Sustainable energy for rural Democratic Republic of the Congo

Date 15.10.2021

The Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been living for over 25 years a protracted and complex emergency situation due to tribal conflicts and clashes for the management of raw materials.

Despite this, in this part of the country, there is an island that has been able to create and develop a culture of peace. With strong community ties between its villages, Idjwi Island has consistently applied a non-violent method of conflict resolution. The local traditional authorities are the core of this system of intercommunal dialogue and mediation.

In this scenario of stability AVSI has been able to implement a rural electrification pilot project called ENRU, thanks to the precious collaboration of EnGreen and ESI s.p.a., two Italian companies that have been active for years in the energy sector.

The intervention, which is part of a cooperation program between the Italian government and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was made possible through the funding from the Italian Ministry of environment and ecological transition.

To date, in urban areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo only 17% of the population has access to electricity and in rural areas, such as the island of Idjwi, the percentage drops to 0.4% (World Bank data).

The objective of the ENRU project is to provide access to electricity produced from renewable and clean sources through the construction of a solar/hydroelectric mini-grid.

The ownership of the plant will then be transferred to the province of South Kivu, the administrative authority responsible for the island of Idjwi.

The energy produced will benefit about 450 families and several productive and commercial activities.

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The intervention will therefore represent a virtuous example of collaboration between the public and private sectors.

While ESI s.p.a and EnGreen handled the construction of the hydroelectric and solar mini-grid, AVSI has organized continuous training on the rational and productive use of electricity for both commercial activities and households, thanks to its experience in development actions to support communities.

With the aim of creating new income-generating activities, AVSI has carried out training courses in economic and financial management of enterprises.

ESI s.p.a. and EnGreen have transferred to local operators the necessary skills for the proper management of the plant, which will be carried out in close collaboration with the province of South-Kivu.

Thanks to this project AVSI, ESI s.p.a. and EnGreen have guaranteed access to electricity to the local community and a fundamental support to sustainable economic growth.

In fact, for AVSI, energy is not just a sector in itself, but a catalyst of integrated actions able to trigger a process of socio-economic growth for entire communities.