Power in People

How can participatory planning build capacity in rural communities?


Rural communities in many parts of the world lack the basic infrastructure for everyday tasks ranging from water collection to heating and lighting their homes.

A range of technology options can support rural infrastructure development, yet there is often limited funding and training available to ensure communities are able to maintain technologies after planners and engineers leave sites. Infrastructure planning can also sometimes conflict with the actual needs of community members when planners are not sensitive to the history, culture, and context of local areas.
There are very few established methods for properly engaging the community in planning processes, and this can often result in project failure. In other cases, this lack of communication between planners and local community members can contribute to an ongoing sense of distrust between locals and outsiders who assume they know what is best for local residents.


The goal of Power in People is to initiate a process to develop and test one or more methods for community engagement in rural infrastructure planning.

By doing this, we aim to support both communities and planners in preparing their teams for the long-term operations and maintenance of energy infrastructure.
Because these efforts have been limited in the past by time and funding, Power in People will also investigate how co-design frameworks can evenly distribute workloads between community members and planners to make sure that all parties are able to participate.

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