FEATURED: How electrification is changing livelihoods of Ngoma residents

Ngoma District is one of the districts of the Eastern Province that are currently benefiting from the ongoing electrification project funded by the Belgian Government with an aim to improve access to reliable on-grid electricity services for households and priority public institutions.

The project has so far helped to deliver electricity to 2,652 households in Ngoma district with a target to connect 8,000 households in this fiscal year. Among other districts that are benefiting from the project include Kayonza and Kirehe. Under the project, infrastructures such as schools, administrative offices, hospitals, and commercial centers have been connected across the district.

According to Jean de Dieu Ndaruhutse, Executive Secretary of Nyaruvumu cell in Rukira sector, electricity connectivity is accelerating development in various areas. He said that more business projects have been initiated as result of the electricity, adding that more youth are now active in small projects. “Electricity changes many things. It is a good factor for development. Electrification has increased the value of our area like the value of land and houses. Obviously, the lives of people are changing,”Ndaruhutse added.

Bonaventure Kwizera, a resident of Gatonde Cell in Kibungo sector, said that electricity had reduced the costs of candles the family would spend, adding that activities such as welding, shaving, and milling, among others, are helpful to the community in general. He also added that electricity will help his children to revise their studies and improve their performance at school.

Another resident of Rukira sector, Viateur Sindambiwe, has established a barber shop at Isangano center. He earns Rwf 3,000 every day. He plans to expand the business and work with more youth. “It is now two weeks since the electricity has been distributed in the area. When I heard news that we were about to get electricity, I thought of a project that could benefit me and decided to establish a barber shop.  I started saving with the vision to expand my business,” he said. The residents are also optimistic now that more services have been established to enable them get services nearby. Previously, residents would get the services from neighbouring sectors.

For Gakire Nsekanabo, who owns a milling machine, the electricity has created an opportunity to develop his family. “We did not have facilities to mill our grains. We are happy that today we have electricity to help us get milled foodstuff to nurture our children and fight malnutrition. There were a few machines that used fuel but they were too expensive and not sufficient,” he said.

 Benoit Niyonkuru, the manager of REG branch in Ngoma District, said that the project is benefiting five sectors including Kibungo, Rukira, Murama, Mutindiri and Kazo. Last year, over 4,000 households were connected to the national electrical grid across the district. In the ongoing journey to connect all households in Rwanda by 2024, access to electricity in Ngoma district stands at 46 per cent, on-grid and off-grid. Niyonkuru encouraged the residents to make use of the facilities and protect them for sustainability. “We encourage the beneficiaries to protect these facilities and avoid any illegal activity that can harm this infrastructure as it is punishable by the law and it hinders the development of the country,” he said.

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