The national government of Kenya has kicked off its ambitious project meant to provide solar energy and cash transfers to over a million Kenyans in 47 counties with pilot projects starting in Kilifi and Garissa counties.

The Swedish government is funding the ‘project dubbed Mwangaza Mashinani’ program with the sole aim of ensuring that most vulnerable people in the country are not left behind as homes are connected to solar power.

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The first beneficiaries to the project are Kilifi and Garissa counties which have already received US $1m donation from the Swedish government to pilot off the mega project and is expected to be fully implemented in a year’s time. Swedish Ambassador to Kenya Anna Jardfelt, who witnessed the launch, said the electricity from the project is meant to reach to the poorest communities.

Mrs. Jardfelt explained that it took them along time to identify the two counties because there was a criteria they were using to establish the households and communities that were to pilot the project.

This, she added was made possible with the help of Unicef. Regional Development Ms Jardfelt said in the pilot phase, 1,500 households from the two counties are set to benefit. She further revealed that after the launching, they will evaluate the project in one year’s time to see how it has worked out and if it will have succeeded they will also reach out to other counties.

Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi and his Garissa counterpart Abdi Dagane witnessed the launch and later signed an MoU on the project. Mr Saburi said that they are delighted with the project as the targeted area is a remote one which never expected such kind of development. Over 30,000 people in Kilifi County will benefit from the Mwangaza Mashinani project.