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27 January Jan 2020 0907 27 January 2020

Burundi: working to end energy poverty in rural areas

Thanks to European Union funds, during the next three years we will contribute to the achievement of the 7th goal of the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development: ensure access to affordable and sustainable energy to all.

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In Burundi, 10 million people still live without electricity. This is more than just a question of generalized energy poverty. This is also a question of energy inequity: there is a big divide between the urban and rural areas where less than 2% of people access to modern energy (compared to 49.7% of the cities).

The wide-ranging impact of energy poverty on Burundi’s development drove our team to develop the EU-funded project «Contribution à la résilience intégrée de communautés rurales à travers l’accès à l’énergie durable» implemented in partnership with Norwegian Church Aid.

Limited access to energy affects communities in many ways: it contributes for example to extensive deforestation, indoor air pollution, poor health services and limited learning opportunities. Efforts to address the main challenges affecting rural areas could all be accelerated if energy is available.

What we are going to do

The project launched at the end of 2019 aims at ensuring access to affordable and sustainable energy in three rural provinces: KAYANZA (Communes Kayanza, Matongo, Muruta and Butaganzwa), NGOZI (Communes Mwumba and Gashikanwa) and KIRUNDO (Communes Ntega and Vumbi).

By three years:

  • 8,000 families will access to solar energy
  • 11,000 families will adopt the “improved cook-stove”: an healthier and more efficient cooking solution which reduces domestic waste, consumption and expenditure for families on biomass fuel (mainly firewood and charcoal) .
  • In 11 Health Centers, photovoltaic systems will be installed
  • 25 schools will be provided with energy Hubs

In order to achieve the mentioned goals, we will replicate and adapt the market-based distribution of improved cook-stoves that we have been successfully experimented in Mozambique since 2014 and in Uganda since 2017. AVSI Burundi will start four improved-cook-stoves production centers, will train 56 technicians and will launch two micro-finance institutions.

How energy can boost sustainable development

Provision of safe, affordable energy solutions at household level will increase security in households, as well as economic savings. Access to electricity will enable hospitals and health centers to not only light up their buildings, but also to use essential equipment and guarantee proper care to around 170,000 people. Provision of electricity to schools will help improve the learning environment for 20.584 pupils, and 411 teachers.

Moreover, the project will pave the way for reducing wood consumption and spread of renewable energy use.