Purpose – Much of the resources for mitigating the impact of poverty found their way into new technologies or programs that aimed to provide energy access to the poor in the “bottom of the pyramid” (BOP). Thus billions have been spent and will be spent on projects such as expensive line extensions or solar panels to the poor living in “last mile” communities. The purpose of this paper is to review the traditional responses to income and energy poverty, and describe a sustainable community model to address the poor at the BOP. Design/methodology/approach – This paper looks at the approaches that have been tried in making a dent in the poverty incidence in households living in last mile, BOP areas in the Philippines and posits the critical question of why these approaches have failed despite successes in the more economically positioned strata of society. After identifying the critical variables that militate against the successful programs, the authors seek to proscribe a separate methodology for interventions in the BOP tiers of society. Findings – The initial hypothesis garnered from examining the data suggests that BOP communities lack access to managerial and entrepreneurial skills required to sustain relatively advanced technology applications when seeking to improve livelihood opportunities. Research limitations/implications – The sources of primary data for this research work are interviews with community workers, energy project proponents and BOP community leaders. Future research requires pilot programs where results can be measured and successes can be replicated in other communities. Practical implications – The insights derived from the research work will enable the design of better programs aimed at the BOP. Positive outcomes can be expected to come from improved effectiveness and efficiencies of current approaches and possible new opportunities for leveraging current efforts by governments and civil society with business. Social implications – The most significant, possible outcome of this research would be to enhance the sustainability of current interventions aimed at the BOP. Many corporate social responsibility activities are superficial, short-term initiatives, with time frames corresponding to quarterly statements meant for the public and external stakeholders. Unfortunately, the BOP environment is more structurally complex and requires systemic understanding. Originality/value – Many of the existing interventions do not capture the needs of the BOP. This paper looks at this segment of the client system and tries to identify gaps in the program design to focus on this segment.
World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 3, 2012