In Southern Africa, it’s estimated that less than 5% of rural communities have access to electricity.
- Increasing droughts mean farmers rely on expensive, faulty diesel engines for irrigation. Leaving their families poor and hungry if they break down.
- Clinics can’t store medicines safely, or provide services after dark.
- Small businesses struggle to grow without power for equipment.
- School children can’t benefit from the use of technology to improve their education.
“Before the solar grid we had to buy expensive fuel for a diesel pump to water our crops. But when the pump broke we couldn’t repair it, so we couldn’t water the crops, leaving us without food or an income.”
Mpokiseng Moyo – Farmer, Mashaba
The Ingenious Solution
We’ve put together a bundle of practical solutions that really do help people change their lives. Teaming up with local authorities and energy suppliers, alongside running training and skill sharing on-location. The Sustainable Energy for Rural Communities (SE4RC) programme has delivered clean energy, and new opportunities, to 30,000 people.
- Three irrigation schemes have gone live. Meaning better harvests for local farmers.
- This has allowed us to deliver training in more effective agriculture and business practices, improving profits.
- New refrigerators, and permanent lighting at the clinic is helping the community stay healthy.
- The local school has a new computer for classes to use and is able to print documents and exam papers for the first time.
- Local business owners have been able to buy electrical equipment and sell more popular goods like cold drinks, increasing profits and opportunities.
- We are working with local entrepreneurs to give them the skills to build their businesses.
- Plus we’ve trained local technicians to maintain everything, creating more jobs and enabling the community to develop the scheme independently in the future.
“This will also give me an opportunity to venture into other businesses such as video shows and barbershop. I will therefore generate enough income for my family. I will use the proceeds to buy food, pay school fees for my children and build a more decent house. I am seeing a prosperous life for my family. This project will indeed bail us out of dire poverty.”
Kenes Piseni – Shopkeeper, Chipula village
Location: Gwanda district, Zimbabwe; Nsanje and Chikwawa districts, Malawi
Project date: February 2015 – January 2019
Partners: SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Dabane Trust in Zimbabwe, Hivos, Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) and Environment Africa in Malawi
Funding: £5.6 million
Principal funders: European Union, OFID and GEF Small Grants Programme