Energising Development (EnDev) Bolivia

Project description

Title: Energising Development (EnDev) Bolivia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Country: Bolivia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energy (MHE), and the Vice-Ministry of Electricity and Alternative Energy (VMEEA)
Overall term: 2005 to 2023


Despite the expansion of Bolivia's state-run electrical grid in recent years, some 40 percent of rural households still have no access to electricity. A good share of the population therefore relies on traditional forms of energy to meet their daily energy needs, such kerosene lamps and candles for lighting. Seventy percent of households in rural areas fire biomass to cook.

Many public facilities, schools, health centres and social institutions also lack modern sources of energy. At the same time, a lack of technology is impeding development of the production sector.


Conditions in Bolivia's energy sector have improved. Low-income households, social institutions as well as small and medium-sized business enterprises have sustainable access to modern energy technologies and supply services.


The project is part of the global multi-donor energy partnership Energising Development (EnDev), a global initiative implemented by GIZ and financed by the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Great Britain, Norway and Switzerland.

The project develops strategies for supplying social institutions and private households in rural regions and small farmers with cost-effective and sustainable energy, in particular to meet their basic needs such as lighting, cooking and hot water. This improved energy supply is also aimed at raising the productivity of small businesses and agricultural enterprises.

The project pursues the strategy of reducing aid money and, instead, creating alliances and mobilising local resources that arise from the wishes and needs of the local populace.

While many villages may be situated close to electrical power lines, the inhabitants cannot afford grid connection costs. Working together with power utility companies, EnDev has developed flexible financing models: costs are shared, and households pay an amount that they can afford. Thanks to their electric hook-up, they spend less on energy and save the money they spent on batteries, kerosene and candles.

Hundreds of thousands of families in rural areas cook over traditional three-stone fires. This method consumes large quantities of firewood and produces toxic smoke that can cause health problems. To alleviate this problem, the project trains stove producers and local technicians in how to build efficient cooking stoves, and organises related information campaigns in villages.

Many schools and health clinics are not fitted with lighting, heating or cooking facilities. With efficient cooking stoves and solar power units, schools can generate hot water for showers and prepare school meals. Hot water is especially important to maintaining hygiene in the cold Andes Mountains region. The children’s parents also use the shower facilities. Hot water is indispensable to health clinics, for example for disinfecting purposes.

The vast majority of the rural population earn their livelihood in agriculture. In most cases, however, the crop yields families manage to produce are small. Their harvests are frequently threatened by lack of rainfall. Another problem they face is the lack of means to preserve and process their products. As a result, farmers have to sell their produce immediately after harvesting, and are thus forced to accept low prices. To improve their general situation as well as their production techniques, EnDev Bolivia is financing various measures such as diesel- or solar-powered motor-driven pumps that enable farmers to regularly irrigate their fields until the young plants are robust enough. What is more, villagers need machinery like mills and dryers to mill and dry their products such as corn, rice, peanuts and chilli peppers.

Results achieved so far

As of December 2013, 700,000 people have gained access to modern energy sources. More than 4,000 schools, health clinics and community centres have been technically equipped with modern electrical connections, energy-efficient cooking stoves and solar-heating systems. In over 20,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, the technical equipment for production and processing of agricultural products has been improved.

Additional information