As a Freshman Fellow, I assisted on research with the Illume Lab uncovering the gender, political, and social dimensions of the Kaleo-Lawra Solar Plant in the Upper West region of Ghana. The Upper West is an arid region with little natural resources and a low per capita income. Most citizens work in the agricultural sector, which is lucrative for the scant amount of rainfall. The proposal of the 35-megawatt solar park came as a part of the country’s efforts to reduce "business of usual" greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2030. The project was funded in its entirety by the German government. Energy distribution in both Kaleo and Lawra falls to the Volta River Authority (VRA). This research examines the relationship between gendered livelihoods, renewable development, and climate change vulnerability. Using a mixed-methods approach, I break down raw data from 407 surveys. Also provided is an analysis of oral interviews and photographs from locals affected by the project. Preliminary data has found that farmers were compensated for enclosed land and some women were employed at the parks. Special attention is placed on specific gender impacts, like employment and compensation for lost land, as is the public perception of the plant, economic changes, fulfillment of promises by developers, and the impact on daily life. Geographic research of this caliber is crucial to creating a sustainable world in a socially conscious, responsible, equitable way.

Class Standing



Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Ryan Stock

Faculty Advisor Email