The last time we spoke, you were at the planning stage of your data collection in Ghana. Can you state again, what it is you are trying to find out with your research?
As explained in our last interview, work package 1.1 deals with the political economy of sustainable energy transition in the Ghana Health and Energy sectors. Specifically, we seek to the analyse the factors that influence institutional or policy change towards clean energy transitions in Ghana with specific emphasis on solar PVs.
How is your data collection proceeding?
So far, the first round of data collection has been concluded. After experiencing some difficulties during the initial stages due in part to the global Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to successfully conduct 19 qualitative interviews with key stakeholders at the national level in Ghana. The categories or groups of stakeholders interviewed included the following: Health and energy policy makers, sector regulators, donor institutions and international agents, NGOs and civil society groups within the health and energy space, and finally independent experts. A follow up or mopping up round for a few stakeholders interviewed is planned for June 2022.
What kind of difficulties did you run into when planning and conducting the interviews?
Firstly, the timing for the first round of data collection unfortunately coincided with the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, we were unable to travel to Ghana as planned to conduct the interviews in person. Secondly, given that most institutions were not fully opened especially in the immediate days after the lockdown period and shift to working from home, it was very difficult in establishing contact with potential stakeholders to schedule interviews. Finally, it also appears that there is some sort of “interview fatigue” especially amongst national level stakeholders in Ghana. Although they tend to find the topic very interesting, it generally takes a while before an interview is scheduled and conducted. But I guess this is not unique to the EnerSHelF project. Of late, most projects that require national level interviews in Ghana tend to face similar challenges.
Did the Covid-19 pandemic influence your research?
I would say that Covid-19rather affected than influenced the research given that the project had been planned and interviews guides finalised before the onset of the pandemic. However, given that we seek to understand how solar PVs may contribute to stable and reliable energy supply for health facilities in Ghana, I am quite sure that the pandemic could or may have influenced the interest of stakeholders in the project. The pandemic certainly further exposed and amplified the inadequacies of local health systems most especially the energy needs of health facilities in Ghana.
How will you proceed, now that you collected a large share of your aimed data?
Now, all the interviews conducted have been transcribed and preliminary qualitative data analysis conducted. The data is however continually being scrutinized for relevant themes that answer the research questions that we are interested in. A publication of the results in an academic journal is expected in the last quarter of 2022.
EnerSHelF will end in December 2022. Are you confident that you manage to reach the goals of your work package?
Well, so far, we seem to be back on track. And therefore, barring an unforeseen development, I am quite confident that we can deliver the major outputs for work package 1.1. I am very hopeful.
Callistus Agbaam is a Research Fellow at the International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE), Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Sankt Augustin. He holds a PhD in International Development at Ruhr University Bochum. He also holds two masters degrees: M.A. in Development Studies from University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa and M.A. in Development Management from the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. His research interest includes social protection, poverty and health equity, gender, political economy, sustainability and inclusive development.