Energy 4 All? Investigating Gendered Energy Justice Implications of Community-Based Micro-Hydropower Cooperatives in Ethiopia


Wiese, Katharina. 2020. “Energy 4 All? Investigating Gendered Energy Justice Implications of Community-Based Micro-Hydropower Cooperatives in Ethiopia." Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research 33 (2): 194–217.

Author: Katharina Wiese


More than 70% of the population in Ethiopia lack access to electricity and thus rely on conventional sources of energy such as biomass that is associated with negative consequences on health and the environment. Decentralized community-based micro-hydropower plants (MHPs) are being utilized as effective means to transition to modern low-carbon energy systems providing access to electricity to communities in remote areas. However, there exist a knowledge gap regarding energy justice dimensions and gendered impacts related to sustainable energy transitions in the Global South. This research investigates the gendered justice implications of low-carbon energy projects in the case of four community-based micro-hydropower projects in Ethiopia implemented by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ). Although the projects generally achieved positive outcomes for the lives of the villager’s socio-economic impacts on income; productive use, health and education affected men and women differently. The particular energy needs, uses and challenges that women face were insufficiently addressed and hence are limiting the opportunities for women to benefit equally from access to electricity. Generally, procedural justice aspects such as access to information, consultation and participation seemed to be insufficient to create a sense of ownership which in turn can jeopardize the long-term sustainability of the hydropower plants.

Keywords: energy justice, gender, community-based, micro-grid, hydropower, Ethiopia

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Infrastructure, Energy, Justice Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2020

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