The Herald

Electrification fund changes lives in rural areas

Hakwata 200kw Solar mini grid which is suppling electricity to 180 households in Checheche area Chipinge District.-Picture:Tinashe Chitwanga.

Columbus Mabika recently in CHECHECHE

THE people of Checheche have praised the Second Republic for its determination to increase the availability of electricity in the rural areas.

They were speaking in separate interviews during a recent tour of Rural Electrification Fund (REF) projects in Checheche, Manicaland Province, by the fund’s officials and community leaders.

Rural Electrification Fund delegates being shown Hakwata 200kw Solar mini-grid battery container by Information Technology Technician Bekezela Mnkandla that is supplying electricity to 180 households in Checheche area Chipinge District.-Picture: Tinashe Chitwanga.

Some of the projects that were visited include 90 household bio-digesters and a 240-kilowatt mini-grid supplying power to 180 households, a school and a clinic.

Ms Mwadei Fuza, a mother of three from Checheche, said the rural electrification programme was changing lives.

“This is a welcome development to our community as we can now live modern lives just like our counterparts in urban areas.

“We can now use any gadget, including cell phones, electric stoves and irons, a development that has improved our lives,” said Ms Fuza. 

Rural Electrification Fund delegates tour Hakwata Primary School which is being supplied electricity by the Hakwata 200kw Solar mini-grid in Checheche area Chipinge District.-Picture: Tinashe Chitwanga.

A teacher at Hwakwata Primary School, Mr Ushe Goko, said electrification of communities has boosted the education sector, which now makes use of ICTs.

“We welcome this development as teachers; this is a step in the right direction for the education system as the learning has become gadget-based. Power is the most critical aspect to achieve the objectives of the new curriculum,” said Mr Goko. 

On its part, the REF said it was stepping up efforts to broaden the provision of energy in its different forms to communities.

REF has embarked on a number of initiatives which include bio-digesters, solar mini-grids and grid electricity.

Through this initiative, it has powered schools, business centres, clinics, households and Government sub-offices.

The projects are being run under the climate adaptation, water and energy programme in conjunction with development partners.

REF acting chief executive officer Ms Felistas Makumbinde said they remain committed to transforming communities through energy provision for the attainment of an upper-middle income status by 2030.

“We remain mandated to provide universal access to energy to all rural areas in the country for economic development and empowerment,” she said. 

Under its ongoing programmes, REF is using grid electricity to electrify homes and institutions located within 20km of existing grid and electrical infrastructure. 

Areas that are away from existing electricity infrastructure are being electrified through solar mini-grids and household solar systems.

Ms Makumbinde said in every province throughout the country, REF has projects running as the Government wants more communities to be connected to the grid by 2030.