“The Success of Cheeba”
As Zambia continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, KiloWatts for Humanity (KWH) is redoubling efforts to bring sustainable, renewable energy to communities in this African nation. To date, KWH has helped bring power to five separate Zambia communities: Chalokwa, Filibaba, Munyama, Kanchomba, and Cheeba. KWH’s longstanding partner in this mission is Caritas Monze, the rural development branch of the Diocese of Monze, which works in Kanchomba, Cheeba and throughout southern Zambia. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Father Zulu, Caritas Monze’s new director of development, to discuss the successes of the sustainable energy project in Cheeba managed by the Kafue Lower Women’s Group.
“With the support of KiloWatts for Humanity and Caritas Monze, Cheeba has been like the role model, the way they have embraced these projects,” says Fr Zulu emphatically. “Looking at what the community has implemented, the possibilities that they have shown, Cheeba is taking advantage of its access to electricity. They are able to improve upon their business activities, including storing groceries and other perishable goods.”
Now having reliable access to power, community members in Cheeba are seeing tangible growth in the local economy and an improvement in their everyday activities. The power supplied by the solar kiosk has allowed the Cheeba community to fundraise for additional refrigeration, and they are now reaping the economic benefits of having neighboring communities come to Cheeba to purchase refrigerated goods. “Recently, each household was able to receive 1,000 Zambian kwacha, which is significant for these families,” says Fr. Zulu. “This money is then used to improve their own homes, and to even buy school supplies for the children.”
Sustainable energy has been so well embraced in Cheeba that the belief is that other communities would welcome the opportunity to have this access to power. “Other communities would want to follow what has been done in Cheeba” mentions Father Zulu. The successes of sustainable energy projects in Cheeba have given communities in the region a glimpse of how a well-organized community group in collaboration with KWH and Caritas Monze, can create a powerful positive impact on their local economy, well-being, and quality of life.
Cheeba has taken full advantage of the sustainable electricity it now has access to, and is the model to follow. “Cheeba is the bright star.”