Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bandundu Province, Kenge District.
Diocese of Kenge
In the health sector, the Diocese of Kenge manages 26 health centers, partly state-owned and partly private, a diocesan pharmacy, two state hospitals in Kenge and Kimbau. The Diocese also manages, on behalf of the State, also 300 primary and secondary schools and a University Institute for Nursing Sciences (ISTM) which has graduated almost 200 young people from 2000 to present.
Kimbau is located more than 500 km south-east of the capital, in the Bandundu region and is the main center of a health area of 5727 square kilometers, with a user population of 150,000 people. The area is characterized by a sandy soil, so the products of the earth are scarce. In the last decade the desertification process has accelerated, with consequent periodic famines that occur annually between September and October.
Although the Kimbau Hospital represents the only point of reference for a population of about 150 thousand people, until 2007 there was no water supply system, except for the old tanks that during the four months of dry season (which means absence total rainfall) were totally inadequate to guarantee a minimum standard of hygiene. Even electricity was totally and permanently missing, except for an old generator that, due to the scarcity and the cost of diesel fuel, which has to be transported from Kinshasa for over 500 km, was turned on only for emergencies and once a week for radioscopies.
Following the perceived and expressed need of the population of Kimbau to be able to use running water not only in the hospital but also in the surrounding village, almost 3 km away from the nearest spring, in 1994 the “project was formulated and proposed to the local government water ”, which in its first version was limited to a sort of mill that had to pump water from the Mvula river waterfall to the hospital. In 1998, after the possibility of using the rapids on the Nzasi river with a jump of over 60 meters, the project has become progressively more ambitious, and it has begun to speak of “micro-central”. But it is only in 2003 that the works have finally begun and unfortunately then they have continued in these years revealing themselves more complex than expected.
The project was made possible thanks to the choice to make use of technical skills and logistic support of personnel, including Italian. The construction of the hydroelectric power station on the Nzasi stream required 4 years of continuous commitment and the presence of at least one expat on the spot, and ended with the lighting of the first light bulb on March 6th 2007. On that fateful date, the determination of those who have been involved in the project for 15 years and thanks to the valuable contribution of many willing and sensitive people in Italy and on the spot, has allowed the hospital to use running water and electricity with immense benefits for the entire community.
AIFO had undertaken to support this project financially and technically until the end of the first phase, which involved the supply of water and electricity to the whole hospital with some drinking water in the neighboring centers and the possible extension of the electricity to the schools and community centers in neighboring villages. After the official delivery by AIFO to the Diocese, the latter sought new partners as support in the management of the work carried out.
Unfortunately, a series of unforeseen events prevented the plant from functioning properly.
After a careful study that made use of expert advice, the project “Restoration of the Kimbau Power Station” was elaborated thanks to the logistic and technical support of Italian volunteers, financial support and the advice of various associations and different bodies.
Restoration and maintenance of the Kimbau hydroelectric station.
- Provision of drinking water and light to the hospital
- Water supply for the population
- Extend the same services to schools and community centers, thus contributing to human development first of all and to the socio-economic development of the area
DURATION OF THE PROJECT
May 2007 – February 2008
The challenge that arises is to guarantee the operation of the station over time and therefore:
- Supply of drinking water and electricity to the hospital immediately
- The supply of water to the population, in the short term,
- According to the same services to schools and community centers, in the long run, thus contributing to human development first of all and to the socio-economic development of the area.