Effect of Energy Initiatives on Gender Equity: An Assessment of Households in Homa Bay County, Kenya
Access to Energy plays an important role in sustainable development, preventing climate change and poverty alleviation. Women are forced to devote considerable effort and time gathering fuel, water and fodder, often culminating in lost opportunities for education, employment and self-improvement. Moreover, cooking with biomass as on open fires has exposed women to indoor air pollution leading to respiratory illnesses. The main aim of this study was to assess the effect of energy initiatives on gender equity in relation to standard of living and livelihood improvement. The study adopted Ex post facto research design where probability sampling strategy was employed to select a sample from the households and purposive sampling to choose people to participate in focus group discussions. The accessible population comprised of 389 household representatives and 4 focus group discussions. The instruments for data collection included structured questionnaire for households’ interview schedules for participants in focus group discussion, and observation guide. Quantitative data analysis employed descriptive data analysis techniques while qualitative data analysis employed thematic approach. The study found that Women experienced tedious and physically exhausting cooking sessions and gathering of biomass fuels. Key family-related decisions are also male dominated. The study concluded that gender equity could be accomplished through interventions which free women’s time to efficiently increase their capabilities to take part in productive activities.
Key words: Gender, Energy Access, Livelihood, Energy Initiative and Gender Equity