Electricity is an enabler of social and economic development. So many activities and opportunities are created when people gain access to electricity. MEGA targets and measures four main impact areas:
Livelihoods and Economic development
Access to electricity creates new livelihood opportunities and catalyses the local economy. Entrepreneurs are able to offer new and improved products and services to members of the community.
32 businesses had set up in Bondo and were using electricity within four months of MEGA providing supply. This included barber shops, phone and battery charging, CD-burning, and cold drinks stores. Entrepreneurs are also making plans for a maize mill, welding and machine shop, carpentry, bakers and hair salon.
Poverty and wellbeing
Modern lighting and mobile phone charging is the primary electricity use of most households. Radios, TVs, fridges and cookers are aspirational products for higher income families.
Battery-powered torches, kerosene lamps and candles are the main lighting technologies for people without electricity in their homes. These are expensive, provide weak light, and give off harmful fumes.
Access to grid electricity has a material impact on people’s wellbeing - extending family time and social hours. It is common to hear people say that Bondo village has now become a town.
Diversifying livelihoods away from agriculture, coupled with improved watershed management, will reduce the community’s vulnerability to climate change.
Light in the home extends child study hours and provides brighter light for reading.
The village primary and secondary school have lights in every classroom and electric fans to improve the learning environment during the hot months. The secondary school is planning a computer and science lab.
The schools offer evening classes for students to do homework and for adult learning classes. The head teacher of the primary school reported a material improvement in grades after just one term with electricity.
Teachers’ houses have electricity, giving them more time to do out-of-classroom work. It is easier to attract staff to an area with electricity.
Modern lighting in the home can have direct health benefits – displacing children studying us kerosene lamps and inhaling toxic fumes and damaging their eyesight.
The village health clinic is able to offer new and improved services. The clinic is fitted with lights and has a vaccine refrigerator and sterilizer – more medical equipment will be deployed for maternal and neonatal care. Prior to the electricity supply, expectant mothers brought candles to the clinic in case the birth was at night.