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Public Gatherings
Real Life Story
Lighting the Village - Public gatherings initiate community mobilization
Practical Action
The people of Ndundu village, on the southern foothills of Mount Kenya are now generating
their own electricity with a small hydro scheme. They have planned and managed the project
themselves, with technical assistance from Practical Action.
Once it had been established that there was sufficient hydro potential from the village river,
the first community gathering was held to discuss the project concept. The objective of
holding the public gathering was to have a free discussion about the project, and to create
trust, rapport, confidence and commitment to sharing information.
The whole community was involved and they started to agree on issues to do with contributing
time and money, and the fair sharing of the future benefits from the scheme. The local area
administrative chief was present at this gathering.
As a result of this and other meetings, a
Community Electricity Association was formed
and a committee elected to manage the project
and oversee the operation of the scheme. A
written agreement was subsequently signed
between the community and the implementing
partners. It was agreed that all labour for the
project was to be provided by the community in
addition to the building materials required for the
intake and the turbine house. The community
members also decided that there should be a
connection fee once the turbine was
commissioned. This covered the costs of the
Community members outside the power
house. Practical Action East Africa
distribution cables, house wiring and energy saving light bulbs. The community association
was also required to register with the local government office and to open a bank account in
order to deposit local contributions towards meeting the project’s running costs.
Now 160 households are able to light their homes from this scheme and the community
knows how to maintain and manage the system.
"We did not believe it was possible to make electricity from such a small stream but this year
Ndundu village had its best Christmas ever."
Real Life Story courtesy of Practical Action East Africa
Further reading
Storytelling Practical Action Technical Brief
Community/Street drama Practical Action Technical Brief
Exposure Visits Practical Action Technical Brief
Posters Practical Action Technical Brief
Information, Communication, Learning selection of Practical Action Technical Briefs
Using Existing Mass Media Practical Action Technical Brief
Podcasting: Recording and Using Local Voices for Knowledge Sharing Practical Action Brief
Newsletters and Booklets Practical Action Technical Brief
Wall Newspapers Practical Action Technical Brief