Sometimes problems come from left field and upset the best laid plans. It happens everywhere and often enough for anyone budgeting a project to know they should include a contingency.
One of our partners - a civil society organisation called SOCODI - did exactly that when budgeting the installation of a micro hydro electric power station on the Bishalalo River just south of Nyangezi. We know because we are investing in the business and of course we went through the plans in detail.
Work to construct channels and pipes had started and was well underway when some local men started digging out boulders from the banking next to the installation. Their digging threatens to undermine the cliff on top of which the channels for carrying water have been constructed.
The men don’t care because the promise of electricity in the future does not compete with their need to earn money today. So they carry the boulders to the roadside and there they smash them with a hammer to create fragments for use as hardcore. A small truckload takes one person a month of work, for which they will earn $90. That’s a pretty good wage in these parts.
SOCODI have bigger plans. They live in the area and they know that the Bishalalo Falls can provide electricity for the clinics, schools and businesses as well as the households in Nyangezi, which would be an amazing step forward. So they are now building a reinforced wall to protect the bank.
It’s tough on the budget and it’s tough on the men who bash the stones, but it will be even tougher on the community if the promise of electricity is cancelled out by their actions. So we are building the wall and moving forward and hopefully the station will be producing electricity in time for Christmas.