Communities benefit from Livelihood Restoration Program

Finding an alternative source of livelihood is very important for the people of Rusumo arealocated at the border between Ngara district in Tanzania and Kirehe district in Rwanda. The community here was affected by the construction of the 80MW regional Rusumo Falls hydroelectric plant project on the Kagera River at the Rusumo Falls.

The Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFHP) steered compensation and resettlement of about169 households in the districts of Kirehe(Rwanda) and Ngara (Tanzania)before construction activitiesbegin. Of these, 61 households are from Rwanda andfrom 108 Tanzania.

At least 127 Rwandan and 227 Tanzanian Project Affected Persons (PAPs) have benefitedfrom the Livelihood Restoration Program (LRP) in terms of capacity development in community procurement of goods and services as well as finance skills for the compensation cash prior to the disbursement.

All LRP activities focus on agriculture; livestock and off-farming development.The program, whichis worth about USD 711,000 before construction,commenced in February 2017 and will conclude in 2020 upon which it is expected to have impacted the socio-economic lives of the Project Affected Persons.

AfisaMuhawenimana, from Kirehe, Rwanda, is the Secretary for the Community of Project Affected People (CPAP). She shares her excitement:"PAPs were sensitized on the benefits of working as a group instead of working alone.Now, we are an organized group with a vision and hope.This has built our confidence”.

The LRP in Tanzania promoted commercial rabbit farming as one of the livestock development activities.Laurent Lazaro together with his wife and two childrenwas resettled in Nyakahanga, Rusumo area in Tanzania. Hereceived training in rabbit farming by specialized trainers."I am certain that this activity will add value to my family's income; rabbits reproduce after five months. I am now targeting suppliers in restaurants and schools", he said.

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For Lazaro's wife, just like mostwomen in Rwanda and Tanzania PAPs,she enrolled fortailoring. The training schedule allows the womento do other homechoresand has also contributed to bringing the women together and creating teamwork.

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Construction of the Regional Rusumo Falls hydroelectric project was officially launched on 30 March, 2017and is expected to be commissioned in February, 2020.

Project benefits

The project will generate 80 megawatts of renewable, clean, relatively low cost power to be shared equally among Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania, with each getting an additional 26.6 megawatts directly connected to their respective national grid through the transmission lines. At least 1, 146,000 people will benefit from the additional power; 5.4% (520,000) in Burundi, 4% (467,000) in Rwanda and 0.34% (159,000) in Tanzania.

Besides leading to an increase in economic activity, improved access to renewable clean energy will have positive effects on the environment, while the relatively inexpensive electricity will contribute to foreign exchange savings and improved balance of payments since the power generated will replace imported petroleum products.

At the regional level, the transmission lines will form a 'backbone system' that will link the Great Lakes region allowing power exchange with Eastern DR Congo as well as other Nile Equatorial Lakes countries and later to the Southern Africa Power Pool, thus facilitating power trade among Member States and beyond and improving regional power supply reliability.

Other benefits are support to regional and political cooperation, enhancing regional integration, as well as peace and stability among the Nile Equatorial Lakes countries through shared facilities and development of common energy and water policies.
Among the immediate benefits creation of jobs for 500 people as well as improved access roads, to be built during construction.

Louise-Andree Ndayizeye
Communication Officer
Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project, Rwanda