The socio-economic effects of the rural electrificationprogramme: a case study of Kandara location in Maragua district, central Kenya
Mbatia, Jackline Kabura
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The study evaluated the socio-economic effects of the Rural Electrification Programme. This is because the programme had sparked a lot of debate since it was began. Two extreme positions emerged from these debates. Some associated the Rural Electrification Programme with progress while others viewed as a diversion of funds from more pressing issues. It is based on these debate the study sought to find out the effect of the programme. The study was guided by three research questions namely:- 1. Do rural households have access to electricity? 2. What are the social effects of the Rural Electrification Programme? 3. What are the economic effects of the Rural Electrification Programme? Two theories were used to enhance the study namely, the modernization theory and trickle down theory. The study findings revealed that the Rural Electrification Programme can be adopted as a strategy of facilitating modernization in the rural areas and electricity though at a slow pace is 'tricked down' from the urban areas to the rural areas. The study used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The data was obtained from the rural households in Kandara Location through the use of standardized questionnaire. The key informants through the use of a key informant guide generated qualitative data. They provides adequate data pertinent to this study. The study generated three hypotheses which were subjected to testing using two way frequency tables and their associated statistics thereby making it possible to answer the research questions as embodied in the hypotheses and subsequently draw conclusions from the study. The data from the questionnaires and key informant guide was entered in the computer for processing using the statistical package for Social Science Programme (SPSS) descriptive statistics like the mean, mude and median, frequency tables and percentage were used to summarize data in an effective and meaningful way. The study findings revealed that 75% of rural households do not have access to electricity. The main reason given by 67% of the respondents was that the cost associated with electricity was expensive. For example, the installation and electricity bill. Majority of the people in the rural households also were of the view that the Rural Electrification Programme was not well implemented. They cited reasons such as there was no supply, had paid to be installed with electricity yet still had not been installed with it and others said they have no information about electricity. The study revealed that the Rural Electrification Programme had positive effects in the areas it had been implemented. The programme had improved education standards, health standards and in general the living standards of the people. The study concluded that the Rural Electrification Programme can be an effective strategy of alleviating poverty in the rural areas if well planned. In future independent studies on how community members can become more involved in the Rural Electrification Programme can be carried out to ensure the programme is well implemented in all regions in Kenya. This is because local participation can determine success or failure of any programme, as indicated under the areas for further research.