An evaluation of the ministry of energy’s communication strategies in energy efficiency, conservation and alternative sources of energy
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As the population of Zambia is growing bigger, so does the demand for energy. Currently, Zambia is dependent on ZESCO as the main producer of electricity for the Zambian people. Despite the government liberalising the energy sector in 1997, very few private players have come on board. ZESCO has had the challenge of satisfying the current demand which stands at 2,750 MW as it is only able to generate 1,200MW. This has been compounded by a lot of factors; the major one being low water levels in dams. The short to medium term solution to this is energy efficiency and conservation. Energy efficiency is achieved through the application of technology, such as insulation upgrades, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), high efficiency furnaces, and so forth. And energy conservation is achieved through behavioural changes, such as turning off lights when not needed, using household appliances differently, carpooling, and so forth. And this can be achieved through communication and understanding the cause. As an Energy driver, the Ministry also has an obligation to not only inform, but to influence behaviour; have programmes that can influence load shapes, energy use characteristics and lead in innovation. The main objective of the research was therefore to evaluate the communication strategies of the Ministry of Energy in order for the organisation to effectively communicate energy saving initiatives and use of alternative sources. The Study was undertaken in Kabwata area of Lusaka using 175 self-administered questionnaires and in-depth interviews from energy experts. The research findings indicated that respondents are aware of the communication strategies the Ministry of Energy uses. However, there was a variation in responses when respondents were asked to determine the effectiveness of the communication strategies used. Majority of the respondents said there was a language barrier for those that were uneducated, and the audience was not properly segmented to design specific messages for specific groups. It is therefore recommended that the Ministry of Energy segments the audiences and prepare different messages for different types of people in different areas. That is by demography; sex, age, language, location and so forth.
The University of Zambia