At a time Malawi is facing extended load-shedding, two local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have embarked on a campaign to sensitise the public to the importance of using renewable energy.
The two NGOs—, Cooperative Enterprise Pathways for Economic and Environmental Sustainability in Malawi Project (Cepeesm) and Community Energy Malawi (CEM)—want to target people in cooperatives by emphasising on the use of solar power for lighting, cooking as well as irrigation farming.
In his remarks after meeting cooperative members in Karonga and Rumphi, Cepeesm project manager John Mulangeni said Malawi is going through an energy crisis.
“When a country has enough power it is easier for investors to come and invest in various fields and this directly benefits the country. Reliable sources of energy allow companies to manufacture enough products and this contributes heavily in the progression of a nation through exports,” said Mulangeni.
He said Malawians have relied on hydropower energy which has proved unreliable.
“In our campaign, we are informing communities that they should not wait for Escom [Electricity Supply Cooperation of Malawi] for power but rather utilise the renewable energies within their reach,” said Mulangeni.
A representative of CEM, Morton Kaunda, said since the inception of the organisation in 2013, about 146 projects have been completed.
“One of our major successes is that we have managed to bring water closer to people, especially in distant places. With the help of solar energy, we pump water from boreholes to strategic tanks and then distribute to a number of houses within communities. This has helped to reduce labour, shorten distances and people have reliable source of water,” said Kaunda.
Globally, the number of people accessing electricity has improved from 79 percent in 2000 to 85 percent in 2012, but still over 1.1 billion people are without this valuable service.
Isaac Kalambo of Wovwe Rice Cooperative in Karonga said solar energy could help to reduce dependency on hydropower and accelerate development.n