It is important to include a focus on gender, as providing energy gives women roles which then gives them independence, working towards UN Sustainable Development Goals of women’s equality. Ensuring different social groups, such as women, are included in the focus groups ensures diversity and richness of data, contributing to a more inclusive approach to the provision of energy ac cess.

The project engages with women in both Bangladesh and Kenya about their views on energy needs and wants. It also uses focus groups to understand community aspirations.


Studies conducted alongside the project in Kenya identified that while the majority of those interviewed were female, the majority of households were identified as male headed. This suggests that introducing opportunities for women could allow them to develop some degree of independence. The partner of the head of the household was mainly, but not exclusively, the female, with occupations dominated by farming, in addition to being a housewife or security guard.

The roles of women in the two communities were both similar and different. In both communities women were generally considered the secondary household member, with occupations mainly dominated by farming, however in Echareria, women held less traditional occupation types, such as small business owner. SONG is well suited to the energy needs of farming and can help to ease crop management, thus providing users with more time to exploit other leisure and income opportunities.

In focus groups, women particularly indicated the need for community lighting as a security measure. This concludes that providing sustainable energy access contributes to the security of women.


As in Kenya, the majority of households in the two Bangladeshi communities were male headed. Women were, however, quite vocal in their desire to utilise electricity to extend their productive efforts in areas like sewing, studying and cooking, as well as engaging in traditionally male-driven jobs, such as furniture making. Providing a sustainable and affordable source of electricity, therefore, has the potential to not only improve the ability of women to contribute to the household and income generation, but also challenge traditional gender roles and inequalities

Female community member in Kenya with husked grain

Women’s focus group in Kenya

Focus group result: aspirations and service priorities