A Holistic Approach To Community Development: Bringing Water, Sanitation, Heat and Light to Rural Villages in Nepal

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This article by Alex Zahnd was first published in World Rivers Review in February 2005. He writes about a program that utilizes local renewable energy resources in more affordable, sustainable and appropriate ways.

“There is a clear relationship between poverty and access to electricity. The more remote the community, the greater its poverty level, and the higher the costs for electrification and other development projects. Approximately 85% of Nepal’s 26.5 million people live in the rural areas and about half of these live in such remote areas that neither a road nor the national electricity grid will reach them for decades to come.”

In each home in the project villages, a smokeless metal stove, a pit latrine and lights are installed. One village has a centrally located 300-watt solar PV system for lighting 63 homes. A second village has a 1-kilowatt micro hydropower plant that powers lighting for its sixty homes. The goal of the program is to meet the electricity and water needs ot the villagers and to improve their lives.