Evaluation of Drum and Wenexa
Kevin Warr, Michael Gaffen, Arunachalam Rajagopal, et al.
This technical assessment report reviews the Distribution Reform, Upgrade and Management (DRUM) program as well as the Water & Energy Nexus Activity (WENEXA) project. The two example projects were used to provide a model for utility companies throughout India, a country experiencing extreme growth and demand for electrical power.
Today, there are 78 million rural households without electricity and almost 40 percent of Indians rely on kerosene lamps for light. In 2010, India experienced a 10.4 percent growth rate.
USAID launched the DRUM program in 2004 to establish a framework and enable implementation of large-scale distribution initiatives in key reform states in India. Distribution of power within DRUM included focus areas of large-scale training, three pilot sites, and an exchange program with the Rural Utilities Service. One important lesson learned during DRUM was the need to develop a communication strategy geared toward decision-makers, which is implemented early – during the design phase.
The water and energy sectors are inextricably intertwined in India, in part because of a few reasons: 1) 30 percent of electricity used in the country is virtually free to farmers and agricultural use accounts, and 2) 70 percent of the population makes their living from agriculture. When a commodity is free, there isn’t as great an incentive to conserve.
Excerpt from the report:
The final impact of WENEXA, in particular the pump replacement program, remains to be seen, but the design of the program itself is impressive and, if the results bear out, replicable throughout the country. It would be a shame to lose the lessons learned as it is implemented simply because USAID funding for the program is ending.
Based on the evaluation findings and the situation of India’s energy sector, the evaluation team recommends that in the remaining 18 months of the DRUM training program, USAID:
- Develop DRUM environmental training related to distribution reform.
- Improve outdated DRUM materials, especially technical modules.
- Develop a pre- and post- testing mechanism for all new training.
- Develop and implement short, Demand Side Management (how to use electricity efficiently) awareness programs for women in DRUM pilot sites.
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