News and Blogs

Lighting up Lives in Bondo

“This business couldn’t be profitable if there was no electricity,” Fabiyano Mawiea tells me. “I’d have to close the shop at 5pm because it would get dark and no-one would come here. Because of electricity I have lights and there are lights outside the shop too. I can stay open as late as 10pm and I still have customers.”

 Ruth Clowes

Article: Ruth Clowes, Copywriter working for Practical Action,
Photos: Patrick Meinhardt,

Practical Action is the international development organisation that kick-started the micro-hydro scheme in the Bondo region. I visited the area to talk with the experts at MEGA and to see for myself the difference that micro-hydro electricity has made to the communities here.

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A Site Visit to MEGA's Bondo Mini-Grid

 Rebecca Grant

Rebecca Grant,
MRes and PhD Candidate in Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews

My research interests lie in sustainable energy generation pathways, and the contributions of GIS and the energy justice framework in understanding energy inequality. My PhD focuses on the opportunities and challenges of utilising renewable energy to provide equitable, affordable and reliable energy in Kenya. I use geospatial electrification analysis to understand current and potential future energy demand, access and distribution.

Though access to electricity remains low in Malawi, models such as MEGA provide exciting insights into electrification pathways.

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Powering the BBC World Service

In March 2016, Bondo village hit the world stage, sharing its news with 300 million people from each corner of the globe.  The BBC World Service broadcast live from the village with a morning programme exploring the solutions to Africa’s energy poverty crisis.  MEGA was recognised as a pioneer in off-grid electricity supply in rural areas.  Interviews with people in the village described how access to electricity can transform lives and livelihoods.  

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Productive Use of Energy to Spur Economic Growth

Mr Arnold KadziponyeArnold Kadziponye,
Project Coordinator,
Mulanje Renewable Energy Agency (MuREA)

MEGA is Malawi’s first licensed Independent Power Producer and currently generates 60kW from hydro power and has 280 customers.  It serves the village health clinic and two schools, namely Kabichi Primary School with an enrolment of 1505 pupils and Kabichi Secondary School with an intake of more than 400 scholars. The excitement in the village was immense after seeing that it is indeed possible to generate electricity from the same river found in their village.

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MEGA Demonstrate Technologies Fighting Poverty

Victor Chambayika Mhango,
Country Representative,
Practical Action Consulting-Malawi 

In a country of 17 million people, it should not be acceptable that only 1% of those living in rural communities have access to clean energy. Lack of access to modern energy services is a major obstacle to the delivery of socio-economic services such as education and health in most developing countries in general. This is particularly so in Malawi where 85% of the population live in rural areas but only 1% have access to electricity.

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