.

ELAN's Raouf Saidi presenting at the meeting.

Representatives of businesses engaged in the production, import, distribution and retail of solar electrical equipment and improved cook stoves met as a group for the first time at the Selton Hotel.  At the meeting organised by ELAN RDC, the participants agreed on the formation of an association which will represent the industry and support the development of the market for renewable energy products and services in DRC. One of the main conclusions from the discussion was that although the association’s long-term goal is the reduction in taxes to make high-quality renewable energy products more affordable for Congolese consumers, the near-term priority is the development of a comprehensive regulatory framework to support businesses operating in the sector. Clear regulatory environments and streamlined tax regimes have fostered strong renewable energy sectors in Kenya and Rwanda, a model the association is trying to emulate.

Participants were in favour of ELAN’s continued support as the association moves from its launch and builds itself into a platform for strengthening the renewable energy industry in the DRC.
 

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ELAN RDC profile published on BEAM Exchange

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ELAN RDC profile published on BEAM Exchange

Working with BEAM Exchange (https://beamexchange.org/), a platform for knowledge exchange and learning about the role of markets in poverty reduction, ELAN RDC recently published its programme profile on their website. 

Hoping to share our experience and practical guidance with a broader audience in support of a market systems approach to development, ELAN published program-wide information and intervention specific case studies. The profile shares everything from ELAN’s project timeline, to the specific market system changes we’re targeting and the results achieved so far.

For an in-depth look at the program, check it out here or by clicking the screenshot below!

 
 

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Moving beyond female participation: How ELAN RDC is upgrading women’s roles in DRC

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Moving beyond female participation: How ELAN RDC is upgrading women’s roles in DRC

Moving beyond female participation: How ÉLAN RDC is upgrading women’s roles in DRC

Recent years have marked a heightened focus on integrating Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) into market systems programming. Yet all too often, efforts to mainstream WEE have translated into a crude focus on female participation. “Are women present in the sector?” programmes might ask, “Check. Job done”.

While it is of course critical that we ask this question and take steps to ensure that our interventions reach women, participation is only one part of the puzzle. By focusing either predominantly or exclusively on women’s participation within a market system, we tend to ignore the terms of their engagement.

Sharpening our focus on the terms of female participation

For several years, this issue has preoccupied ÉLAN RDC, a DFID-funded market development programme operating across 5 market groupings in DRC. Women are central to the labour force in DRC yet highly marginalised within it, meaning that participation does not necessarily mean women derive benefit from their work.  

This prompted a great debate among the ÉLAN RDC team: Was it enough for women to participate in an intervention, when we know, for example, that women’s influence over additional income earnt is limited? Or should the programme be looking to achieve more transformative outcomes? Is it better to focus on depth of impact (the terms and nature of participation) over breadth of impact (participation per se)? 

In 2015, in dialogue with DFID, the programme committed to targeting depth of impact by incorporating two log-frame indicators focussed on the progression of women’s roles within market systems. 

Targeting the right types of change

We identified 6 role change types, as depicted in the diagram below . These can be applied to different market systems, sit across both supply and demand-sides, and allow for spill over between economic, household and community spheres. 

In a significant departure from many market system development programmes, ÉLAN RDC now defines gendered results as when a women’s role has been upgraded and understands this to have happened when she experiences any one or more of the role change types depicted below as a result of the intervention, over at least a year-long period.

This reoriented the team away from a superficial focus on participation and income increase, towards more meaningful changes to women’s position within the market system and has guided work ever since. 
 

 Full definitions of each role change can be found in ÉLAN RDC’s  Methodology for Measuring Progression in Women’s Roles .

Full definitions of each role change can be found in ÉLAN RDC’s Methodology for Measuring Progression in Women’s Roles.

Delivering role change in practice? 

Since reorienting its WEE ambition to target deeper, more transformational outcomes, ÉLAN RDC has contributed to women’s upgrading across a range of interventions:

  • In maize, ÉLAN RDC has supported commercial farms to prioritise the recruitment of women into contract farming positions. This supports women’s labour to be recognised and rewarded as women move from invisible production (where they are often the primary labourers, but are not recognised or directly rewarded as the contract is registered under their husband’s name) to visible production (where women are registered as a contract farmers in their own right and receive direct remuneration). This in turn, can contribute to other dimensions of role change such as sustained and direct access to capacity development and improved conditions through access to the commercial farms’ mechanised services. To learn more about ÉLAN RDC’s work upgrading of women’s roles in maize read our WEE Learning Series – Case Study 1
  • In coffee, ÉLAN RDC has supported women to move into new positions, with 30% of the leadership roles at Muungano cooperative now assumed by women, and 70% of female members now involved directly in trading, compared to women’s negligible involvement in leadership or sales transactions previously. This in turn, has contributed to women reporting improvements to their status – another important dimension of role change. Women have also taken on new positions in IFCCA, a new representative body for women in coffee and cocoa, whose set up was co-facilitated by ÉLAN RDC. To learn more about ÉLAN RDC’s work upgrading of women’s roles in coffee read our WEE Learning Series – Case Study 3
  • In renewable energy, ÉLAN RDC has supported renewable energy companies to improve the design, marketing, and distribution of improved cookstoves (ICS), meaning women are now benefiting from access to goods and services catering to women’s needs. This has also lead to improved conditions for women within the household, with the time spent on unpaid care (cooking, fetching fuel etc) more than halving through the use of ICS. To learn more about ÉLAN RDC’s work upgrading of women’s roles in renewable energy read our WEE Learning Series Case Study 2.

What do you think? 

We’ve tried to give a flavour of how ÉLAN RDC has made use of a shift in how it conceptualises and delivers WEE outcomes in the DRC and the impacts that this has had for the women that we work with. We’d love to hear your thoughts, either comment below or send us an email at info@elanrdc.com.

In parallel, the team has been innovating in how we measure results and use data to support outcomes. This forms the topic for our next blog post which we look forward to sharing next week! 
 

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National Renewable Energy Marketing Campaign

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National Renewable Energy Marketing Campaign

ELAN RDC along with local and international partners recently launched a national renewable energy marketing campaign to educate the Congolese public on the many benefits of solar products, including significant savings benefits (~$8 month/household). 

The six-month national campaign will make use of radio, television, billboards, banners and a roadshow. Through March, the campaign’s first phase will focus on general awareness. The second phase, running into June, will focus more on the commercial aspect and will feature a roadshow targeting 12 major cities and towns: Kinshasa, Mbanza Ngungu, Mbadanka, Gemena, Lubumbashi, Kolwezi, Likasi, Kisangani, Butembo, Goma, Kivu and Uvira. 

The campaign is supported by local and international solar companies, including many current ELAN partners: Altech, Bboxx, d.light, Devsolaire, Ecomwinda, Kit4Africa, Proton, SunKing and Total. Please enjoy the TV ad currently running in DRC.

Opt for the new energy and let’s keep living! Optons pour les nouvelles energies et continuons à vivre!

Découvrez notre nouveau spot TV sur les lampes solaires. Changez vos habitudes de vie tout en faisant des économies. Finies les bougies, les lampes à pétroles, les lampes à piles. Profitons tous du soleil !!! La vie n'est qu'énergie et quoi qu'il arrive continuons à vivre !

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BURN Improved Cook Stoves to enter DRC Market, Altech to lead DRC distribution

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BURN Improved Cook Stoves to enter DRC Market, Altech to lead DRC distribution

In October, 2017 ELAN RDC signed a partnership agreement with BURN Manufacturing. BURN Manufacturing is a Nairobi-based social enterprise specializing in the production and sales of energy-efficient cook stoves. BURN is the only industrial manufacturer of advanced cook stoves in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Altech, using a hub-and-spoke model, is the leading distributor of renewable energy products in the DRC. Altech is a proud partner of ELAN RDC and will be the first to offer the highly efficient stoves on the Congolese market.

BURN stoves require half the charcoal and cooking time of the traditional stove, leading to household savings of nearly $300 during a two-year period.

Checkout more on the companies on their respective websites.

 burnstoves.com

burnstoves.com

 altech-rdc.com

altech-rdc.com

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Seedstars Kinshasa start-up winners

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Seedstars Kinshasa start-up winners

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Seedstars Kinshasa event to watch some of the country's most exciting start-ups pitch their businesses. We look forward to watching all these businesses continue to grow and mature.

Enjoy some photos from the event and check out videos from the entrepreneurs on our Facebook page

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Seedstars World start-up competition in Kinshasa

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Seedstars World start-up competition in Kinshasa

The biggest seed stage startup competition for emerging markets is coming for the first time to the DR Congo to scout for the top high growth startups and entrepreneurs and accelerate them on their path to global success.

The event, which opens at 16H00 on November 10, 2017 at the Béatrice Hotel, will showcase some of the best start-up businesses the country has to offer. 

Check out these short introductions to the businesses that will be competing for potential investments.

Also, take a look at some short videos on our YouTube page of what the entrepreneurs have to say themselves.

For more on the Seedstars World competition in Kinshasa, please take a look at our Facebook page.

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