Original Research

Access to energy sources in the face of climate change: Challenges faced by women in rural communities

Mphemelang J. Ketlhoilwe, Kennedy M. Kanene
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 10, No 1 | a375 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v10i1.375 | © 2018 Mphemelang J. Ketlhoilwe, Kennedy M. Kanene | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 August 2016 | Published: 11 April 2018

About the author(s)

Mphemelang J. Ketlhoilwe, Department of Languages and Social Sciences Education, University of Botswana, Botswana
Kennedy M. Kanene, Department of Languages and Social Sciences Education, University of Botswana, Botswana

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Access to energy is a challenge to rural communities, especially among women who are the prime household energy users. This article is based on research carried out in the Tswapong villages in Botswana where energy sources particularly wood, are slowly getting depleted while electricity connection costs remain unaffordable for the poor. The article provides constructivist analysis of experiences in real-life situations among women. Data were generated through observations, documents analysis, interviews and focus group discussions. It has emerged from the research that majority of the respondents use firewood as energy source. Firewood and gas are mainly used for cooking while electricity is mainly used for lighting. The demand for firewood has led to firewood commercialisation, the depletion of preferred firewood tree species and increase in the impact of climate change. The article recommends economic diversification and subsidies to empower the majority of the rural poor to connect to the national electric grid and reduce on firewood dependence. These could be complemented by harnessing of solar energy and low-cost, energy-saving technologies. Subsidies to enable women access to energy services would contribute immensely to the decade of Sustainable Energy for All and to the attainment of the post 2015 sustainable development goal on energy.


energy services; women; climate change; energy poverty; firewood


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