Gender-responsive energy cooperatives in rural Georgia

With the aim to include women and men in sustainable business activities and provide access to affordable locally produced renewable energy in rural Georgia, this inspiring project shows the importance of gender-responsive energy cooperatives and how it has helped empower communities in rural Georgia.

An initiative of WECF Women Engage for a Common Future

Overview of the project

WECF (Women Engage for a Common Future) have developed gender-responsive energy cooperatives in Georgia as a sustainable, inclusive and successful business model, ensuring affordable provision of clean, renewable energy.

Local cooperatives offer technical and financial advice, together with production, installation and dissemination of sustainable climate technologies (solar water heaters, efficient cookstoves ).

An Umbrella cooperative, Heliotech, coordinates the work of the local units, guarantees product quality and is responsible for national marketing and sales.

An adapted financial mechanism, set-up with 2 Georgian banks, enables poor rural women led households to access these technologies through affordable loans.

Households with very low income have gained access to financing for sustainable  technologies, which are paid back within 4-6 years.

Thus the local demand for solar solutions is high.

This model can be replicated in other countries.


The gender-responsive energy cooperatives aim to include women and men in sustainable business activities and provide access to affordable locally produced renewable energy in rural Georgia.

Level of progress


Project timeline

January 2016 - today

Quantitative results
  • 800 sustainable energy solutions (Solar Water Heaters, Energy Efficient Stoves, Solar Dryers) installed in the pilot phase;
  • 116 energy ambassadors trained in 8 regions throughout Georgia ;
  • 2 contracts with banks for leasing with beneficiary households ;
  • Sustainable rural energy measure is integrated in the climate policy and the NDC of Georgia
  • 1 ton of CO2eq emissions reduced for each SWH and 2.6 tCO2eq for each stove replacing firewood, which is commonly used in Georgia
Qualitative results
  • Public awareness on the importance of energy efficient and solar solutions increased ;
  • Accessible, affordable solutions save money, time, and improve hygiene, comfort and indoor air quality while protecting the climate and forests for households and SMEs.
  • Extended promotion of local economy through the high trust-level in locally produced solar solutions 

The pilot phase (2010 – 2015) was financed through a grant from the EU and other donors.
The creation of cooperatives was financed by different private foundations.
The local cooperatives’ capital is raised from members shares acquired by local citizens.
The umbrella cooperative’s shares are acquired by international members.

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About the

WECF Women Engage for a Common Future

Nino Margvelashvili
Business Development Manager
(+995) 593 220173

Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) is a nonprofit network dedicated to a gender just and healthy planet for all.

This international network consists of over 150 women’s and civil society organisations implementing projects in 50 countries.

WECF works on transformative gender equality and women’s human rights in interconnection with climate justice, sustainable energy & chemicals, less toxic waste, safe water & sanitation .

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A project
in collaboration
  • Clean Energy - Umbrella Cooperative. Commercial name : HelioTech – Sun Technologies

    Energy cooperative

Other partners / supporters


Charte Mze


Ivandidi, Khoni, Georgia /


Green Energy

Chardakhi, Mtskheta, Georgia /


Greens Movement of Georgia / Friends of the Earth – Georgia ; Rural Communities Development Agency (RCDA) ; Ecological Farmers Association (SEMA).

Gained partners : Crystal Bank ; Credo Bank.