Impact of Micro-Hydro-Power Projects on the Lives of the Rural Communities in Chitral, Pakistan


The purpose of this study was to know and assess the impacts of small micro hydropower projects on the local communities and household populations. These projects were initiated around five years ago by the local communities with the technical and financial help of the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) – an NGO working in the Northern areas of Pakistan for the last eighteen years. The study tries to answer some specific research questions such as how the changes in different spheres of life happened because of micro hydropower projects (MHPs) or what are the positive and negative changes at the community, household and individual levels.

Using purposive sampling techniques, five villages for this study were selected in Chitral district where the program is operating for the last eighteen years. The five villages represent the four FMUs that are the operating unit of the program in the region. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to interview 62 light users and 13 non-users.

The study finds that MHPs brought both social and economic benefits to the village communities. Electrical power has enabled villagers to have access to satellite television, which is believed to be quite forceful in changing human behavior and subsequently bringing about qualitative improvements at a personal level. These improvements then interact with other changes to transform the social environment in sustainable way.

Economic benefits are stated in multiple ways such as saving from the expenses of kerosene lamps as well as creating opportunities for new enterprises and activities. Moreover, the villagers have been freed from poor quality lights and the cumbersome job of carrying kerosene oil.


Agricultural and Resource Economics

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