Why Measuring Energy Access for Women Makes Smart Business: The Case of Lao PDR
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a mountainous landlocked country in Southeast Asia, has scored a remark- able achievement. In just over two decades, from 1995 to 2017, it managed to increase national access to electric- ity from 16 percent to more than 90 percent of the population. A sustained effort to make electricity affordable for those too poor to pay initial connec- tion charges has been key feature of the achievement. Solid preparatory studies and disaggregated data on speci c barri- ers to electri cation for female-headed households were critical for targeting and impact evaluation.
This note presents the Power to the Poor Program piloted by the Rural Electri cation Project (Phase 1 and 2) in Lao PDR. The program provided poor households with interest-free loans that enabled them to obtain a connection to the grid and wire their dwellings. House- holds headed by women were a focus of the program.