The initiative brings clean energy and safe water to off-grid marginalized communities by introducing technological solution.
Only 16% (2016) of the population in rural areas in Tanzania have access to electricity. Electricity supply is not reliable. Electricity generation is heavily dependent on hydropower- 42%, natural gas – 45% and liquid fuel 13%. Power cuts are frequent and unpredictable due aged transmission lines. With the exception of the hydro-electric, the other two sources of power generation are expensive. Thus, renewable energy sources provide a viable and sustainable option which is yet to be fully exploited in Tanzania. Tanzania's sunshine hours per year range between 2080 and 3500 with global horizontal radiation of 4-7 kwh per square per day. Tapping into this renewable source of energy will give rural populations numerous possibilities including increasing agricultural productivity, income generation and climate resilience. Women, who shoulder a disproportionate responsibility for household fuel and water collection, food preparation, is the population group most affected by inadequate access to clean energy and safe water supply. Typically, women and children spend over two hours a day collecting water, and up to seven hours in remote rural areas. As it is now, most families in the marginalized rural areas buy kerosene for lighting and incur big cost to pay for treatment of diseases cause by use of unclean and unsafe water.So, there has been need to address some key challenges on accessibility to clean energy and safe water in targeted rural areas.
The main purpose of the project is to bring clean energy and safe water to off-grid marginalized communities by introducing technological solution in Three villages i.e. Mungaa, Makotea & Mtavila in Ikungi districts, Singida region, two villages i.e. Busami & Mwamigingwa in Busega district Simiyu and Three islands i.e. Sozia, Namuguma & Buyanza in Bunda district, Mara region. The areas to be selected do not currently feature in the national plan for electrification. The technology is called 'The Off-Grid Box' (https://www.offgridbox.com), which is a 6x6x6 feet shipping container, equipped with all the hardware needed to produce electricity and clean water. The Off-Grid Box has a warranty of 10 years. The application of this technology helps the communities to access clean energy and safe water for the first time. This is a pilot which could be replicated later in other localities facing similar challenges.A unit of the Off-Grid Box Technology can provide for up to 300 households which may have approximately 1500 people. This makes the project a community transformation initiative, with a long-term impact on the affected communities' livelihood. The Off-Grid Box technology is completely renewable and will be 36% more cost effective than diesel when used to generate electricity in off-grid areas. The electricity produced by one Off-Grid Box unit per year can eliminate the burning of 1.4 tons of diesel fuel (fossil fuel).The project involves the drilling of boreholes to tap underground water, which is additional to harvested rainwater in the relevant communities and ensures the availability of clean and safe water throughout the year.
The project has the potential to attract private sector investment because the technology allows use of mobile payment methods whereby consumers pay for the services provided by using mobile phones. The project also promotes the productive use of energy in agricultural, commercial and mini-industrial activities in rural areas that require electricity services as a direct input to the production of goods or provision of services. These changes reduce rural-urban migration, promote the growth and sustainability of businesses in rural settings.
The project prioritizes women and youth in all services that it directly provides or supports, such as collecting water user fees, security and trainings.
The plan is to continue to develop the Off-grid box and to replicate it to other regions in Tanzania after the completion of the pilot project. Off-Grid Boxes have already been piloted in the South South region, including in Rwanda and South Africa and is expected to spread further in other countries.
Provider Country: UNDP and Rwanda, South Africa
Beneficiary Country: Tanzania
Supported By: UNDP Country Support Facility
Implementing Agency: UNDP Tanzania, Local government Authorities – Ikungi, Busega, and Bunda, Ministry of Energy, Rural Electrification Agency, Private Sector UNCDF
Project Status: On-going
Project Period: 2018-2019