People in Rwanda are still suffering from the aftermath of the genocide. The rural population in particular has no access to electrical infrastructure. Therefore, villages have to use diesel generators that are harmful to the environment and health.
The community of Mushubi will be provided with solar energy. With this energy there is no harm to health or the environment and no resources are wasted. Electrification creates the conditions for economic and social development of the community.
During the 1970s, the central African country of Rwanda was a blueprint for developmental help. Countless NGOs and non-profit organisations (particularly Christian missionaries) worked on-the-ground, pursuing and realising various projects. When it came to ethnic differences—which eventually led to serious unrest—many turned a blind eye for decades. After the 1994 genocide, where one million people were killed in Rwanda and Burundi in less than a week, the initiatives stopped. Slowly, new contacts are being made, but reestablishment of what once was is a lengthy and cautious process as the residents still wrestle with a deep mistrust of each other and the West.
For 10 years, the parish of St Petrus in Bonn has had a partnership with the parish community of Mushubi/Bushigishigi. People have learned from the mistakes of the past and will now confront their current situation with European assistance. The village is looking to modernise in an integrated, communal way with villagers assisted in areas of sustainable development.
The partnership oversees a regular, direct information exchange via German contact people operating in Rwanda. An electricity supply is a prerequisite for a number of economic development principles such as the expansion of agricultural production leading to the sale of regional products in cities. Electricity also promotes communication which can provide access to education and job opportunities while light sources offer a means to study at night. Healthcare is also vastly improved when deployed using electrical devices. Therefore, the project “Sun for Mushubi” works towards electrifying the villages and equipping the communities with solar panels.
This sets in process a holistic approach to development which encompasses the following goals:
1. To improve quality of life for residents through allocation of electric power for lighting, operation of telecommunications devices such as computers and radios, machine engines and a power supply for healthcare stations.
2. To offer evening teaching sessions and help raise the education and training of community members.
3. To strengthen the economic development of the Mushubi community through the construction of small business operations.
4. To train young people in areas such as craftsmanship and sales so that eventually they will be able to overtake responsibility for the construction and maintenance of the solar panels.
5. To establish income-generating opportunities for women through the distribution and construction of services.
To help supply electricity to the community, standardised solar supply packages in various sizes will be used, the intended purpose of each (i.e. for private households or public buildings) containing different benefits. These solar panels are robust and are essentially produced in Central Africa. Public buildings and infrastructure should first be supplied with solar energy including the St. Etienne community centre in Mushubi, the Mushubi parish and the Mushubi primary school.
The next steps will be to establish a network of responsible people within the community who are trained and skilled to undertake planning, assembly and maintenance of the panels, construction of a buying and acquisitions chain and the development a solar workshop with a warehouse as the central operating unit. Photovoltaic panels for Mushubi’s secondary school were already financed in 2009 and 2010.
The Mushubi circle of friends
The congregation of St. Petrus (formerly congregation of St. Marien) in Bonn has had a partnership with the parish Mushubi / Bushigishigi for 10 years. People have learned from the mistakes of the past and will now confront their current situation with European assistance. As well as development cooperation and cultural exchange, the partnership aims to make a worldwide church possible for others to experience and to gain a fertile exchange with Christians from a totally different cultural circle.
Klaus von Stosch Telefon 0228 / 22 08 02