Lighting Up Flores Island
East Nusa Tenggara is one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia. Nearly one in three people have no access to electricity. In Manggarai, on Flores Island, 600,000 people still live in darkness. When the sun goes down, children study by a single candle and women work around the home without the safety of light. But a micro-hydro power plant has now changed the lives of hundreds of people.
It started in 2013, when Father Marsel Hasan, a local pastor, led and motivated the community to fundraise for a water turbine, which was a cost effective and sustainable source of electricity for the village. While many people participated, the micro-hydro generator only managed to supply electricity to 60 households. Due to lack of resources, electrical wires from the turbine reached homes in the village by being strung on simple bamboo poles. Not only were these poles not resistant to harsh weather conditions, but there were also not enough.
“To be honest, I was so scared of the dark,” said Noberia Marini. “Before the power plant, completing my chores like cooking dinner was impossible. I am more comfortable now. If I need light no one has to go to the back of the house to turn on the generator. We feel safer.”
A partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Indonesia through the Strategic Planning and Action to Strengthen Climate Resilience of Rural Communities (SPARC) project and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, funded by Bank NTT, has expanded the reach of the micro-hydro power plant to benefit more households. The bamboo poles were replaced with 150 steel and storm-resistant poles, which connect to power 316 households, government offices, schools, health facilities and the church.
The partnership between local communities, UNDP Indonesia, Bank NTT and the Ministry of Environment, aims to continue expanding access to electricity to fully light up villages in Flores.
The electrification has enabled student to study at night to study at night.