Woman Provides Most Efficient And Affordable Electricity To Rural Communities In Zambia


Born in 1979 in Kaoma district in the western part of Zambia, Likonge Makai, an energy systems expert, did not know that one day she would be a source of light to many families in Zambia.

Today Likonge prides herself in providing the most efficient and affordable source of energy to households under her nongovernmental organization called LiChi’s Community Solution (LSC).

LCS was formed in November 2014, and had tw,o projects; one sponsored by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Smart Village through Kilowatts for Humanity in Filibaba, Chingola and the other by IEEE Smart Village itself in Shikwakala, Lukulu. The projects came into implementation in September and November, 2015 respectively. It has impacted to over 600 people (85 households) by providing lighting in their homes and schools.

Likonge says the direct impact has been that school going children are able to read in the night and over 150 people (19 households) are able to listen to radio and watch Television. LCS has so far employed two workers from Filibaba and sponsors a grade 10 pupil at Ipafu Secondary School. At its first anniversary recurrently the filibaba energy kiosk had produced nearly 500 kilowatt of electricity which has also charged 1500 cell phones.

‘Our recent significant works are in Mimbula and Ipafu rural areas on the Copper belt province of Zambia where we have built the first solar energy kiosk targeting a population of over 1200 people, comprised of 25 households, 6 churches, and a community school with 165 pupils’, says energy systems expert Likonge.

According to the Energy Regulation Board, as at January 2016, Zambia was experiencing a power deficit of approximately 1,000 megawatts and 760 MW in April 2016. With the energy deficits that Zambia is grappling with, many experts are looking to ways of finding lasting and sustainable alternative sources of energy to supplement hydro power. The country has over the last few years suffered from massive load shading which has resulted in loss of business thereby by affecting the economy and everyday live hood.

‘Due to my father’s death in February 1989, I relocated to Katete district, Zambia (Eastern Province) under the care of my father’s brother a Veterinary Doctor. It was then that I was separated from my mother until 2006. Vulamkoko, in Katete District was a pre-urban community centre with a clinic, agriculture and Primary school in the centre surrounded by villages and farm settlements. We were staying at the Agriculture cape with no electricity and depended on paraffin for lighting and wood fuel for cooking. I loved the interaction between the rural communities and educational, agriculture and health workers that I started thinking of following my uncle’s footsteps to become a Veterinary doctor one day ‘says Likonge.

This however was not to be. Likonge’s fate changed once again after her uncle died in a road accident, three years after staying with him in Katete. Her uncle’s death came two months before she wrote her Grade 7 exams. She was forced to relocate to Ndola district on the Copper belt Province to stay with another of her dad’s young brother. Fortunately Likonge continued with her education and finished her secondary education with flying colours.

Being an ‘A’ grade student, Likonge qualified to attend university at both the public universities in the country. She enrolled with the copper belt university where she had applied to study either Business Administration, Production Management or Rural and Urban Planning. But her destiny was already written and in instead of been accepted in either of the three programmes , her acceptance letter came indicating Electrical /Electronics. In 2004 Likonge obtained a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical/Electronic Degree specialising in Power Systems.

In July, 2006 Likonge started working for Zambia’s second biggest copper producer Mopani Copper Mines plc, as Senior Assistance Engineer – Electrical. In 2007 Likonge resigned and joined another mining company called Konkola Copper Mine plc which is Zambia’s biggest producer of cooper where she is currently working as Project Support Office – Administrator at Technical Department, Corporate in Chingola (Copperbelt Province.

‘I joined Konkola Copper Mines plc (KCM), Zambia’s biggest copper producer, Chililabombwe district in January 2008 as Senior Assistant Engineer – Electrical, same entry position at Mopani and after working for a year was promoted as Sectional Engineer Projects – Electrical. The main project I was made to design and implement was Power Reliability Project that was designed to provide reliable power supply to the mine without any interruption under any given conditions considering Konkola Integrated Business Unit (KIBU) being the wettest mine in Zambia pumping out an average 350,000 cubic meters of water per day.

Culled from http://allafrica.com/stories/201612180010.html



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