~~The Afghanistan Sustainable Energy for Rural Development (ASERD) programme developed by  MRRD  and  UNDP  builds  on  the  existing  efforts  to  provide  energy  to  rural  areas  of Afghanistan. Rural areas of Afghanistan remain socio-economically back-ward in terms of education, incidence of poverty and access to infrastructure. Lack of access to modern forms of energy is having serious health effects in rural Afghanistan which directly affects women and children. Lack of energy access also constraints the productivity of enterprises and limits delivery of public services.  Rural areas of Afghanistan are also blessed with renewable energy resources such as water, sun, wind and biomass which utilized using appropriate technologies and institutional approaches could help develop and transform rural areas.

The  rural  energy  programme  in  Afghanistan  have  mainly  relied  on  technology  driven approaches which have focused on commissioning electricity generating equipment and transferring ownership and operation and utility management responsibilities to the communities. These efforts have also largely ignored the cooking and heating needs of rural population in a country which has cold winters. The opportunities to go beyond household energy to commercial and enterprise as well as public service use of energy have not been utilised effectively. Private sector and financial institutions have only played a limited role in the programme so far and the aspects of policy, regulation, standards and incentive frameworks have also not received considerable attention.

The ASERD programme plans to establish sustainable rural energy services in 1100 rural communities in 5 years, providing both electrical and thermal energy. The efforts will bring sustainable  energy  to  over  110,000  households which providing health, economic and social benefits. However the major contribution the programme will make to rural energy in Afghanistan would be to establish delivery models that are technology neutral, leverage additional local and international resources, engage the private sector and financiers to establish a self-sustaining delivery model. The programme will also work to establish the right frameworks for policy, regulation, environmental protection, quality and incentives and develop human and institutional capacity for these delivery models to continue to increase access to modern energy in Rural Areas of Afghanistan.