In Tanzania, youth engineers are leading the charge for solar energy

Woman on roof adjusting solar panels


It’s a warm, sunny day as Fatuma Hemed finishes assembling solar panels on a new barber shop in the heart of Miyuyu Village, a community of about 1,000 people. Here, buildings are remote and scattered; many lack grid electricity. But, thanks to a program through which Hemed and other young people have become solar engineers, the village’s future is bright.

Leading the Charge (LTC), a program developed by WWF and partners, aims to increase access to renewable, affordable energy throughout rural Tanzania. In Miyuyu, villagers must either travel long distances to acquire firewood (a drain on natural resources) or use expensive generators. By training local youth to install and maintain solar power systems—it’s trained 20 since 2019—LTC is providing more reliable ways for people to cook and light their homes and businesses.

The project has transformed daily life, allowing shops, a school, and the village market center to remain open past dark, extending business hours while improving access to global news and entertainment. It’s also helped diversify livelihoods and empower community members—especially women.

“The first day the lights went on in our village center was an important moment,” says Baraka Issa, a former small-scale farmer who now earns income as a solar engineer. “With the right skills,” he adds, “we have the tools to overcome poverty and help our community better manage its natural resources.’’

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