Placing community awareness campaigns at the core of rural electrification projects can increase connections by 50%, reduce the cost per connection by 24%, and significantly improve the overall economics of the projects. This preliminary conclusion emerged as a result of a Community-Based Energy Education Programme led by INTREX Energy Group SA..and its strategic partnership with Open Energy Labs in Zambia.
As part of its long-term economic plan, the South African Government is scaling up energy access to reduce poverty and boost economic opportunities. It aims to electrify all Rural villages by 2021 at a rate of 2,000 villages per year, through its ….. Rural Electrification Expansion Programme run by the Rural Energy Agency (REA). The percentage of people with access to electricity has increased from 14.2% in 2011 to 32.8% in 2017 (latest data available). This upward trend is encouraging but lower than expected because of cultural barriers and a lack of understanding of the benefits and practicalities of connecting to electricity.
To equip communities with the information they need to make informed decisions on applying for electricity connections, the World Bank and the REA enlisted Energy 4 Impact to develop a community-based energy education programme.