Innovative Communal Utility and Meeting House ICU in Tanzania


Mwamgongo is a village of 8000 inhabitants on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, located north of Kigoma at the border of Gombe National Park, famed for the chimpanzee studies of the Jane Goodall Institute. In cooperation with the Tanzanian National Park (TANAPA) and a national tourism agency, this village has been identified as suitable for the development of a communal utility structure that could support new tourist lodges and attractions.


To establish a communal utility in the village of Mwamgongo to provide electricity and solar thermal energy, sustainable water and sanitation services that increase local energy access and allow the development of a local tourism industry. This is to be used as a pilot for other villages.

Main Activities

  • Construct a local plant for manufacture of plant fibre reinforced earth blocks for use in the planned buildings as an energy efficient material
  • Erect a micro-hydropower plant of 50 kW,  install a PV array of 10 kWp, and create a solar water heating installation
  • Construct a small local grid to service the first energy consumers, especially a medical centre and small businesses such as battery charging facilities and telephone service providers
  • Design and implement 10 pilot urine diversion dehydration toilets, allowing the safe reuse of nutrients and organic matter for crop production, thus saving chemical fertiliser
  • Improve the water supply to the communal utility and the village as a whole
  • Train selected people in the operation and maintenance of the equipment, in energy efficiency and water & waste management

Expected Impact

  • Continuous availability of electric power (min. 20 kW) through the micro-hydro plant and PV
  • Local provision of hot water
  • Use of improved earth blocks for construction
  • Improved water supply and sanitation to help defeat billharziose, a tropical infectious disease
  • Provision of fertiliser and soil conditioner via a central communal utility structure
  • Added employment opportunities created for local residents
  • Establishment of four tourist lodges to generate further incomes
  • Availability of energy services such as battery and cellphone charging
  • Provision of micro-credit for small businesses
Programme sector
Renewable Energy & Business
2012 - 2013
US $990,000 including co-funding from DEG Development Bank, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Tanzania National Parks, People’s Home Association
Implementing agency
AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies