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WWF equips households in the city of Sake / Masisi in the Virunga landscape in the DRC with solar kits and biogas digesters

With an opulent hydrography, the DRC could easily claim an hydroelectric potential of high capacity (estimated at 100,000 megawatts), i.e. ± 13% of the global hydropower potential. Despite this huge potential, a largest part of the country remains without electricity.

Rate of access to electricity for populations in rural areas is 1.0%, 30.0% for cities and only 6.0% nationwide while the average in Sub-Saharan Africa is 24.6%. % (Source: Atlas of the Ministry of Hydraulic Resources).

Domestic energy  supply remains a major concern for Congolese populations. They are forced to resort to firewood and charcoal to meet their energy needs. The province of North Kivu and the city of Goma, capital of the province, are no exception, facing the same issue of electricity deficit as other provinces in the country.

Energy needs of population are therefore one of the key drivers of deforestation around the large city of Goma in eastern DRC. Goma is part of various landscapes where WWF implements activities to tackle illegal forests exploitation in the Virunga National Park as part of its EcoMakala project.

For this purpose, since March 2019, a new initiative has been added to the range of activities intended to cover the energy needs of populations and contribute significantly to this fight, which is the distribution of digesters for domestic biogas production and solar kits by WWF-DRC to promote sustainable energy use in households.

 Mr. MARTIN KABALUAPA, WWF-DRC Country Director officially and symbolically donated a full Solar Kit to the population of Sake on Wednesday 09 October 2019; the solar kit was received by the Mwami (Traditional Chief) of Kamuronza Chiefdom, Mr. BAUMA BISIBU WABULENDA.

Overall, 39 solar kits and biogas digesters were delivered to households in the city of Sake / Masisi in the Virunga landscape in the DRC.

Solar energy is clean and free energy. The solar photovoltaic kit in self consumption allows to consume all the day the energy produced by the sun's rays.
Biogas is a gas composed mainly of methane produced by the decomposition of organic animal or vegetable waste in the absence of oxygen. Production process is perfectly natural and can be used as fuel. To produce biogas, organic matter (household waste, plant or animal waste) is contained in a tank or enclosure called a digester, where it is decomposed by anaerobic microbes, that is to say microbes developing due to lack of oxygen. When biogas is produced in a digester, it is easily recoverable. The gas then collected can operate a stove for cooking food.

‘’My family is very happy and thanks WWF for being among beneficiaries of this project said Mr. JOSEPH KIANA head of household in the village of Luhonga locality, near the park. With the solar panel I no longer use my oil lamp since I have light in my house. The biogas stove cooks quickly and my wife has significantly reduced firewood and charcoal frequency use for cooking.’’

For THIERRY LUSENGE, Acting WWF East programs Director, this project supported by the BELGIAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION / DGD within the framework of Sustainable management of wood resources and energy  saving in households  an appropriate time  to ensure a more active participation of  people living around the park in the fight against deforestation. Sake is an experimental pilot phase and the project could be extended to other sites around Virunga National Park, he added.

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