The 88kW Bondo micro-hydro scheme located near the Mulanje Plateau has been providing electricity for households and key community buildings since May 2013. The system consists of a dam on the river, a canal and pipe carrying water to the penstocks and a generating building. Power from the generator is supplied to four remote village communities, cut off from the main Malawi electrical grid. Key buildings which are connected include a health centre, a school and several maize mills as well as a shop and numerous private houses.
During the site visit we spoke with the Nurse/Midwife at the health centre who does an amazing job making sure women are cared for before, during and after childbirth. He is on call 24 hours a day because expectant mothers turn up out of the blue. The hydro scheme has meant electric lighting is now possible, this has made night time births much easier and safer. In addition, safe surgical treatments are possible with a proper light source. Previously these were either impossible or incredibly risky.
Finally, by providing electricity to the health centre it has become a more attractive location to work since its is better and safer than similar facilities which currently have no power. It has given greater confidence to the nurse to perform a greater range of procedures and has made childbirth safer for the many women in the Bondo region.