FEATURED: Ruhango residents buoyed by increased access to electricity

Groupe Scolaire Ntongwe in Ntongwe sector was connected to electricity in October. The school is witnessing change. / Frederic Byumvuhore

Five schools, 10 trading centres, three cell offices, a coffee cooperative and health centre are some of the facilities that were connected to the national grid last week, adding impetus to the country’s efforts to attain universal access to electricity by 2024.

The move is part of the electrification project being implemented in four sectors of Ruhango district, which include Bweramana, Ntongwe, Kinazi and Ruhango.

The schools that were connected are Groupe Scolaire Ntongwe, Ecole Primaire Gikoma, Groupe Scolaire Nyarurama, Groupe Scolaire Gisali and Ecole Primaire Gako.

Some 3600 households have already been connected across the district. Rwanda Energy Group (REG) targets to connect 7,500 households in Ruhango district in the 2018/2019 fiscal year.

Access to electricity in the district has fuelled the birth of various entrepreneurial projects, ranging from milling plants, saloons to welding and stationary shops.

Groupe Scolaire Ntongwe in Ntongwe sector was established in 1957 and was connected to electricity last month. The school has over 1,500 students from nursery level to Twelve Year Basic Education.

According to Frederic Habimana, its Headmaster, they are already witnessing change.

“We used to struggle to get some services such as printing exams and school reports. We were behind. The One laptop per child programme sounded like a dream because we could not ask for them without electricity,” he said.

Habimana noted that the development will ease the cost of preparing teaching material and exams.

Now the school plans to set up a computer laboratory to help teach students ICT course.

“Soon, we will receive computers since we have power. Access to electricity is helping the students to study ICT related courses. Teachers started to prepare their studies using laptops among other activities,” Habimana.

Since 2016, Gako Health Centre in Ntongwe sector has been dealing with numerous operational challenges.

Gako Health Centre in Ntongwe sector got electricity last month. / Frederic Byumvuuhore

Health workers say that access to electricity has improved the centre’s ability to serve patients and enhanced their working conditions.

Before the health Centre received electricity in November this year, Jean Pierre Ndayisenga, a nurse, used use his phone touch as the source of light while attending to patients during evening and night hours.

“Within two years, our services were not effective. During the evening hours or cloudy days the microscope would not work properly because it requires effective light,” he said.

He added that they never used to have computers to record the patients’ biodata or search for their basic information about health insurance (Mituelle de Sante).

Alexandre Twagirimana, the Headmaster of Groupe Scolaire Gisali in Kinazi sector, said that in a trimester the school would spend over Rwf1 million on printing and photocopying exams as well as school reports.

“We used to spent time and money travelling to other centres to seek services that require power,” he said.

He added that the money saved will be spent on the school feeding programme.

Valens Habarurema, the Mayor of Ruhango district, urged the residents to protect the infrastructure to ensure sustainable development.

Valens Habarurema, the Mayor of Ruhango district asked the residents to protect the facilities.

The Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Energy Group and he Mayor of Ruhango district after launching electrification project in Ruhango.

The Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Energy Group (REG), Eng. Ron Weiss, said that REG will keep on working hard to meet its target to ensure the sustainable development of the country.

“Rwanda Energy Group will keep on contributing to the Districts’ performance contracts. Our target is to succeed in everything we do to develop the country,” Weiss added.

In the ongoing journey to reach the target of connecting all households in Rwanda by 2024, the percentage of access to electricity in Ruhango District stands today at 38.2 per cent.

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