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Filming workshops took place in 2020-22.

Through their films, the women shared insights of how the transitional housing environment has impacted their everyday routines and how they are utilising the access to energy. The cycles of participatory filmmaking were followed by workshops, interviews, and acknowledgement of participation (the process in Pickwick House in Cape Town and in Natwar Parekh in Mumbai).

Access to formal housing and electricity grid have led to improvements in welfare and wellbeing, showing the importance of privacy and the development of personal leisure activities. Yet energy access does not necessarily reduce the women’s time spent on household chores: in Mumbai, women still cook 3-4 times per day, every cooking moment taking 1-2 hours, amounting to women putting in 56 hours of (unpaid) work per week.

The films enabled the participants to see their ‘invisible’, unpaid work and to express their aspirations giving us a glimpse of what ‘empowerment’ from the women’s perspective would look like.

The film makers are the research participants themselves, in Pickwick House in Cape Town and in Natwar Parekh in Mumbai.




Cooking practices:

a) Pickwick, Cape Town

FERN room


b) Natwar Parekh, Mumbai





a) Pickwick


b) Natwar Parekh, Mumbai

FERN washing