WHO WE ARE
In 2011, Lucky Okudo found herself gathered at a conference in the outskirts of Nairobi discussing environmental sustainability and the strategic tool women played. Right about the same time across the opposite end of the continent in the Niger Delta communities were in the news protesting against neglicence in operations by oil companies resulting in oil spills. She noticed the men dominantly speaking but it was the woman performing a balance act of her child on her right hip and yams to feed a family on her head that was the inspiration behind Women in Energy & Extractives.
WEX is an organisation dedicated to promoting and progressing the development of women directly and indirectly affected by the energy & extractives sector. Created in 2011, WEX now counts over 1500 members, from all corners of the world in energy & extractive -related communities, businesses and professions. WEX aims to promote for the rights of women and children and empower them with information and skills that would enhance their personal and communal development through tailored programmes.
VISION & MISSION
Vision - To be the engine that bridges the gender gaps in alternative energy, oil, gas, mining and nuclear sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mission - We mobilize people and resources through tailoring programs to undertake research which studies the impacts of the energy and extractives sector on women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa.
WHAT WE DO
Recognising women as stakeholders in their own space and right not only taps upon their economic potential but further cultivates a favorable environment that results in the reduction of poverty and sustainable development. WEX aims to empower women through advocating for education and knowledge, promoting diversity, investing in the development of skills, fostering relationships and the career advancement of women and creating awareness of the existing and potential social, economic, political and cultural impacts the energy & extractive sector play in the livelihoods of women of all walks of life. Another aspect is to promote the energy & extractive sector as a career choice to women in all professions, through our work with schools and universities and other organisations. We also seek to contribute to the research and business case for the economic advancement of women in the energy & extractive sector.
Women directly affected by exploration in their respective communities
WEX prioritizes women directly affected by exploration in their respective communities because we understand that the impact of energy & extractive operations are not gender neutral.
Women embarking on entry into the industry/ already within the industry
WEX recognizes women with expertise and experience in the energy & extractive fields and understands their needs in a male-dominated sector through facilitation of the WEX Network. An exclusive member only network that allows members free access to news and resources. WEX further recognizes the need to include them in industry dialogue and facilitate opportunities for mentorship through our programme by mentors in their specific- related industry.
Part of WEX's role is to speak for women in the energy & extractive sector, informing industry participants and decision-makers of the challenges and opportunities women are finding in pursuing careers in energy & extractive public/private companies, acquiring the necessary licenses and other related businesses: this entails participating in market meetings and industry bodies and constantly increasing the visibility of our organisation.
Understanding the complexities of the energy & extractive sector, WEX takes into account the effects vary across the board for different women involved as stakeholders at different stages in the sector. Through our systematic approach to empowering women we recognize the needs and wants of different women. Our classification of women within our 4 spheres targets programmes that benefit those women.
Young women/girls in exploration areas and young girls nationally from primary to tertiary education
WEX is actively engaged in our "Kitabu si Taabu" Campaign that encourages young girls around the globe to go to school. With the increase of young women actively engaging in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related subject areas we work closely with secondary school institutions to achieve so. We also have tailored programmes for young girls in extractive & energy impacted communities that have literacy rates among women as low as 3%. WEX understands the importance of sustainable development through education.
Women actively engaged in business in the value chain (artisanal miners, traders etc)
WEX is actively engaged in creating a conducive environment for women engaged in business in the value chain in the energy & extractive industry. WEX aims to advance the entrepreneurial spirit of women by encouraging them to get involved in this lucrative sector. Furthermore we work closely in aiding in the assistance of opportunities and knowledge exchange in the sector.
"In Kenya women are the 1st victims of environmental degradation, because they are the ones who walk for hours looking for water, who fetch firewood, who provide food for their families." - Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai