Assessing Impacts of Rural Electrification Program on Narrowing Gender Gap among Rural Farmers in South East Tanzania; A Case Study of Gairo Village
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The majority of rural population in Tanzania is not served with modern energy; an improved energy supply in the rural areas will ensure improvement in the livelihood of the rural population and the attainment of sustainable economic growth though men and women depend equally on electricity access but in many communities women suffer tremendously when energy is short in supply. With access to electricity women will improve and save time that is much spent on cooking and food processing. This study seeks to assess the impacts of rural electrification program on narrowing gender gap among rural farmers in south east Tanzania, a case study of Gairo Village. Objectives of this study were to identify business activities as a result of rural electrification program, to establish impacts of rural electrification program on time saving in individual productivity and to analyze the gender gap situation at the study area before and after the implementation of rural electrification program. The study adopted the triangulation research design for data collection. Questionnaires, Interview guide, focus group discussion and observation were the techniques for primary data collection and documentary review checklist was used to collect secondary information. The target population was 2349 households; 327 questionnaires to household heads were distributed whereas tools returned were 294 making the response rate of 89%, the village has 12 government administrators and all of them were interviewed. Data were analyzed using statistical package for social sciences and presented through tables showing frequencies, percentages. From the study findings, majority of the households are headed by men at 71.4%, 59.5% of the household heads were adults of age between 31-50 years who 57.8% have attended secondary level education. Majority of households use electricity for domestic appliances whereas lighting and cell phone charging being 100%. Most of respondents admitted that rural electrification program has a huge impact in their lives by increasing their productivity as well as narrowing gender gap. Before implementation of this program women were forced to submit to their husbands as they contributed to the family income but with electricity present they can also contribute to the family income by doing small business activities. From the study it has been observed that communities living along the main road have easy access of this program than those in the interior. It is therefore recommended that the government should also supply electricity to the interior villages also these beneficial programs should not take many years to commence as people depend on electricity for socio-economic development.