Rwanda: 10000 Needy Families to Get Solar Energy – AllAfrica.com
An initiative called #canachallenge launched by Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) seeks to provide solar home systems to some 10,000 families in the first Ubudehe category (Ubudehe 1).
Ubudehe 1 is the socio-economic class of the most vulnerable Rwandans.
The nationwide challenge, which was launched on December 21, has so far raised funds to light over 3,120 families during this festive period.
Liliane Igihozo Uwera, Special Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) Coordinator at BRD told The New Times that the target was to support 2,500 families during the festive season.
The beneficiaries so far include individual commitments for 1,120 families and commitments for 2,000 families by companies.
Overall, more than 700 people and companies had participated in the challenge as of December 29.
A solar home system under this plan consists of a minimum of three lights, one radio, one torch lamp, and a USB plug to charge mobile phones using solar [panel] energy.
The #canachallenge is a campaign through which an organisation or individual can make a voluntary pledge and contribution to “Light up a Rwandan Family” that is far away from the national grid coverage area and cannot access electricity.
BRD has been inviting people to join this challenge, indicating that with only Rwf15,000 contribution, one can help light up a family in need.
For every such contribution, BRD tops up the remaining Rwf100,000 to fully finance the cost of a Solar Home System for one family – totalling Rwaf115,000.
On the financing aspect, Uwera pointed out that BRD will provide in total a grant of Rwf1 billion through the Renewable Energy Fund Project – a government project funded by the World Bank and implemented by BRD towards lighting up an initial 10,000 families in Ubudehe category 1 across the country.
Some prominent individuals who supported the challenge include Rolande Pryce, the World Bank Group Country Manager for Rwanda, Yvonne Manzi Makolo, Chief Executive Officer of RwandAir, Maxwell Gomera, UNDP Rwanda country representative, Patience Mutesi Gatera, Rwanda Country Director, TradeMark East Africa, and Teddy Mugabo, Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Green Fund- FONERWA.
Others include the Bank of Kigali which donated to light up 1,000 families and Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) which committed to helping connect 500 homes [to solar energy] under this initiative, describing it as a good contribution towards increasing TV and Radio penetration across the country.
“At BRD, we are grateful for the overwhelming support received so far especially the last two days, and also invite those that are yet to join the #canachallenge to come and spread the light!,” Uwera observed.
The #canachallenge involves different activities such as engaging various people and organisations to be given the challenge to donate towards the cause and nominate others to do the same, among other engaging and fundraising activities.
Contributing to a broader energy connection target
Uwera said that the purpose of this initiative is to sensitise the public at large to donate to the country’s poorest families and at the same time reach the universal electricity access planned for Rwanda by 2024.
Currently, she indicated, as per the National Electrification Plan, there are more than 850,000 households yet to be connected to solar electricity including 87,000 households in Ubudehe category 1.
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She said that this community building initiative will also improve the spread of green energy in the country hence carbon emission reduction.
Electricity access, target in Rwanda
As of October 2021, the cumulative connectivity rate is 67.1 per cent of Rwandan households including 48.6 per cent connected to the national grid and 18.5 per cent accessing energy through off-grid systems (mainly solar), according to data from Rwanda Energy Group (REG).
The current access targets stipulate that 100 per cent of households will have access to electricity by the year 2024. Among these households, 69.1 per cent will be connected to the grid while 30.9 per cent will be using off-grid solutions.