Comparing effects and impacts of rural electrification on development in two South American Afro descendent communities


  • Sandra Milena Vélez Echeverry Faculty of Planaltina University of Brasilia
  • Brigitte Burnett Faculty of Social Sciences Anton de Kom University of Suriname
  • Janaína Deane de Abreu Sá Diniz
  • Rudi Henri van Els Faculty of Gama University of Brasilia


Afro descendent communities, rural electrification, rural development, sustainability, Brazil, Suriname


The effects and the impacts of electrification on the development of rural communities is analyzed in two Maroon Afro descendant communities in Brazil and in Suriname. The Saramaca maroon community of Brownsberg in Suriname was provided with grid electricity owing to a compensatory initiative, as this community had been displaced in order to build the Afobaka hydropower plant in central Suriname. The Kalunga Quilombo of Engenho II was provided with grid electricity as it was chosen to host the launch of the Light for All rural electrification program of the Brazilian Federal Government. There are several researches on the improvements that rural electrification has on the social development of communities. However, there is no research that analyses the effects and the impacts that electrification has on the social, economic, environmental, cultural and spatial dimensions of the development of Afro descendent communities. The research analyses these effects and impacts from the approach of sustainable development according to the vision of Ignacy Sachs and the vision of development as freedom from Amartya Sen. Methodological approaches have been developed and adapted from the visions of sustainable development of Sachs and development as freedom of Sen. The scientific relevance is in the multidimensional analyses and the method used in each community, adapted to its own characteristics and specific context. The research was implemented with a quantitative and qualitative methodology and included the application of interviews, questionnaires, adaptation of the Battelle matrix and statistical software tools. The results show that in the Suriname communities with electrical energy there was an increase in income and infrastructure. The traditional authorities endorsed the positive side of the availability of electricity that is reflected in the development initiatives of the community of Brownsweg. In the Brazilian community youths returned to work in their community motivated by the presence of educational, health and communication services and income generation activities. 


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How to Cite

Vélez Echeverry, S. M. ., Burnett, B., Deane de Abreu Sá Diniz, J., & van Els, R. H. . (2022). Comparing effects and impacts of rural electrification on development in two South American Afro descendent communities. Academic Journal of Suriname, 8(1), 680–693. Retrieved from