In Rwanda, solar for cold storage, nursery school, and households.
Project: Smart, bright and cool: Juru goes Solar
Country & region/location: Rwanda, Juru Cell and Mugore Cell - Juru Sector, Bugesera District
Category: Energy & Community
SVF is running a pilot to develop a holistic village development model in Juru Sector south of Rwanda's capital, Kigali. In this region, despite over 80% of households relying on farming for their main income, food security and diversity remain major concerns. Limited financial means prevent families from buying food they can't grow, leading to inadequate food variety and malnutrition. Post-harvest losses due to inadequate storage infrastructure force quick, low-price sales when harvests exceed personal needs. Additionally, restricted access to buyers keeps selling prices low.
Moreover, the lack of electricity grid connectivity affects the area. While two villages have achieved 100% household electrification through SVF's previous solar-home-systems program, the neighbouring villages hover just above 50% electrification. The absence of electricity creates challenges, particularly in the evenings when darkness impedes children from studying or doing homework.
Furthermore, early childhood education faces hurdles. Children aged 2-5, in preparation for primary school, lack structured care, with some under inadequate supervision while their parents work. Some receive informal early childhood education in cramped, ill-equipped settings, often without consistent access to nutritious food.
To enhance its holistic development model, SVF plans to implement key initiatives:
- Establishing an agricultural aggregation center equipped with solar-powered cold storage and storage facilities. The cold storage will have compartments that can be rented by farmers This center, operated by a local cooperative or company, aims to improve market access for farmers, reduce post-harvest losses, increase income, and ensure better food security.
- Electrification of households through 430 small solar systems, including lamps, a radio, and phone charging capabilities via USB. This initiative organized through local savings groups, targets achieving 100% electrification in Juru Cell and a significant increase of electrification rate in neighbouring Mugorore Cell.
- Expanding the existing one-classroom nursery school l in Rugarama Village, initially built by SVF in 2023 for a maximum of 50 children with proper teachers and nutritious food for lunch. The expansion includes two classrooms, an upgraded kitchen, and a partially covered outdoor area with a playground, for 150 children. The rain-water based drinking water solution will be enlarged as well. Additionally, training programs for stakeholders (teachers, parents, cooks, school director, local authorities) and the establishment of a child rights policy will ensure holistic development.
- An agricultural aggregation center, including solar-powered cold storage, is constructed and operating, enabling the increase of income of small-holder farmers of 6 villages
- Setting up of a cooperative with 50 members and training of operators and farmers will build up the local capacity to operate the aggregation center and to establish a connection to regional markets
- 430 additional households are electrified, reaching 100% electrification rate in Juru Cell and an increased electrification rate in Mugorore Cell
- Another 100 young children attend the nursery school, get proper pre-school education and nutritious food for lunch, improving early childhood development