SHDF, SIDA empowering rural communities via renewable energy

Buhera, (Pungwe News-New Ziana) –Local non-governmental organization, Self Help Development Foundation (SHDF) with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has availed US$17 000 to promote use of renewable energy to improve business efficiency without harming the environment in Buhera district, Manicaland province.

Without energy, small holder farmers and rural small enterprise face barriers in adopting new technology and linking markets and modern value chains that would allow them to grow their business and improve their livelihoods.

Rural areas are in particular disadvantaged in terms of energy as they are often not connected to the national grid and their remoteness makes it expensive to extend infrastructure to serve them.

SHDF executive director Wadzanayi Vere said the funding would assist small holder farmers and rural entrepreneurs to acquire small technologies that use renewable energy.

“We have US$17 000 for six wards in Buhera district where we are operating. The funding will help rural small entrepreneurs and small holder farmers to boost and improve efficiency without harming the environment,” she said.

Vere said beneficiaries would receive 70 percent of the total value of their business, with a maximum of US$1 000.

“They will receive US$700 while the remainder will be paid in local currency at the equivalent of the inter-bank rate. We have been imparting skills to local communities on how to run successful businesses but we want to try helping them acquire technologies,” she said.

Development of the renewable energy sector, Vere said, also creates jobs and brings a host of social benefits, such as access to information communication technology.

She said there had been an overwhelming response from the local community to take up the project.

“Once their application forms are approved, the funds are disbursed to the beneficiaries, she said.

A Natural Resources management expert and writer, Donald Nyarota said with fossil fuels contributing to climate change and environmental degradation and likely to be exhausted by 2050, the world needed to tap into clean, sustainable energy.

“This is a good initiative being spearheaded by SHDF and their funding partners SIDA. Sustainable Development Goal number 7 sets a number of important targets, including increasing the share of renewable energy in human energy consumption and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency,” he said.

Nyarota also said developing renewable energy had many benefits for rural areas.

“Off the grid renewable sources of energy, such as wind farms and solar, can deliver cheaper and cleaner power than grid connections.

“It also creates jobs and brings a number of social benefits, such as access to information communication technology in schools and rural clinics,” said Nyarota.
New Ziana

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