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/ In-depth interviews allow for more probing questions and more nuanced discussion.

Beyond soundbites and 5-minute pitches

Oversimplification is an ongoing challenge in the bid to ensure everyone gets energy – and indeed in some energy reporting.

Across discussions with diverse energy actors, EnAct has come to understand that developing clean energy technologies is often ‘the easy part’ of deploying solutions. Overcoming regulatory barriers, establishing financing schemes, and understanding social and cultural norms that hamper uptake require enormous time and effort – all of which is more difficult to fund than the production of a cleaner stove or the installation of community-owned solar system.

Our podcast on why the clean cooking sector has been a chronic failure, featuring Priyadarshini Karve and Veena Joshi, is a classic example. While India’s roll-out of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a laudable effort to bring cleaner cooking to 840 mln people, it completely misses on several fronts. Women, who typically collect firewood, cannot lift heavy LPG canisters, which leaves them reliant on husbands to ‘fetch’ the fuel and not spend that portion of the household budget on something else. While gas heat is effective for boiling rice and curries, the staples of southern diets. But every meal in the north revolves around rotis, a flat bread fried over open fires. Switching to gas leaves the roti, which doubles as an eating utensil, tasteless.

EnAct podcasts aim to bring diverse perspectives to the table and serve up fresh, thought-provoking content to our listeners. Check out the menu below to see what’s on offer. If you’d like to hear more, please subscribe or consider making a donation.

Reflections on the right to energy

Access to energy as a basic human right

/ When a state signs a human right treaty, it takes on the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill such rights.

What does it mean for States for to uphold basic human rights? Or, more importantly, what does it mean for the links between the rights of citizens and the responsibilities of government? And which countries are taking progressive action in relation to access to energy?


In this first of four podcasts produced from the ENGAGER COST workshop entitled Co-Creating the Right to Energy from Theory to Practice, Marlies Hesselman, Lecturer at the University of Groningen, helps us probe some key aspects of human rights law in relation to energy access. And takes us on a bit of a ‘world tour’ to find out which governments are implementing effective policy…or not yet hitting the mark. Learn more

A policy framework for the right to energy

/ Upholding the right to energy requires comprehensive and coherent policy, across many dimensions.

While carrying out field work related to energy access in rural China and Tibet, Dr. Chian-Woei Shyu recognised how lack of effective policy played key role in trapping people in energy poverty — in turn limiting their ability to fully participate in society, advance economically and achieve a higher level of health and well-being.


Returning to his role as researcher at the National Chung-Cheng University in Taiwan, Dr. Shyu took up the challenge of adopting a policy maker’s perspective to ask what it would take to implement legislation that truly upheld access to energy as a basic human right. In a literature review, he quickly realised few others had broached this topic so directly. Learn more

Making the case for a right to energy

/ When a hospital in Uganda fell behind on electricity bills, hundreds of patients paid — with their lives.

What happens when a public hospital can’t pay its electricity bill? In Uganda, when the electricity company cut power the Jinja Referral Hospital, a huge number of patients – including new-born infants – quickly died. Human rights lawyer David Kabanda is leading a case to argue that the right to life, which is enshrined in the constitution, must be supported by the right to energy.


“This is a public interest case suing on behalf of all Ugandans, of all people who access public health services,” says Kabanda, Director of the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights. “Because we know that as any private person under the laws of Uganda, you have the obligation to respect human rights.” directly. Learn more

Energy access and the right to a dignified life

/ Human rights law often mentions enabling people to live ‘a dignified life’; how does energy come into play?

Much work on access to energy as a basic human right aims to establish minimum levels of energy supply or find ways to reduce consumption and costs. This podcast shifts discussion to social dimensions of energy deprivation, with in-depth exploration of the concepts of ‘energy justice’ and the ‘capabilities approach’.


“If you look at any charter for human rights or national constitutions, the first paragraph usually talks about enabling people to have ‘a dignified life’ as the basis for the legal frameworks,” says Dr. Katrin Großmann, University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Germany. Learn more

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EnAct is a project of ACT 4, a non-profit association registered in France (No. de Siret: 805 036 936 00013) that supports cultural initiatives that raise awareness of and engagement in social issues.


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