Energy affects nearly all aspects of social and economic development: economic growth, education, gender equality, health and the environment. Since its beginning, EnDev conducted several baseline and impact studies throughout the project countries. Here are some results.
Living Conditions within Households
- Access to modern energy saves time and money in households. The savings cover immediate needs such as food, school materials, medicine, clothes, soap etc. The additional time is often used for farming, income-generating activities, education or housework.
- Disseminating improved cookstoves has reduced fuel consumption in the households by an average of 40 - 80%. This saves time from not having to collect firewood or saves money from not having to buy fuel. Since women and children are mostly responsible for this task, they benefit in particular.
People’s Health Situation
- On the health side, improved cookstoves emit less smoke compared to traditional 3-stone-fires, therefore indoor air pollution and exposure is reduced, whilst safety and hygiene in kitchens have improved as well.
- There is a higher consciousness amongst EnDev beneficiaries about health related effects; including safety and hygiene in the kitchen, which has improved and is a key benefit for the households.
Productive Use of Energy
- Energy access improves production. For example, micro hydro power schemes are used for running rice mills. The residents can process their yields for a small fee which is retained by the operator and used to pay operating costs and employees. Restaurant owners use improved cookstoves which save them time and money.
- Modern energy provision can increase the income of individuals, households and villages and thus strengthens local economies.
Education and Knowledge Creation
- Energy access for social institutions benefits all areas of society. For example a radio station can now broadcast information to farmers on a daily basis, improving their information and knowledge. Energy access helps improve food production and hygiene in public and social infrastructures such as schools and prisons. Schools for example are supplied with hot water for washing, showering and bathing thanks to thermal solar systems. Providing electricity to schools has enabled teachers to use overhead projectors, computers, televisions, and audio and video cassette recorders, thus enhancing the quality of the education system.
- Average study times of school children have increased slightly after the electrification of households. However, the question of differences in study times between boys and girls has been divergent: while there is no difference between the genders in some countries, a higher average study time of girls could be observed in other countries.
- In Benin, Bolivia, Burundi, Ethiopia, Mali and Peru, powering health centres using grid-connections or solar energy systems greatly improves the quality of medical treatment. Benefits include vaccine refrigeration, improved lighting for treatment and operation rooms, and better availability of hot water to sterilise instruments. In some countries, women appreciate and seek the health centres more often especially for night service for deliveries and for extended laboratory service.
- Economic development between the genders is still spread unequally: there is a clear division of labour and responsibilities with men working more in wage work and formal employment and women taking care of the household. However, after gaining access to electricity, income generating activities within the household are mainly commenced by women.
- The responsibility of (additional) income shows to have beneficial impacts on women as they do not only manage the income themselves but it also leads to a better status of the women within their families and the community.