Proceedings of The Global Conference on Women’s Studies
Feasibility of Off-Grid Solar Energy Enabling Sustainable Development of Women in Rural Kenya
This paper examines the attempts of the government of Kenya and international development agenda to achieve the objective of providing energy access for all and facilitate empowerment and poverty reduction to the rural areas within the framework of sustainable development goals. Energy has been recognised as the key enabler of economic and social development, however, the efforts to bring energy access to women within the rural communities are falling short. The policy tools and economic instruments prescribed to address energy deficiency are not designed according to the local socio-economic conditions, which will be examined through empirical evidence produced from an energy access project in Kenya. Thereby, allowing the critical exploration of linkages between gender, energy and poverty reduction within the development framework. The remote locations are cumbersome and the solutions prescribed by the international stakeholders are proving insufficient in the spreading of energy access to women, setting the ambitions of achieving long-term sustainable development at risk. Achieving energy access has positively impacted rural areas, but more should be done in providing a sufficient quantity of energy to enable women in rural communities to empower their own economic and social development trajectories, as providing small-scale energy access levels in isolation might not adequately serve these objectives.
Keywords: Energy access, gender, socio-economic development.