UNDP empowering women through solar projects in rural Tanzania

Sep 1, 2016

Kurio village, like a growing number of villages in rural Tanzania in recent times, is seeing changes in the demographics and livelihoods of its people. Climate change-induced water shortages is making agricultural production more and more unreliable, leading to food and livelihood insecurity. This makes the profession undesirable and, due to smaller yields, is leading to its people, particularly young men, migrating to urban centres in the hope for employment. Women, however, have more limited options, with some girls suffering from early marriages and some married women being left at home with their children after their husbands have migrated.

In 2015, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), along with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM), supported local NGO “Tanzania Development Light Organization” (TADELO) to implement a project specifically to address community’s threats to climate change impacts and to empower women and youth by enhancing their agricultural production.  The project was designed to address the threat of food insecurity and aimed to enhance community livelihoods by using solar-powered pumps to tap underground water which would lead to the establishment of small-scale irrigation agricultural schemes, targeting women and youth.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals on Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7) and Climate Action (SDG 13), this project helped over 3,000 people in Kurio village, in rural Dodoma, to mitigate the problems arising from the lack of reliable sources of water. As a result, this initiative has hugely changed the living condition of the people in the village, as clean water is now easily accessible and more reliable, saving the community time previously used to walk a distance of about 7km fetching water. The beneficiaries of this initiative are mostly women and girls, who now use the saved hours to engage in other socio-economic activities. This project has also supported the beneficiaries to establish income generating activities (IGAs) through vegetable and fruit farming as extra sources of income to improve their livelihoods – and already some are seeing an increase of around 100,000 Tanzanian Shilling (appr. $50) in their monthly earnings.

Through this project we are now saving a lot of time as we walk only a short distance, less than 1km, searching for water while before we took almost 3 to 5km to get some water for our daily needs” said Kurio villager Ms. Rozapia Joseph Paulo.  With this time saving and access to clean, reliable sources of water, she feels women, in particular, are being empowered economically as she said “we are now able to raise our income following engagement in vegetable farming activities”.

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).


More about the project contact:

Mr. Abbas Kitogo, Programme Specialist (Energy and Climate Change)


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