Clean Electricity for 700 Households and Clinics in Rural Communities of Lesotho
March 3, 2023
In the past years before July 2022, the nursing staff at Tlhanyaku health center in the mountainous Mokhotlong district of Lesotho were not able to use electrical medical equipment because of lack of electricity at the health center “Our health center is fully equipped with modern medical equipment such as ultra-sound, digital x-ray, mobile oxygen, CTG machine and baby-warmer but we hardly used all these machines due to lack of power supply at the health center”, Lulang Lekhanya, a Nurse Midwife at Tlhanyaku health center explains.
Thanks to OnePower, power generation at the Tlhanyaku Health Centre was upgraded in July 2022.
“Before OnePower electrified the clinic, we were not able to use the baby-warmer machine as it required more energy. It was a challenge for us and the mothers who came here to deliver their babies. Sometimes we had to tend deliveries at night and one was obliged to go outside to start the generator first and then come back to the delivery room to be able to use the baby-warmer.”, laments Lekhanya.
“We are now able to use all medical equipment because we have more electricity at the health center.” explains Lekhanya happily. She further explains that they also use the surplus electricity to light the nursing staff and patients’ houses at the clinic including using electric appliances such as kettles and irons
In Tlhanyaku, OnePower did not only connect the clinic to the grid but it also electrified one household next to the clinic. The owner of the household, Lilahloane Ngoako is a housewife and runs a small shop located within her yard. “We feel very lucky because we are the first household to be electrified here in Tlhanyaku together with the clinic.” says Ngoako. “Our life has really improved. We use the electricity to do so many things like lighting the house at night, and the children are able to study at night without any problem. I also keep my house and shop groceries in the deep freezer”. Ngoako explains. She continues to tell us that before OnePower electrified their household she used LPG gas to run her deep freezer.
At least a total of 24 villages are planned to be electrified in Tlhanyaku from a power generation house (100KW) that is being constructed in a small village of Likhang.
Besides Tlhanyaku, OnePower is constructing more solar powered mini-grids in Matsoaing in Mokhotlong, Mashai and Sehonghong in Thaba-Tseka, Sehlabathebe and Lebakeng in Qacha’s Nek, Tosing and Sebapala in Quthing, Ketane in Mohale’s Hoek and Ribaneng in Mafeteng. The mini-grids are expected to electrify and benefit about 7 000 households in the selected villages in Lesotho. “The United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 calls for universal access to modern energy services,” said Nessie Golakai-Gould, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Lesotho. “Only 47 percent of Lesotho’s population has access to electricity. In the rural areas, only 11.4 percent have access to power. It is very important for rural communities to have access to electricity”.
The construction of the mini-grids has been generously supported with the funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the tune of US $900,000.00. Additional funding totaling M150 million was sourced by OnePower Lesotho. This project is implemented by the Department of Energy under the Sustainable Energy for All project with the support from UNDP Lesotho.