Powering for climate action through gendered energy access in Myanmar
Myanmar’s population is primarily rural, characterized by agriculture-dominated economies and resource-dependent livelihoods. Approximately 60% of the country’s rural population lacks access to electricity and clean cooking. However, this situation is expected to change with the ongoing implementation of the government’s National Electrification Plan, which aims to electrify all households by 2030 through grid and off-grid infrastructures. Unfortunately, while off-grid renewable energy systems are scaling up, rigorous impact evaluations of the benefits from off-grid electrification in resource-constrained settings are sparse, and gender-differentiated benefits almost non-existent. This is particularly important when considering that rural communities, women and children in particular, are extremely vulnerable to global and regional climate change-related risks. Without such evaluations, the implementation and sustainability of mini-grid systems in rural communities can be impeded.
The project seeks to answer two broad questions: First, does electricity supplied through off/mini-grid renewables benefit households in rural communities? Second, are these benefits equitably distributed across income groups, gender, and ethnicity? The project will conduct a multi-stage diagnosis-design-test framework to measure the impacts of off/mini-grid renewables using an experimental design with treatment and control populations stratified by women-centric initiatives. Researchers will collaborate with in-country implementation agencies in both the public and private sectors and civil society partners.
Expected project outcomes include new knowledge on the relationships between renewable mini-grid access and socio-economic impacts, particularly by gender, ethnicity, and income levels; evidence on how women’s empowerment programs influence final outcomes; options for incentivizing implementation agencies across sectors to influence future implementation of energy programs and policy reforms; capacity building; and a platform for interaction, exchange, and co-creation of knowledge and program implementation strategies among graduate students, academics, and policymakers.