Before planning a mini-grid project, developers need to understand the local context. A project that works in one community might fail in another. Involving the community helps projects meet local energy needs and can create new opportunities for improving livelihoods. Projects without local support may not be financially sustainable and may cause conflict among community members.

This module describes approaches for engaging the local community (including women and other marginalized groups), how to assess a community’s energy needs, how to assess community support, types of conflicts that might arise and how to measure social benefits and impacts of a mini-grid project.

How can developers engage communities?

Communities should play a significant role in planning, and may also play a role in determining the best ownership model and/or operating and maintaining the mini-grid. Read more »

What is a community needs assessment?

An assessment helps the mini-grid project developer understand local energy needs, technical expertise and capacity. Read more »

How can developers assess community support?

Support can be assessed through public meetings, focus group discussions, surveys and questionnaires. Read more »

What conflicts might arise?

The most common sources of conflict in mini-grid projects are decreased access to natural resources, unrealistic expectations, land allocation, unequal distribution of benefits and pre-existing conflicts in the community. Read more »

How can developers measure a project’s impacts?

Using a variety of evaluation techniques developers can measure direct impacts, like increased access to electricity, and indirect impacts, such as improved livelihoods. Read more »