IAS Open Programme Fellow Dr Ellen Fungisai Chipango delivers a seminar on her research -
While energy technologies are considered game changers for women’s livelihood and empowerment, there is little understanding of vulnerabilities that can leave women in a worse-off position despite having access to technology. With a view to debunking techno-utopianism, Dr Chipango draws on feminist political ecology to argue that addressing structural factors such as the market, socio-cultural as well as political-economic challenges and institutions needs to be the starting point.
Drawing on empirical qualitative research in Zimbabwe, Dr Chipango illustrates that energy poverty is more than a technological problem. She extends the argumentation through Ubuntu, an African ethic, to argue that energy poverty is an ethical struggle of freedom to relate communally and obligation to provide access to energy. Policy implications include the need to transcend individualist development, agency and accountability of actors and transformation of the society that goes beyond provision of energy technologies to one that guarantees redistribution for collective prosperity.
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