The Rural Electrification Authority (REA) is impressed with the use of hydro energy at the Mayaana grid extension project.
The installation of hydro power in the community, according to REA Board Chairperson Johnstone Chikwanda, has boosted the existing economic activities of the local people.
Energy, according to Mr Chikwanda, is an important pillar in poverty eradication because it allows people to engage in social economic activities, which ultimately improves livelihoods.
Speaking when he visited Manyaana Grid Extension Project in Mazabuka, Mr Chikwanda said the project cost over K690 thousand with an expected beneficiary of more than three thousand people.
He said the place has recorded an increase in small scale micro activities such as maize milling, retail trading and alcohol beverage entrepreneurial.
“After completion, the project benefitted a catchment population of 3,005 and supplied electricity to 38 initial connections and after completion of the project this has increased with the inclusion of private households and small scale enterprises,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda, however bemoaned vandalism of infrastructure which he said is a drawback to government’s efforts in improving the lives of people especially in rural areas.
Mr Chikwanda assured the local population in Manyaana area that the authority will continue to visit and monitor its projects as it allows the board to get firsthand information from beneficiaries and see how the project is fairing.
And REA Local Committee Chairperson for Manyaana area Shadrick Mwiinga thanked REA for bringing electricity closer to the people.
Mr Mwiinga confirmed that the project created jobs for the youths who are able to store milk for selling as well venture into broiler chicken rearing.
He informed the REA board Chairperson that schools have also benefited from learning and practicing computer lessons which is now part of their academic syllabus.
Mr Mwiinga disclosed that government has even donated five computers to Manyaana primary school in an effort to enhance computer lessons at the school.
He disclosed that ZESCO will soon connect power to Manyaana Health Center which is key the wellbeing of the local people.
Meanwhile, Manyaana Health Center Sister-In-charge Betty Mwiinga explained that the facility has been experiencing many challenges which include storage of some drugs.
Mrs Mwiinga said the health center would in the past store medicines at another health facility with electricity.
She further explained that the health center also depended on flashlights from cellular phones when delivering babies at night.
She was happy that connecting power to the health center will improve service delivery to the local people and make their work easier.
The Manyaana Grid Extension Project was commissioned on April 5, 2019 with an initial plan of supplying electricity to government institutions only, however, due to the demand for electricity in the area, ZESCO has planned to extend the network to the entire area.