Solar Electricity; Leaving No One Behind in Sitolo, Mchinji
Community Energy Malawi (CEM) is implementing an 80Kw Solar electricity mini grid in Sitolo, Mchinji with support from Government of Malawi – Department of Energy Affairs, UNDP and GEF. The project has seen the village turning around from darkness to light. As one is approaching the community, the electricity poles and wires can be seen from afar, testifying the changing fortunes of the area.
One of the beneficiaries of the project is Agness Bokola who is in her early 50s. She says that when the project was announced in the village, she was excited that for the first time in her life she will be able to light her home just by the switch. Her house is grass thatched, but the project has included her in its inclusive approach which has seen the elderly, the widowed, child-headed homes and orphans benefiting as well.
“We used candles, paraffin lamps and battery torches. But now, just by the switch we will be able to light our homes. This is what we never thought would happen in this area in our lifetime,” she said.
Her home is one of over 160 homes connected to the grid in the area, and she is one of the thousands to benefit in the area. The project has seen a Church, a school, a clinic and teacher’s houses being connected as well. There is also business boom as new ventures like hair salons, barber shops and Maize mill are being done by people in the area. In the long run, they are making good home income for their basic uses.
Although is is only in Sitolo village, the project will eventually spread to the other three surrounding villages of Molosiyo, Ndawambe and Chisenga.