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Zambia, UNHCR, and REA Collaborate for Electrification Project in Meheba Refugee Settlement

The Government of Zambia, through the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees (COR), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has launched a comprehensive electrification project in the Meheba Refugee Settlement of Kalumbila District in the Northwestern Province.

The REA has allocated ZMW 9.7 million for the electrification project, which began construction on November 2, 2023. Kalijee Construction Zambia Limited has been contracted for the project, encompassing 10.4 km of 33-kilo-volts high-tension line and 10.9 km of 0.4 kilo-volts low-tension line.

Complementing this, UNHCR, through Retro International Zambia Limited, has allocated ZMW 6.3 million for an additional 17.8 km of 33-kilovolts high-tension backbone line. REA is committed to providing technical assistance for this complementary scheme funded by UNHCR.

The project’s objective is to establish 90 connections for government facilities and 210 connections for families, totaling 300 connections serving refugees, former refugees, and Zambian families living in the host communities. This collaboration stems from a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on June 24th, 2022, between COR, REA, and UNHCR.

The electrification project’s first stage, benefiting refugees, former refugees, and host communities in Kalumbila District, was officially launched by Zambia’s Minister of Energy, Eng. Peter C. Kapala, represented by Northwestern Province Permanent Secretary, Mr. Wishikoti Katambi.

Honourable Kapala emphasized, “The launch of this electrification project in Meheba is part of the government’s comprehensive plan to ensure refugees, former refugees, and the Zambian host community have access to services.”

The electrification initiative aligns with Zambia’s commitments made at the Global Refugee Forum in December 2023, with 10 pledges aimed at the inclusion of forcibly displaced persons. It is an integral part of the government’s Modernisation of Refugee, Host Communities, and Settlement Approach (MORHCSA).

Mr. Dickson Matembo, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, announced the government’s strides towards fulfilling its pledge to connect all three settlements to the national grid by 2027.

Ms. Preeta Law, UNHCR representative, highlighted the commitment to supporting sustainable, clean energy in areas hosting refugees and former refugees. 

The completion of the REA and UNHCR projects by July 31st, 2024, will provide electricity to various essential facilities and benefit 40,510 residents in Kalumbila District.

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