Renewable Energy and Gendered Livelihoods in Low-income Communities in Accra, Ghana

PhD student: Tracy Sidney Commodore

Tutor: Prof. George Owusu

University of Ghana


The urban environment is likely to affect livelihoods at every point in time. Hence, adequate access to resources is central for achieving sustainable development in cities. Energy resource, a topical issue globally, is crucial in developing sustainable livelihoods as well as improving the environment. It plays a critical role in poverty reduction due to the patterns involved in energy generation, distribution and utilization. This directly affects opportunities for income generation for both men and women, environmental protection as well as national development. In addition, cities and economies in Africa in general are exposed to high levels of resource depletion and climate change effects. Therefore, it is imperative for African cities to focus on appropriate infrastructure choices which are “better informed on the material reality of slums and how they contribute to the metabolism of the city” (Smit et al., 2017). Since energy is an essential engine for growth in cities, it is worth collecting empirical evidence on emerging issues related to renewable energy and livelihood strategies of men and women in low income communities in Accra, a rapidly growing city with an increasing incidence of informal settlements. The main objective of this study is to assess the gender dimensions on the use of renewable energy resources among residents in low-income communities. The sub-objectives are as follows:

  1. To examine the institutional and policy framework on renewable energy in Ghanaian cities.
  2. To explore the gendered perceptions on usage of renewable energy resources among residents in low-income communities.
  3. To examine livelihoods of men and women which are dependent on renewable energy resources.
  4. To evaluate the gender dynamics in accessing renewable energy resources and their coping strategies.


This study will be premised on the livelihood, vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity concepts. A mixed-methods research strategy will be used to address the research questions.