|Boiling Point No. 44 - Linking Household Energy with other Development Objectives (ITDG - ITDG, 2000, 44 p.)|
by Agnes Klingshirn c/o Household Energy Programme (HEP) Postfach 5180, 65726 Eschborn, Germany
The theme for this issue has been under discussion for some time among development organisations involved in household energy interventions. Energy is a cross-sectoral issue which can usefully be integrated into almost any kind of development programme and produce synergy effects. However, as noted in the article by Clive Cafall, 'participatory appraisals with communities do not explicitly identify energy as a need" and 'it is rarely seen as relevant to the objectives of these other departments and disciplines'. The purposes of this issue are:
· to point out some of the potential advantages of such integration;
· describe the breadth of the areas of intervention;
· to encourage integrated development approaches.
While early efforts concentrated more on the economic benefits of energy efficient technologies, in recent years health and environmental benefits have become more prominent. The study by Bruce points out different types of interventions to reduce smoke exposure, focuses on immediate research needs, and ends with a proposal for action through coordinated demonstration projects. Since there are a number of ongoing projects in developing countries which have energy conservation components, it would bring practical intervention-oriented research forward a large step, if these projects could include some of the suggested research topics.
The second study argues that the prevalence rate of active tuberculosis could be reduced by half if biomass fuels could be substituted by cleaner cooking fuels. However, since these are not affordable by a large proportion of the population, low-emission, energy-efficient cookstoves should be promoted. In the meantime, more research activities should be carried out to validate present health-related findings.
There are three articles on the inter-linkages between household energy and the environment. One is looking more at viable approaches to interventions, including community participation, enabling government policies, financing schemes etc. Another examines the differentiated effects of deforestation; land degradation, fauna and flora species loss, reduced pollination and the resultant climatic impacts. A third article argues that improved stove projects can be justified on the economic benefits of reducing greenhouse gases and could be traded on the 'carbon market'.
The study by PEER Africa in South Africa, and Mushamba in Zimbabwe show that integrated approaches can usefully be put into practice in different types of development contexts. The one from South Africa is a housing programme, linking housing quality with clean indoor air, job creation, and greenhouse gas reduction to create a meaningful concept of sustainable economic development by the local community. The one from Zimbabwe concentrates on how development organisations can assist communities to plan and implement their own integrated development programmes, and the problems that can arise in so doing.
When integrating household energy activities into other development programmes, women automatically become the focus of attention. Practical implications of gender have to be considered. This aspect is demonstrated by the article 'Women in post-harvest operations: reducing the drudgery'. It highlights some of the key issues in appropriate technology development. It approaches the subject of integration from a different angle, starting from technology development, showing how technical, institutional and socio-economic aspects need to be considered at the same time.
The articles in this edition demonstrate clearly that an integrative approach to household energy conservation will provide positive synergy effects, either by enriching household energy programmes by putting them into the right context, or by adding value to other development programmes through complementing on-going projects with energy conservation activities. It should also assist development organisations to convince donors of funding more household energy activities and make use of the possibilities of creating synergy effects, so that higher benefits can be realised.
There are a number of areas where further research is necessary. This applies especially to analysing in greater detail those socio-political processes and environmental aspects, that give more empowerment to the people and assist them in managing their own environment.
A. Klingshirn is a social anthropologist who, until recently, was coordinator of the Household Energy Programme of GTZ. She is now Senior Advisor to the SADC Programme for Biomass Energy Conservation in Southern Africa.