Grant funds York-led household energy insecurity study

Bogota, Colombia historic centre

Godfred Boateng, an assistant professor in York University’s School of Global Health and Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Humanitarianism, has been awarded a grant by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development for a two-year project on household energy insecurity in Colombia.

Godfred Boateng
Godfred Boateng

Valued at $136,899, the grant will support the implementation of Boateng’s Household Energy Insecurity, Health and Sustainable Livelihoods in Colombia (HEINS) project – co-led by Diego Iván Lucumí Cuesta from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia – between March 2024 and February 2026.

The HEINS study is a continuation of Boateng’s leading work in comprehensively measuring and understanding resource insecurity across the Global South, undertaken at the Global & Environmental Health Lab at York’s Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research as part of his mandate as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair.

In deciding to study this topic, the York professor observed that measurement of energy insecurity has historically been limited to the macro level – representing a country or region – and has not been widely extended to the household level, particularly outside the Global North. He also noticed there has been little assessment of the relationship between household energy insecurity and health outcomes among women and children in the Global South. As a result, it is difficult to determine how inadequate access to clean and safe energy sources impacts women and children differently in the household. It also becomes difficult to propose strategies to ensure clean energy transitions that effectively target the needs of that demographic.  

Boateng’s HEINS project, which will be conducted in three municipalities in the Choco province of Colombia, will address these issues. It will use a mixed-methods approach to find out whether or not household energy insecurity uniquely impacts disease, socioeconomic and psychosocial outcomes. The project will also produce and validate a scale – one of the first of its kind in Latin America – that can be used to comprehensively assess the impact of household energy insecurity on women, infants and children.

“With this grant, my team and I will advance current scholarship on the adverse effects of household energy insecurity in Latin America,” said Boateng. “It will produce a novel instrument for identifying energy insecurity hotspots, which will serve as recruiting points for a longitudinal study that examines the effect of energy insecurity and indoor air pollution from conception through the first two years of life.”

Ultimately, the goal of the project is to generate scientific evidence to develop sound, scalable technologies and strategies to ensure equitable clean energy transitions across the Global South. Through this study, Boateng and the Global & Environmental Health Lab, in partnership with Lucumí Cuesta, will advance research that promotes equitable access, good health, human development and environmental sustainability.