SNV in partnership with Practical Action and Dabane Trust is implementing the Sustainable Energy for Rural Communities (Mashaba Solar mini-grid) project in Gwanda, Matabeleland South. The project aims to improve access to modern energy services that contribute to better economic and social well-being of rural people in Gwanda, Zimbabwe.
On 23 April 2018, Practical Action's CEO Paul Smith Lomas visited the project for a familiarisation tour. Accompanied by SNV's advisors, C. Makuyana, R. Lunga and D. Sango, the team first visited the solar farm where he appraised the design and operation of the mini-grid. Later in the day, they visited the Rustler’s Gorge irrigation scheme (one of the three irrigation schemes that have been electrified) and some Energy Kiosks set up by the project for the selling of quality solar products. The tour ended with a visit to the Mashaba Clinic that now benefits from extended working hours and a cold storage capacity as a result of its electrification. The project also electrified a local school and a study center in its quest to improve education outcomes.
At the end of this familiarisation tour, Practical Action's CEO noted that, despite some initial challenges, the project guaranteed social, economic and health outcomes. In fact, the project improved agriculture production in the irrigation schemes, health delivery at the local clinic and educational outcomes.