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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Chris Adsit

Engineering Interventions in Developing Areas

While there are well-reseru·c.hed benefits of access to electricity, debate exists about
the methods of expanding tlus access. With some research critical of development
interventions, this dissertation evaluates the impact of rural electrification engineering
interventions and their sustainability. Reviewing factors for rural electrification success, as
well as evaluations of development interventions completed in the li terature, this research
then focuses on a case study of three different micro-hydro installations in Honduras, as well
as interviews with development professionals working in the region. Themes emerged from
the research of positive social and economic benefits for the target communities. Despite
these benefits, the theme of communities being dependent on extemal organizations also
emerged. Based on the analysis of these ideas, this research proposes that these projects have
benefits for the communities in which they are installed, but there is a possibility for
continued external action that leads to communities being dependent on external assistance.
This continued external action is related to the need for development organizations to
continue to obtain new projects and their dependence on extemal funding, which this
research argues is unsustainable.