A sigh of relief for Ngala residents in Lindi, rural Tanzania

Aug 16, 2016

Solar-powered lighting being used in the local primary school

Roughly 80 kilometers outside of Lindi, Tanzania lies a small village called Ngala. With a population of approximately 2,300 people, most of Ngala’s residents are farmers who grow Sesame seeds, Peas and Maize. Unreliable harvests, partly contributed by the impact of climate change, means that the majority of the village live in poverty. The local schools and health centres have no electricity or reliable sources of water, which exacerbates the poor living conditions experienced by the villagers. The most serious and pronounced challenge for the community was the lack of reliable sources of electricity for refrigerating vaccines, lighting and sterilizing equipment and the lack of a reliable, clean source of water necessary for washing and hygiene, especially during dry season.

In 2015, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Energy and Minerals partnered with local NGO KUZA Youth Sustainable Development Foundation, to implement a project aimed at bringing solar power to Ngala village for improving education and health services. The project would also establish female and youth groups and provide them with education on off-farm activities in order to improve their livelihoods.

As a result of this project, improvements in living conditions and livelihoods are already being felt. The village health centre now has solar panels with enough capacity that ensured a reliable supply of clean electricity which can support refrigeration of vaccines and provides light during the night, which reduces complications during childbirth. There is also an incinerator installed with a specific purpose of disposing of medical waste so as to prevent contamination or further spreading of diseases.

The Ngala Health Centre and primary schools were also supported to construct underground water well and pumps and rehabilitate existing water systems for both schools and health facilities.  The villagers are now able to collect and store a massive 1,670,000 litres of water which is accessible by approximately 2035 people.

The local school was also supported through the installation of solar and now also has a 24/7 supply of electricity. This supports longer teaching hours as well as allows for important ICT services such as using the internet and printing. One student explained that before the project “light was not enough so there was a high rate of eye problems, but now you can study as much as you can, assured of performing well in my exams".

The teachers are also benefiting and are highly appreciative of the project with one teacher named Mr. Phares saying that this project was “a blessing from God.  Due to insufficient power and water, work morale was low, teachers were resigning and not only that but even charging mobile phones was a problem which resulted in a lack of communication. But now, since this project started, we can teach late, the morale is higher, security is assured, water is available 24 hours.”

This project was implemented under the Capacity Development in The Energy Sector and Extractive Industries (CADESE) programme with support from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals of Tanzania. One of the key objectives of the project is to accelerate achievement of SDG 7 on Energy and the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative through a wider adoption of Rural Energy Technologies (RETs).