Indicators for assessment of rural electrification--An approach for the comparison of apples and pears
Despite a large number of rural electrification projects being implemented in developing countries, there are few published in-depth evaluations of the effects of these projects on sustainable development. There is also no generally accepted method for the assessment of such effects that includes all relevant aspects of sustainability. An issue of growing importance is whether rural electrification implemented by private entrepreneurs or other non-governmental organisations contribute more effectively to sustainable development than the conventional approach where rural electrification is the responsibility of a government utility. This paper presents a method for sustainability evaluation based on the use of 39 indicators. The proposed indicators cover the five dimensions of sustainability: technical, economical, social/ethical, environmental and institutional sustainability. The paper presents the indicators and gives a detailed example of the procedure to calculate an indicator based on information that can realistically be collected in field studies. It is suggested that this interdisciplinary approach will lead to an improved basis for evaluation of projects than previous, more limited approaches. Projects promoted on the basis of information only about prioritised dimensions of sustainability, such as environment, may fail as a result of weaknesses in other dimensions. The proposed method may reduce this risk.
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