East Africa

Socially Inclusive Renewable Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Social Shaping of Technology Analysis of Appliance Uptake in Rwanda


Muza, O., and R. Debnath. 2020. “Socially Inclusive Renewable Energy Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Social Shaping of Technology Analysis of Appliance Uptake in Rwanda.” Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, University of Cambridge, London.

Authors: O. Muza, R. Debnath


Rural off-grid renewable energy solutions often fail due to uncertainties in household energy demand, insufficient community engagement, inappropriate financial models, policy inconsistency and lack of political will. Social shaping of technology (SST) of specific household electric appliances provides a critical lens of understanding the involved sociotechnical drivers behind these constraints. This study employs an SST lens to investigate appliance uptake drivers in Rwanda using the EICV5 micro dataset, such that these drivers can aid in policy design of a socially inclusive renewable energy transition. The methodology includes a systemic and epistemological review of current literature on the drivers of appliance uptake in the Global South. These drivers were then analysed using binary logistic regression on 14,580 households. Results show that appliance uptake is highly gendered and urban-centric in Rwanda. The type of appliance determines its diffusion across the welfare categories, commonly referred as to Ubudehe categories. Regression results show that mobile phones, radios and TV-sets have a higher likelihood of ownership than welfare appliances (refrigerator and laundry machine) by low-income households. There is also a high likelihood of uptake of power stabilisers in urban-higher income households, indicating poor power quality and distributive injustices. Policy implications were drawn using the lens of disruptive innovation.

Keywords: energy transition, off-grid system, Sub-Saharan Africa, social shaping of technology, gender, disruptive innovation

Topics: Gender, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2020

Engaging with Gender and Other Social Inequalities in Renewable Energy Projects


Baruah, Bipasha, and Mini Govindan. 2015. “Engaging with Gender and Other Social Inequalities in Renewable Energy Projects.” In Sustainable Access to Energy in the Global South: Essential Technologies and Implementation Approaches, edited by Silvia Hostettler, Ashok Gadgil, and Eileen Hazboun, 189-92. Cham: Springer.

Authors: Bipasha Baruah, Mini Govindan


The scholarship and discourse on climate change has been dominated by natural scientists. Social scientists have only recently become involved in the debate, while natural scientists have been researching the topic for much longer. Consequently, the mainstream discourse on climate change continues to be about large-scale economic instruments and complex computer models. More recently, social scientists have pointed out the limitations of techno-centric approaches and put forward alternative frameworks such as sustainable development, climate justice, human rights, and environmental ethics for conceptualizing and operationalizing the sociocultural dimensions of climate change. They have also explored and documented some of the positive and negative consequences of adopting “green” technologies to respond to the climate crisis. However, issues related to gender equity have remained under-studied even in the work of social scientists. This chapter and the three chapters that follow (Chaps.  17– 19) are a modest contribution toward addressing this knowledge gap through empirical research conducted in Peru, South Sudan, and Nigeria to understand the gendered implications and outcomes of the development and expansion of renewable energy technologies. We hope that this research will highlight the need to engage more critically and proactively with gender and other social inequalities while designing and disseminating such technologies.

Keywords: social inequality, gender equity, green economy, climate justice, gender inequity

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Americas, South America Countries: Nigeria, Peru, South Sudan

Year: 2015

Women's Land Rights and Maternal Healthcare in Southwestern Uganda: Exploring the Implications of Women's Decision-Making Regarding Sale and Use of Land on Access to Maternal Healthcare


Nyakato, Viola N., Charles Rwabukwali, and Susan Kools. 2020. "Women's Land Rights and Maternal Healthcare in Southwestern Uganda: Exploring the Implications of Women's Decision-Making Regarding Sale and Use of Land on Access to Maternal Healthcare." African Journal of Reproductive Health 24 (1): 62-80.

Authors: Viola N. Nyakato, Charles Rwabukwali, Susan Kools


Most traditional land tenure practices among developing economies are opposed to protecting and promoting women’s land ownership rights. In Uganda, land tenure practices are largely customary and patriarchal in nature, in most communities women’s land tenure security is dependent on marriage. This paper builds a body of evidence on how gender biased land tenure negatively affects maternal healthcare decision-making for family planning, antenatal care services and skilled care during childbirth. A cross-sectional mixed methodology was used to collect household survey data. Qualitative data from individual and focus group interviews were analysed using thematic content analysis. Land was found to be an important household factor that shapes women’s maternal healthcare decision-making, not only through land ownership, but also through lands role as a source of identity, gendered land use decision-making patterns, and the allocation of resources that accrue from work on land. Most of the land-owning households are headed by men. More women than men expressed insecurity of tenure, despite the households’ land ownership status. Land use decision-making, including its sale was significantly associated with maternal healthcare decision-making. Feeling secure on land was significantly associated with maternal healthcare decisions for planned pregnancy and use of antenatal care. Land purchasing was found to significantly determine place and skill level of providers for childbirth. In conclusion, women involvement in land purchasing decisions demonstrates more control and agency in the number of children. Women’s land insecurity undermines their prospects for positive maternal health behaviours.
La plupart des pratiques foncieres traditionnelles dans les economies en développement sont opposées å la protection et å la promotion des droits de propriété fonciere des femmes. En Ouganda, les pratiques foncieres sont en grande partie coutumieres et de nature patriarcale ; dans la plupart des communautés, la sécurité fonciere des femmes dépend du mariage. Cet article établit un ensemble de preuves sur la façon dont le régime foncier sexiste affecte négativement la prise de décision en matiere de soins de santé maternels pour la planification familiale, les services de soins prénatals et les soins spécialisés pendant l'accouchement. Une méthodologie mixte transversale a été utilisée pour collecter les données des enquetes aupres des ménages. Les données qualitatives issues d'entretiens individuels et de groupes de discussion ont été analysées å l'aide d'une analyse de contenu thématique. La terre s'est avérée etre un facteur important pour les ménages qui façonne la prise de décision des femmes en matiere de soins de santé maternelle, non seulement par la propriété fonciere, mais aussi par le rôle de la terre en tant que source d'identité, les modeles de prise de décision en matiere d'utilisation des terres selon le sexe et l'allocation des ressources qui découlent du travail å terre. La plupart des ménages propriétaires fonciers sont dirigés par des hommes. Plus de femmes que dhommes ont exprimé leur insécurité doccupation, malgré le statut de propriété fonciere du ménage. La prise de décision concernant l'utilisation des terres, y compris sa vente, était significativement associée å la prise de décisions en matiere de soins de santé maternelle. Le sentiment de sécurité å terre était significativement associé aux décisions de soins de santé maternels concernant une grossesse planifiée et l'utilisation des soins prénatals. L'achat de terres a permis de déterminer de maniere significative le lieu et le niveau de compétence des prestataires pour l'accouchement. En conclusion, l'implication des femmes dans les décisions d'achat de terres démontre plus de contróle et d'agence sur le nombre d'enfants. Linsécurité fonciere des femmes compromet leurs perspectives de comportements positifs en matiere de santé maternelle.

Keywords: land ownership, decision-making, gender, maternal healthcare, Uganda

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Hierarchies, Patriarchy, Health, Reproductive Health, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2020

Gender Differences in the Relationship between Land Ownership and Managerial Rights: Implications for Intrahousehold Farm Labor Allocation


Kang, Munsu, Benjamin Schwab, and Jisang Yu. 2020. “Gender Differences in the Relationship between Land Ownership and Managerial Rights: Implications for Intrahousehold Farm Labor Allocation”. World Development 125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104669.

Authors: Munsu Kang, Benjamin Schwab, Jisang Yu


Recent research has increased interest in the intersection of land tenure and gender roles in African agriculture. While formalization of land ownership has been found to have important gender impacts, time use and management remain critical to both the productivity of agricultural operations as well as the welfare of household members. Thus, it is important to understand how gender intersects with the relationship between the ownership and operation of plots. We use plot level data from nationally representative household surveys in Ethiopia and Malawi to characterize the structure (sole male; sole female; or joint) and domain (plot ownership; plot management; or output management) of control over land in each household. We then answer the following research questions: 1) are there any gender gaps in the degrees of the concordance among different domains of controls? and 2) how does the structure of ownership and managerial rights affect labor allocations on plots? We find that for both males and females, sole managerial rights are most likely to occur in plots owned exclusively by either gender. However, on jointly owned plots, instances of sole planting rights are almost exclusively male. We also find that while females supply more of their own labor to plots they control, the pattern of own-gender bias in labor allocation varies with each structure-domain combination. The heterogeneity suggests gender inequality analyses related to land rights are sensitive to the choice of domain of control. 

Keywords: land rights, gender equality, farm labor, LSMS, Ethiopia, Malawi

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Hierarchies, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Ethiopia, Malawi

Year: 2020

The Case for Women's Rights to Land in Tanzania: Some Observations in the Context of AIDS


Manji, Ambreena S. 1996. “The Case for Women's Rights to Land in Tanzania: Some Observations in the Context of AIDS.” UTAFITI 3 (2): 11-38.  

Author: Ambreena S. Manji


“In the last two decades, the issue of women's independent rights to land has come to be debated both internationally and in the Tanzanian context. Two decades ago, it is arguable that the issue was barely admissible in the discourse over public policy. The dominant conception of women and land was one which subsumed the interests of women under that of men, and assumed a congruence of interest between members of the family such that men's access to land was thought to also guarantee that of women. With the completion of a number of studies in the intervening twenty years, this assumption has been challenged, and the question of women's rights to land has come to be investigated in its own right. The extent to which the debate has shifted in Tanzania was demonstrated by the International Women's Day celebrations in 1977 where the issue of women and land took a central place. This paper attempts to make the case for women's rights to land, and delineate what is meant by such rights.These arguments are made in the context of, the AIDS epidemic, and I will draw on my observations and conversations with women in the Muleba district of Kagera and my investigation of cases involving land disputes in the Courts,2 to demonstrate the important connections between women's experiences of AIDS and their ability to own, control or manage land. However, it is clear from my research in Kagera that women are faced with disputes and struggles over land in varied and numerous contexts. Therefore, whilst the AIDS epidemic brings into sharp focus the issue of women's rights to land, it is important to remember that even if we were not faced with an epidemic of such proportions and characteristics, the issue of women and land is pressing and is deserves attention. The AIDS epidemic, as I argue below, serves to remind us of the urgency of the issue.” (Manji 1996, 11).

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Health, HIV/AIDS, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 1996

Less than Second-Class: Women in Rural Settlement Schemes in Tanzania


Brain, James L. 1976. “Less than Second-Class: Women in Rural Settlement Schemes in Tanzania.” In Women in Africa: Studies in Social and Economic Change, edited by Nancy J. Hafkin and Edna G Bay. 265–82. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Author: James L. Brain

Topics: Gender, Women, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 1976

Local Institutions and Smallholder Women’s Access to Land Resources in Semi-Arid Kenya


Po, June Y. T., and Gordon M. Hickey. 2018. “Local Institutions and Smallholder Women’s Access to Land Resources in Semi-Arid Kenya.” Land Use Policy 76: 252–63.

Authors: June Y. T. Po, Gordon M. Hickey


Land is a critical resource in smallholder farming systems, access to which is guided by complex interpretations of local norms, customary values, and statutory laws. This study explores how smallholder women access land resources under local institutions in semi-arid Kenya following a major constitutional reform on land succession passed in 2010. We draw on social relations approach, access theory, and social-ecological resilience thinking to examine Kamba women’s access to land resources using qualitative data collected through in-depth key informant interviews (n = 77), twelve focus group discussions (n = 134), and eight community meetings (n = 363). Results show that although some women were aware of their rights to inherit and own land, Kamba women were generally reluctant to claim land resources through local customary institutions and/or land registration processes. This stemmed from a desire to maintain gender dynamics within the household and to maintain their current relational access to land and other livelihood resources. Women, as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, divorcée and widows, were found to face vastly different pressures in land resource access. They reported using relational access mechanisms to cope with, and adapt to, land resource constraints. When combined with rights-based mechanisms of access, women could better secure future generations’ land resource access, especially in cases of skipped-generational households.

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Households, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2018

Joint Land Certification Programmes and Women’s Empowerment: Evidence from Ethiopia


Melesse, Mequanint B., Adane Dabissa, and Erwin Bulte. 2018. “Joint Land Certification Programmes and Women’s Empowerment: Evidence from Ethiopia.” The Journal of Development Studies 54 (10): 1756–74.

Authors: Mequanint B. Melesse, Adane Dabissa, Erwin Bulte


This paper connects two important development policy issues: women’s empowerment and land certification. We use propensity score matching to study the impact of the Ethiopian joint land registration and certification programme on women’s empowerment. Data are collected using surveys and a field experiment, enabling construction of complementary indices for empowerment. Our main result is that joint land certification has significant effects on women’s empowerment, particularly on dimensions that indicate female participation and roles outside the home. This result is robust to various sensitivity checks and alternative model specifications.

Topics: Gender, Women, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2018

Gender Roles and Practices in Natural Resource Management Among the Kilosa Maasai in Tanzania


Massoi, Lucy W. 2019. “Gender Roles and Practices in Natural Resource Management Among the Kilosa Maasai in Tanzania.” Tanzania Journal of Development Studies 17 (1): 102-16.

Author: Lucy W. Massoi


This article empirically describes gender roles and practices in natural resource management among the pastoral Maasai society of Kilosa, Tanzania. Through a qualitative approach, a descriptive case study design was adopted to collect and analyse data using content analysis. Results show that gender roles and practice in land management is gender differentiated. There is a strong patriarchal system in Maasai societies that govern access to, and use of, land. Women have limited access/ownership to land and have to seek permission from men to use land. In this regard, the hardest hit are women who use land without having independent access or muscles for negotiating due to existing norms and values that license their exclusion. The article argues that unless customary practices are addressed, women issues will remain unchanged given the presence of a male-centred customary practice built on strong patriarchal system that side-lines women in land management.

Keywords: gender, gender roles, natural resource management, pastoral Maasai women

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2019

Gender, Politics and Sugarcane Commercialisation in Tanzania


Sulle, Emmanuel, and Helen Dancer. 2019. “Gender, Politics and Sugarcane Commercialisation in Tanzania.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 47 (5): 1-20.

Authors: Emmanuel Sulle, Helen Dancer


This article explores relationships between state, corporate capital and local stakeholders in the political economy of sugarcane from a gender perspective. The findings, based on empirical research at the site of Tanzania’s largest sugarcane producer pre- and post privatisation, provide insights into the degree to which the estate out grower model can be regarded as ‘inclusive’ for women and men. Three aspects of commercial sugarcane production are analysed: land tenure, labour and leadership within canegrowers’ associations. We argue that politico-economic changes in the sector post-privatisation have increased gender differentiation in sugarcane production and consolidated power in the hands of local elites.

Keywords: agricultural commercialisation, gender, outgrowing, political economy, Tanzania, sugar

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Gender, Men, Women, Land Tenure, Privatization Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Tanzania

Year: 2019


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