Productive Uses of Energy
This research focuses on the informal food-processing sector since this is an important sector in which women are heavily involved. More generally, women have much to gain from access to energy including enhanced production in home-based businesses such as food or clothing production and selling. The current research adopts the perspective of the entrepreneurs and their energy choices.
Micro, medium and small enterprises in Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa are studied, and the research included a literature review, questionnaire surveys and in-depth interviews with enterprise owners and employees during the initial scoping phase.
One of the findings of the scoping phase is that, in order to develop findings that are relevant to other subsectors with different energy demands, additional research is needed that adopts an energy planning perspective. It is important to understand the impacts and influence of aspects of the energy supply system, such as payment conditions, power levels and availability, on opportunities for women as entrepreneurs and as employees.
The second phase of the research will incorporate the findings from the scoping phase and involve a larger scale survey combined with interviews. To measure women’s empowerment, this research phase will focus on a range of aspects including the social, economic and psychological dimensions of empowerment.
The extensive network of the research partners will be used to share our findings and hopefully to influence policy and practice through publications, modern media and workshops.
- University of Twente