Case Study Methods

The case study design used multiple data collection methods including rapid rural appraisal (RRA), unstructured interviews and participant observation. The RRA constituted the central research method in this study, chosen since it demands active involvement and reflection from the participants, is contextual and qualitative, flexible and creative (Geilfus, 2008; Kumar, 2002). We adapted seven KKA methods to analyze the differences and similarities across the three case studies, namely, an Adoption Matrix, Daily Activity Schedule, Capital Assets Map and Dream Map, Cultural Capital Graph, Social and Human Capital Matrixes, Venn Diagrams and Problem-Solution Diagrams (Canalle, U. A. H., 2018).4 Each RRA method was applied in one group session two hours in length, and there were a total of seven group sessions in each case study.

Unstructured interviews were also used to gather information from local residents who were identified as key informants but who could not attend the RRA sessions. These key informants were energy users who played a leadership role in the energy project or who were leaders in another area of expertise recognized by their communities. Also, employees of the municipalities to which the case communities belong participated in unstructured interviews. In addition, data from observation, informal conversations and particular activities such as home visits and meetings was collected using a participant observation guide.

Settlement committees are responsible for the community management in Llancama, Pampayllaqta and Ccanccayllo. They granted permission for the study and helped arrange introductory meetings. The details of the study were explained to participants and then they volunteered freely to be involved. A total of 20 people in Llancama (15 men and five women), 24 people in Pampayllaqta (12 men and 12 women) and 22 people in Ccanccayllo (18 men and four women) participated in the study. The study had full ethics approval from the University of Queensland.

The principal information sources were the drawings, diagrams, charts and matrixes that resulted from the RRA and the transcriptions of unstructured interviews, all of which were complemented by the participant observation notes and the RRA notes.The data (i.e., all RRA activities and all interviews) were recorded and transcribed, then coded and grouped together according to themes relevant to the community capitals.

Results: Interactions Between Energy Technology and Community Capitals

Political Capital

Llancama, Pampayllaqta and Ccanccayllo elect residents every four years to serve on various administrative groups including Settlement Committees, Rural Community Committees and Agribusiness Associations, each with elected board members and office bearers. The Settlement Committees ensure that agreed standards of living are met and organize the tasks and dates for communal working days in each settlement. In terms of political hierarchy, the Rural Community Committees have a higher rank than the Settlement Committees. In other words, the Settlement Committees in Pampayllaqta and Ccanccayllo are subordinate to the decisions of the Rural Community Committees of Chaupibamba and Chicnayhua, respectively. Women participate mostly as treasurers in these committees.

According to the General Law of Rural Communities,3 Rural Community Committees are responsible for making major decisions such as:

  • • designing and implementing agricultural, artisanal and industrial development plans with the participation of community members;
  • • regulating the access and the use of land and other resources among its members;
  • • promoting, coordinating and supporting the development of civic and cultural activities and religious and social festivities, according to their values, customs and traditions;
  • • determining the support of production services with public and private organizations;
  • • gaining technical skills and business capabilities, which is the principal motivation for participating in projects with external organizations; hence, the university (as the energy technology' provider) was considered by the participants to be an important connection in each case study.

Agribusiness Associations are considered the most important organizations within the case study communities in leveraging resources from the government. These associations are registered legally as enterprises, and the regional government of Cusco can support them through economic development programs. Such programs promote business plan contests with the winners receiving business training, technical advice, building materials for their farms, new technologies and trips to other communities for learning purposes.

At a broader level, Pampayllaqta and Ccanccayllo considered that their Rural Community Committees and Settlement Committees should collaborate for the benefit of all families in the communities. However, the municipality and the Rural Community Committees were not involved in the energy project. The Settlement Committees worked alone with the energy provider, and their participation in the decision-making process during the project was restricted to specific activities. Major decisions regarding the design and implementation of the energy technology were made by project staff.

The technical characteristics of the energy system, such as the use of water to power the waterwheel, the management of the power house and the use of batteries only for lighting, were not open to community discussion in each of the case study communities. Residents of the communities participated directly in the project, coordinated working days to build the system and were involved in technical workshops. However, residents had no opportunity to influence key decision making. For instance, residents did not know why the technology' transfer center was not built and were not able to negotiate any other alternative to complete the capacity-building program.

Moreover, even municipal government officials stressed the importance of capacity building to rural communities when transferring technologies. For example, the Deputy Manager ofYanaoca (the municipal government to which Ccanccayllo belongs) said it was crucial to strengthen grassroots organizations and facilitate collaborative networks. However, citizen participation in the case study communities was based only on consultation and service-delivery with little input or influence on key decision making.

Although Pampayllaqta and Ccanccayllo have close links with the municipal and regional governments through financial systems and service delivery programs, those connections did not enhance community influence or empowerment in relation to the energy project.

 
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