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Badakshan province in Aghanistan. Photo: Bruce Clark/Tearfund

There's power in them there hills

By Mark Lang | 15 Mar 2016

Over a lunch of naan bread and fried eggs, village elder Abdul Sayed reveals what difference electricity has made to his Afghan community.

Natural beauty is one thing the people of Afghanistan’s Badakshan province have in abundance because they’re surrounded by searing hills, deep valleys and views that stretch for miles.

Electricity is much less evident. The pockets of central and provincial governments do not run deep and the necessary infrastructure just isn’t there.

That means locals rely on expensive and foul-smelling oil lamps, which cost each family about £7-a-month, to provide some dim light in the evenings.

Newly constructed power lines for the village of Talbuzang in Afghanistan.

Pylons in the village of Talbuzang. Photo: Bruce Clark/Tearfund

'Now we have light'

However, with Tearfund’s support, lamps are increasingly becoming redundant. A partner is working with communities to create 325 micro hydro power plants.

The village of Talbuzang is one of those to benefit, as school head and village elder Sayed Ayub testified:  ‘Before we were in darkness, now we have light,’ he said.

He went onto explain about the economic and social changes the new electricity supply has brought.

Children now have decent light to do their homework, women highly value how cooking is easier, while a carpenter testifies to how he can work longer each day.

Our partner’s renewable energy project is undoubtedly improving lives in this isolated area
Bruce Clark, Tearfund Country Representative for Afghanistan

Uniting the community

Bruce Clark, Tearfund’s Afghanistan Country Representative, who recently returned from visiting Talbuzang, said, ‘This is one of the poorest and least accessible regions of the country, but our partner’s renewable energy project is undoubtedly improving lives in this isolated area.

‘As well as the economic benefits, the process of agreeing and installing a micro hydro plant helps unite the community.

‘Locals have to agree to help with the logistics of transporting the turbine and other equipment to the area. They also create a committee to take responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the power plant after Tearfund partner’s local engineers and community members finish and test the installation.’

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Written by Mark Lang

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