Empower Malawi: 2017-23 Donation Impacts

Date: 31/08/2023

NextEnergy Foundation (“NEF”) has been supporting Empower Malawi’s work in the Nkhata Bay District, Malawi since 2017. This new post details the impacts of NEF’s donations over the last six years.

Energy access for schools

  • 100% schools in Nkhata Bay District with access and exposure to solar energy, the only District in Malawi where all schools have electricity access
  • 193 primary schools – 2017: 15% with access to electricity and only 3% of classrooms connected to the grid VS 2022: 100% schools with electricity access and 15% classrooms
  • 41 secondary schools – 2017: 85% with access to electricity and only 67% of classrooms connected to the grid VS 2022: 100% schools with electricity access and all classrooms with greater stability of electricity of supply due to lack of reliance on the grid
  • 10,341 (c.10.5% of total) children with access to clean energy
  • 14.7 million additional hours of study time each year; 73.4 million additional hours of study time over system lifespan
  • Primary schools – 2017: 86.3% pass mark VS 2022: 94.4% pass mark, including 45 schools with 100% pass marks in 2022
  • Secondary schools – 2017: 60.9% pass mark VS 2022: 69.9% pass mark, including 8 schools with > 80% pass marks in 2022
  • Schools in the District have improved nationally from 23rd to 2nd
  • Head teachers from all schools verbally confirmed that they believed that the solar system was a significant reason for the improvement in grades.

Energy access for healthcare

  • 100% health centres in Nkhata Bay District with access and exposure to solar energy: 22 health centres; 44 systems in total, two per health centre
  • Solar energy as the primary lighting source: 23% of the centres are using the solar systems as their primary source of lighting; 76% use the system as a backup light source in the event of grid failure; systems used for an average of 7.12 hours per night, all year round
  • Each centre is serving an average of 16,895 people in its community: together, c.323,000 across the District have access to improved healthcare services because of solar energy access

Health centre representative testimonials:

  • Nthungwa health centre“We serve 16,232 people and people from the neighbouring District Mzimba. I would like to express my gratitude for installing solar power at Nthungwa. This automatically means we are resuming conducting the delivery of services which we had to suspend due to a lack of source of light for almost one year. Pregnant women were traveling about 40km to get to the service. Thank you so much for coming to our rescue.”
  • Maula health centre: “We serve about 17,380 people from almost 37 villages. Previously, before solar installation at our facility, we had a quite number of inconveniences during our operation and maternity services. Service delivery during night hours was being challenged by darkness during blackouts. But the solar [systems] installed have restored our hard working spirit and we hope such that we will be able to do more work at night. We are proud of [Empower Malawi’s] solar support.”

NEF renewed its commitment to Empower Malawi in 2023 with a donation to respond to the continued rise in demand for clean energy access in schools and to complete the health centre installations. The Foundation is also covering the salaries of a local team so that Empower Malawi can better coordinate the installations and monitor of the impact of energy access on school attendance and educational performance going forwards. An update on this work will be provided in due course.