This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you not change browser settings, you agree to it. Learn more

I understand

Energy Program


ico ambiente internaimpiantoSustainable Community Based Rural Electrification through Hydro-power supply in 7 villages of Ludewa District, Tanzania



Tanzania, Region of Njombe, District of Ludewa, basin of the river Kisongo, Municipality of Mawengi, Madunda, Lupande, Kiwe, Mapogoro, Milo, Mavala, Mdete, Lufumbo, Mlangali.


From 2006 to 2014



In spite of the abundance of natural resources and a good production potential in the area of intervention (water, fertile soils, forests, favourable climate), factors like the absence of electricity, the adoption of environmentally aggressive farming practices (cut and burn), the scarse diversification and quality of the products, the limited access to the market and a low quality of public education represent the main barriers impeding social economic development of the area.

In 2006 ACRA, in partnership with the Tanzanian NGO NDO, the communities and local institutions implemented an integrated development program centred on the provision of renewable energies. The intervention also provides complementary activities to rural electrification, in particular in agriculture, protection of forests, water resource management, business development and education, with the aim to maximize the benefits of access to energy and sustainability of the service.

The program developed along various phases and was funded by various donors amongst which the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Lombard Region, the European Commission, the Rural Energy Agency (Tanzania) and private funds raised in partnership with Intervita Onlus.



The program develops in various areas adopting a participatory and integrated approach for the purpose of:

  • providing sustainable access to energy for 20,000 people in the district of Ludewa;
  • favour the socio-economic development of the rural communities Kisongo river basin;
  • promote the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • strengthen synergies between the different sectors of intervention and guarantee an effective response to the needs of the local stakeholders.



  • construction of a hydroelectric plant for the production of 300kW power and its distribution to 9 villages (1,400 connections including schools, health centres and public offices);
  • constitution of LUMAMA, community association responsible for the service and owner of the infrastructures; capacity building of members and staff employed;
  • reforestation of 250 hectares of land at risk of erosion in the catchment basin that feeds the system;
  • support to groups of local farmers for the startup of 18 demonstration farms for the sustainable production of avocado, pyrethrum, sunflowers and coffee;
  • support to 20 enterprises in the adoption of electric equipment for the transformation of agroforestry products and improvement of the quality of products for an improved access to the market;
  • rehabilitation and connection to the electric grid of 3 water supply systems;
  • rehabilitation of 13 classes in the primary schools of the area and refresher courses for the teaching staff.



Direct beneficiaries:

  • 4,360 students of 13 primary schools;
  • 823 children of 13 pre-schools;
  • 117 teachers of 13 primary schools 13 teachers of 13 preschools;
  • the members, staff and board of LUMAMA for a total of 1,400 people;
  • 138 members of the groups of farmers supported;
  • 1,174 families connected to the electric grid ( 5,870 people);
  • businesses connected to the electric grid: 59 production enterprises; 167 commercial enterprises;
  • 33 public services facilities connected to the grid (schools, dispensaries, hospitals and public offices).

Indirect beneficiaries:

  • the population of the target villages for a total of 22,000 people;
  • the population of the target villages involved in the farming and forestry activities for a total of 12,000 people.



The program focuses on the construction of a hydroelectric plant owned and managed by LUMAMA community based association with the support of ACRA. The intervention also supports the local institutions with regard to the territorial planning in the villages and the constitution of a committee for the integrated management of water resources of the basin. The initiative also assists groups of local farmers and entrepreneurs in the sustainable development of the agroforestry supply chain and the improvement of the transformation of products principally thanks to access to electric energy, provision of market information and technical and financial support. Access to electric energy enables also the connection to the plant of the existing water supply systems in the area for access to water all year round. Finally, the activities for the improvement of quality primary education are finalized at a long term sustainability of the initiative.
Amongst the other program impact and sustainability indicators, the most relevant are:

  • 50% reduction in the cost of milling maize in the project area;
  • reduction in erosion of soil and solid material transported in suspension by the Kisongo;
  • 50% increase in income deriving from farming activities for the families supported by the intervention;
  • 100% of costs for maintenance operation of the plants are covered by LUMAMA revenue;
  • LUMAMA is able to maintain the infrastructure and run the service efficiently and independently.


Total value:
  • 2.690.041 € project 7757/ACRA/TZA co-funded by MAE - 2005-2009
  • 889.134,00 € project 5PA07b co-funded by Region of Lombardy – 2007-2009
  • 541.034 € project privately funded thanks to the partner Intervita Onlus – 2009-2011
  • 1.380.000 € project privately funded thanks to the partner Intervita Onlus – 2011-2014
  • 1.834.106 € project FED/2011/266-812 co-funded by UE – 2011-2014
  • 413.950 € (approximately 517.000 USD) funded by REA - Rural Energy Agency (Tanzania) - 2012 - 2013 

Main donor:

mae Ministero degli Affari Esteri (MAE), Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs


ue European Commission


intervita Intervita Onlus


rea  REA - Rural Energy Agency (Tanzania)



Ministry of Energy and Mineral (Tanzania)


Region of Lombardy



  • CAST
  • Njombe Development Office – NDO
  • LUMAMA Electricity Association
  • SHIPO – Southern Highlands Participatory Organization


Beyond the project

>>> Lumama, a community-based social enterprise providing hydroelectric energy in Tanzania

>>> Watch "Energy Program" documentary produced in Tanzania

>>> Read program brochure