[FEATURED] How electricity has improved lives of Nyamasheke residents

Residents of Karengera and Ruharambuga sectors in Nyamasheke District have witnessed improved living conditions as a result of electricity connection made in both sectors a few months ago.

Several off-farm activities have been created in the areas among other entrepreneurial projects such as milling, hairdressing, welding, and photocopying services.

Also, the electricity has improved service delivery since three cell offices were connected. The cells include Miko, Mwezi and Higiro.

The beneficiaries of all kinds of ages including businessmen among other residents have welcomed the electricity connection and are optimistic that more services are likely to be created hence boosting employment opportunities.

Jean De Dieu Hanyurwumutima, 22, had spent a year without formal embayment despite having completed his studies.

Hanyurwumutima who hails from Muhoza village, Higiro cell of Karengera sector studied electricity at Groupe Scolaire Muganza in Nyamasheke District.

After graduating he embarked on hunting for jobs but was unlucky until he conceived the idea to start a barber shop in July this year.

He earns Rwf3,000 every day.

“When the electricity was being distributed in the area, different business ideas came into my mind. I decided to venture into haircutting. My business helps me to cater for basic needs. Previously, I used to depend on my parents but things are changing. When I was at school, I thought that pursue something that studied. People should not be enslaved by the similar thoughts especially the young one,” he said.

He advised his fellow youth to form cooperatives and start businesses instead of waiting for employment.

Alex Manirabona, a resident of Nyarusange village, Mwezi cell, operates a welding business.

It was difficulty for Manirabona since he would use a petroleum powered machines (engine) to wild materials in schools.

In the past when residents needed metal and iron bars, they would resort to Rusizi and Nyamagabe Districts, which made the materials very expensive.

 “Using a petroleum powered machines was expensive. We are now optimistic that we can make such materials from our home. The only issue that is affecting our businesses is the poor road network, which makes it hard to transport raw materials,” he said.

The metallic doors, which used to cost over Rwf150,000 from neighbouring now cost only Rwf100,000, making them more affordable to customers and hence increasing the number of customers.

Joseph Hakizamungu owns a milling machine at Muhora center in Higiro cell, Karengera sector. He mills maize and cassava.

Hakizamungu says that electricity has improved his family’s welfare and enabled him to fulfill parental duties.

Though his daily earnings are not stable, the businessman earns over Rwf70,000 to serve the family.

“Electricity has changed many things such as job creation, improving security, which t enables people to work for longer hours among many other benefits,” he added.

According to Zebulon Nsengiyumva, the Executive Secretary of Karengera Sector, the development has enabled people to embrace off-farm jobs.

 Nsengiyumva noted that every fiscal year, the government increases the number of people connected to electricity.

 “Obviously, there are many changes in various sectors such as education, governance, economy and security as a result of electricity. Offices, schools and commercial centers have been connected. Many businesses came into place and many more are expected to be created,” he said.

Residents would walk to other neighboring areas where electricity is accessed. We are happy that many households have been connected and we hope that the rest will also be connected as soon as possible under government plans, the official noted.

He added that the beneficiaries are encouraged to use the electricity to develop themselves as well as protecting the infrastructures.

“We always urge them to report on time any case that damages the infrastructures.”

Ernest Hagenimana, the manager of REG branch  in Nyamasheke District, said that the project to electrify Karengera and Ruharambuga sectors has benefited 2800 households.

“The project to distribute electricity in this area ended in August this year. 80 per cent of households in both sectors are now connected,” Hagenimana said.

During the 2018/2019 fiscal year, REG targets to connect 6146 households across the district

In the ongoing journey to reach the target of connecting all households in Rwanda by 2024, the percentage of access to electricity stands today at 46.46 per cent.

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