We are delighted to announce that Olufolahan Osunmuyiwa (pictured) has been awarded a three month placement opportunity on defining social and economic ‘indicators of impact’ that can be monitored and analysed before, during and after the introduction of decentralised energy governance, with Community Energy Malawi and the University of Strathclyde. Olu joins the placement after recently submitting her doctoral thesis which focuses on energy transitions, which she undertook at the Institute of Environmental Studies, Amsterdam. The placement is funded by the LCEDN and is based at the CEM headquarters in Lilongwe, Malawi. Olu has written the following blog about her anticipation prior to the start of the placement in January:
My LCEDN placement with Community Energy Malawi (CEM) and the University of Strathclyde involved designing indicators to measure socio-economic impacts of energy in communities presents a great opportunity to follow through on my ambition of community energy research. The literature on energy access in developing countries have focused on the impacts of energy on national development. This I believe creates a bias which is also reflective in the policy language of most INDCs adopted by African countries, where increasing national energy access rates are a key focus. The prevalence of statistics attempting to understand the impact of access on a national scale plays an important role. However, numbers do not truly reflect the nuances of energy access at the local level or the gap between urban and rural access rates. Connecting science and policy in this area is important to understand and measure the socio-economic and political impact of energy interventions in rural communities which represent a major bulk of people without access. This placement will present an opportunity for me to focus on how intervention technologies such as mini-grid and off-grid systems reconstruct socio-political hierarchies and structures at the community level. More importantly, it is an avenue to provide measurable, quantifiable and verifiable data on the socio-economic impacts of energy which will in-turn inform future energy investments and policy preferences. I look forward to working with the University of Strathclyde and CEM to design indicators to measure the socio-economic impacts of grid and off-grid technologies in rural communities in Malawi. I am excited to contribute to this growing body of research and positive that it would be a remarkable experience.