M a r k e t N e w s

Remote Village to Become First Fully Solar Powered in Tanzania

Posted on : Wednesday, 19th October 2016

Mara — Manila, a remote village in Rorya District, Mara Region has never had electricity for more than 40 years.

But residents in the village now have a reason to smile as it will soon become the first fully solar-powered village in Tanzania.
It will be light up under a project carried out by Mashaka Foundation in collaboration with US-based American Engineering Group.
The project, which uses the Firefly solar technology that has been designed by US experts, is expected to benefit more than 480 families in the village.
Mr John Mashaka, the founder of Mashaka Foundation, says Manila villagers and some neighboring villages will benefit the project free of charge.
Manila is one of many villages in the country, which are either not connected to the country's power grid, or lack uninterrupted power supply.
Residents in the village have never had access to electricity since its formation, according to Mr Mashaka.
He says that although it is very expensive to light up the whole village, they are committed to provide wananchi in the area with solar panels and other equipment that use Firefly solar technology.
He says the technology was designed after the US experts visited the village and other parts of the country to establish suitable solar technology that can be used in rural areas.
Mr Mashaka, who works in the US, says the technology was used for the first time in one of the villages in the country a few months ago.
He says the project was implemented by the experts from the US, who also trained some local villagers to handle any technical problems that might occur. Mr Mashaka says that they decided to introduce the project in the village after realising that wananchi were in dire need of electricity.
He says the also realised that most of the villagers could not afford to foot the costs on their own.
Mr Mashaka said that he decided to help people of Manila Village, the place where he was born first in efforts to turn around the village's economic fortunes.
Mr Mashaka has asked people not to associate the project his organisation is implementing in the village with politics.
He says he is not a politician and he not interested in contesting any political position in the area.
Residents who are expected to benefit from the project have thanked the Mashaka Foundation, saying the scheme will help change lives of people in the village.
They said they will now be able to engage in various development activities in their village.
Another resident Mrs Helena Andrew said that the project has enabled their children to improve their performance academically as they are now studying even at night.
She said in the past children could not study at night because there was no electricity.
She asked other firms to the in the evening compared to previous time adding that the project has encouraged their children to put more efforts in their studies.
Juma Erasto a form three student at Nyamtinga Secondary school said that previously they were only studying at school and failed to perform any homework at home during night due to the lack of light.
He said that the project will help all students from his village to improve their performance at school as they will be able to read and do more exercises during night hours.
"This will help us as previously it was very difficult to study at night and sometimes when we wanted we failed to do so since parents had the limited budget to buy kerosene for the family use" he explained
Another resident Mrs. Ester Kennedy said that the project also will help to improve and maintain security of the village. She said that before the project villagers were struggling to keep away hyenas that had the tendency of infringe into the village looking for their livestock.
"Hyenas were not afraid at all as they were entering in our houses to eat goats and sheep and that was due to the darkness but this light will keep them far away and we won't experience them again" she explained
She asked villagers to make sure that they maintain the project as it cost a lot of money however she didn't know the value of it explaining that if the project will be maintained it will benefit more generations as they were told that the lifespan of the project was 35 years.
"Although I'm a poor, my life has completely changed for the better since now my house has the light and the money I was using to buy kerosene is now used for other family needs" she explained
Mr Andrea Nyakundi said that the project has opened a new chapter in their life as they will no longer live in dark neither for lack of electricity of power cut off as the project depends on solar and not dams. Adding that they have never experienced any difficult or incurred any costs to be connected to the project as it was done free of charge by the Mashaka foundation.
He said that now their village is always bright during night hours as every home has the power compared to the previous time when they used to go in bed very early due to the darkness.
Mr Nyakundi said that what amazed them was that the solar works even during rainy seasons adding that they were told that the panels have the ability to store the energy for more than four days even if there you would not be sun for somedays.
He said that every family in the village regardless of their financial situation and the status of their houses were connected to the project like other families with good financials situations.

Source : allafrica.com
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