Elizabeth Mukwimba M-Power customer farming 01
Elizabeth Mukwimba is a 62-year-old Tanzanian smallholder farmer who now has solar lighting and a cleaner cookstove in her home, thanks to schemes backed by UK aid.
Elizabeth has had an M-Power solar panel and lights fitted in her home by Off Grid Electric, a private sector company dedicated to providing sustainable, affordable energy to people in developing countries who aren't connected to the electricity grid.
It means that Elizabeth now has lighting at home at night, which means she doesn't have to buy expensive kerosene. The money she's saved already has helped her put a new tin roof on her house. It also means her grandchildren can read and do their homework in the evening.
She also has a 'clean cookstove', as seen in this picture. These cookstoves provide a safer, more durable and energy efficient means of cooking as opposed to traditional open fire cooking. The ceramic, metal-encased design means that much smaller amounts of wood or charcoal are needed, thus reducing the amount of time and money people need to spend on procuring fuel. The design is therefore also much healthier, producing much less smoke or carbon monoxide.
"I feel much better because of the solar lighting and the cookstove", says Elizabeth.
"Before, I sometimes had to choose between buying vegetables to eat, or buying kerosene to light the lamps with at night. Sometimes we used to have to rely just on matches for lighting in the dark.
"But now I'm not having to buy kerosene and the cookstove uses much less fuel, so I'm saving money and not worrying so much about how to provide for my family. It means I can start to save money to hopefully build a new house in the future".
In less than 2 years, Off Grid Electric has installed solar power systems in over 22,000 homes across Tanzania, meaning many more people now have access to cheap, renewable electricity - a vital step forward in a country where less than 14% of the population are connected to the electricity grid.
The Tanzania Improved Cook Stoves programme, implemented by the Dutch NGO SNV, aims to provide improved cooking facilities for 45,000 people in Tanzania's Lake Zone region by 2017. 28,500 people have already benefitted.
Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development.