Discover how restoring stable power has transformed lives in Hawija and boosted economic growth.
Energizing Hawija's future
March 5, 2023
Abboud Taha, a father of four who operates an automobile repair shop in Hawija Industrial Area, has seen a significant improvement in his business since the power supply was stabilized.
"The power supply has been a game-changer for us. It used to flicker and fail constantly, but now we can operate our equipment without interruption," says Abboud, highlighting the stability of the power supply.
However, this was not always the case.
During the ISIL conflict in 2015, the industrial zone was left devastated, and the power supply was disrupted. This affected not only businesses but also residents, who had to endure prolonged power outages, unstable voltage, and poor-quality electricity.
In 2021, UNDP’s flagship program, the Funding Facility for Stabilization, partnered with local authorities to rehabilitate and manufacture the mobile substation and electricity network across the industrial area. The project aimed to bring stability to the power supply, improve the quality of life, and enable businesses to resume their economic activity.
The electrical distribution network directly benefits over 2,600 people, including around 1,650 workers in various businesses and over 700 residents. Additionally, the stable power supply indirectly benefit over 345,000 people living in the surrounding area, thanks to reinvigorated economic activity.
Prior to this, like others in the area, Abboud’s business had to rely heavily on its generators, leading to high fuel costs and losses. But today, his workshop has reduced fuel consumption from 100 to 20 liters a week. "The stable power supply has enabled our business to grow and become more profitable. We are looking to expand our operations further," he says, with a smile.
Just a short walk from Abboud's workshop is a bustling falafel restaurant, the only one in the area. During lunchtime, the eatery becomes a hub of activity, serving delicious falafel to patrons, providing a much-needed break from the day's work.
Speaking to the owner, Faisal Ali Saleh, he shared his plans to expand the restaurant and add new dishes to the menu, including shawarma, thanks to the stable power supply. "We used to experience constant power outages and had to close the restaurant on several occasions. But now, with the stable power supply, we can stay open and serve our customers better," he shares.
The work included the installation of 325 electricity poles, 20 transformers, and over 37 kilometres of cables. Additionally, a mobile substation was manufactured and installed to stabilize the power supply, enabling all equipment to function properly. "Our aim was to provide a stable electricity supply to residents, allow businesses to operate throughout the day, and reinvigorate the local economy," adds Kamaran Yasin, UNDP's electrical engineer responsible for the project.
The stable power supply has also encouraged small and medium factories to restart their operations. "Our heavy machinery and equipment were being severely damaged due to the fluctuating and sometimes inadequate power supply," says Abdulkareem Mohammad Abdallah, who owns a turnery that produces small water pumps and agricultural tools. Abdulkareem's turnery is now fully operational and profitable, and he is hoping to acquire additional tools to expand operations.
The stable power supply has not only enabled businesses to reduce their costs but also improved the quality of life for residents. "The quality of the electricity was bad and didn't even operate home appliances. The voltage was weak, and it is better now," notes Zaki Mohammed Saeed, a resident. The power supply is now stable, and the area receives approximately 17 hours of electricity daily.
The rehabilitation of the mobile substation and electricity network has been a beacon of hope for the area, bringing stability to the power supply and transforming lives. Businesses are growing, costs have been reduced, and the quality of life has improved.
The project was implemented through UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization, with support from the Government of the Netherlands.
To date, UNDP has completed nearly 3,500 stabilization projects, laying the foundation for the successful reintegration of displaced populations into the community. These projects aim to rebuild essential infrastructure, restore basic services, and create job opportunities in areas affected by the ISIL.