Solar appliances have the potential to transform lives in off-grid communities around the world. The growing distribution of high value appliances, such as water pumps, refrigerators, fans and TVs, holds a promise of improving the financial, social and environmental ecosystems in many communities. However, introducing such appliances in communities that did not have access to electricity before can also cause harm – inequality, water security, e-waste and more.
- How can we measure and account for such complicated dynamics of multiple impact areas?
- How can decision makers make the right investment, policy and development decisions?
- Is it possible to minimise long term risk and to optimise positive impact?
- How can one measure the impact when there is so little data available?
Answering these tough questions is what Rural Senses set up to do in this project.
Rural Senses partnered with Efficiency for Access, a global coalition to accelerate clean energy access through high-performing appliances, and SVT Group, a leading impact accounting, management and strategy firm.
The purpose of the work was to introduce a new standard for impact assessment in off-grid communities in three main areas: Social, Environmental and Financial.
The project, which lasted over 12 months since April 2020, included:
- Comprehensive desk research and evaluation of over 200 studies.
- Value-based interviews with ~300 rural community members in Uganda and India.
- Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with domain experts (investors, distributors, manufacturers).
- Development of impact indicators and formulae.
- Adaptive strategy for continued development of the framework
- Participatory processes in which stakeholders vetted the framework