In the period between 2016 and 2022, the second phase of Kenya’s Last Mile Connectivity Project saw about 1.6 million people in low-income communities get access to electricity.
The initiative was backed by a $134.64 million loan from the African Development Bank Group. Project report from the AfDB shows the project introduced 18,000 kilometers of low-voltage lines into the distribution system.
This expansion resulted in the connection of 322,279 households and small businesses to the national grid, a remarkable achievement that has far-reaching implications.
For Kenya Power, the project breathed life back into its tree seedling nursery. This nursery, battered by drought, locust infestations, and the COVID-19 pandemic, was rejuvenated with the project’s support.
Economic empowerment is an integral facet of the Last Mile Connectivity Project. Contracts worth approximately $9.07 million were awarded to local electricity suppliers, injecting vitality into the business ecosystem.
Electricity powering businesses
Moreover, the project’s influence on local communities was marked by improved living standards and a rise in socio-economic activities. Through access to electricity, a variety of income-generating activities are now up and running. Poultry farming, livestock husbandry, and grass cutting for cattle and dairy farming have flourished, gradually chipping away at the chains of poverty that perpetuated gender inequality. The availability of electricity has breathed life into various occupations, from joinery to arc welding and hairdressing salons.
The Last Mile Connectivity Project embraced inclusivity further by providing ready-to-use kits to households led by women. These kits, comprising a socket and a light bulb, were distributed at no cost, ensuring that the benefits of electricity reached the most vulnerable segments of society.
“Overall, despite the major challenges the country went through in 2017-2022, the project delivered almost all of the target outputs and outcomes, particularly those fundamental to the project’s development objective,” notes the Project Completion Report.