The Government of Zambia and UNHCR launch Electrification of Refugee Settlements in Zambia Project at Meheba


The Government of Zambia and UNHCR launch Electrification of Refugee Settlements in Zambia Project at Meheba

UNHCR ZAMBIA, 02 Feb 2024

The Government of Zambia and UNHCR launch Electrification of Refugee Settlements in Zambia Project at Meheba

30 January 2024 - The Government of the Republic of Zambia, through the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), working with the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees (COR) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, jointly launched a robust electrification project in the Meheba Refugee Settlement of Kalumbila District in the Northwestern Province.
REA has allocated ZMW 9.7 million towards electrifying Meheba Refugee Settlement. They have contracted Kalijee Construction Zambia Limited for the project, which began its construction on 2 November 2023. The REA part of the project includes 10.4 km of 33-kilo-volts high-tension line and 10.9 km of 0.4 kilo-volts low-tension line. In a strategic complementary scheme, UNHCR, through its contractor Retro International Zambia Limited, has allocated ZMW 6.3 million to the project providing an additional 17.8 km of 33 kilovolts of high-tension backbone line. REA committed to providing technical assistance on the complementary scheme funded by UNHCR. The project aims to establish 90 connections for government facilities and 210 connections for families; a total of 300 connections serving refugees, former refugees and Zambian families living in the communities who host refugees.
This collaboration began on 24 June 2022, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between COR, REA and UNHCR. The three institutions agreed to collaborate and pool resources to provide electricity to hosting districts and refugee settlements in Zambia.
The first stage of this electrification project, which will benefit refugees, former refugees and the host communities in Kalumbila District, was launched by Zambia's Minister of Energy, Eng. Peter C. Kapala, who was represented by Northwestern Province Permanent Secretary, Mr. Wishikoti Katambi.
“The launch of this electrification project in Meheba is part of the government’s comprehensive plan as contained in the National Refugee Policy and its Implementation Plan to ensure refugees, former refugees and the Zambian host community have access to services,” said Honourable Kapala.
The Government of Zambia confirmed its commitment towards the inclusion of forcibly displaced persons via 10 pledges at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) held in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2023. Providing sustainable energy to Zambian districts that hosts refugees and former refugees is a key element of the pledges. The phased electrification overall scheme fits into the government’s Modernisation of Refugee, Host Communities and Settlement Approach (MORHCSA).
Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security Permanent Secretary, Mr. Dickson Matembo, who was represented by Director Planning Mr. Goodson Sinyenga, said that in 2023, at the GRF, Government made a pledge to connect all three settlements to the national grid by 2027. “Today, we proudly announce that we are making strides towards fulfilling that commitment,” Mr. Matembo said.
“UNHCR, working with the government and our partners, has committed to support sustainable, clean energy in all areas hosting refugees and former refugees,” said UNHCR representative Ms Preeta Law. This is an important development for the province and particularly the communities in Kalumbila. Zambians, refugees and former refugees will enjoy electricity for the very first time since the establishment of this settlement in 1971.”
Once completed by 31 July 2024, the complementary projects by REA and UNHCR will enable the supply of electricity to Meheba A Primary and Secondary Schools, Meheba B Primary and Secondary Schools, Kananga Primary School, Kananga Rural Health Centre (RHC), Meheba A RHC, Meheba B RHC, Jagaimo RHC, Meheba Police, St. Mary’s Mission and surrounding areas. 40, 510 residents, living in Kalumbila District will benefit from this joint venture.
The project is in line with the government's mission through the REA to electrify rural communities in an equitable and sustainable manner for positive socio-economic transformation.

For more information:

Choolwe Kasamu, Senior Public Relations Officer
Rural Electrification Authority
Tel.: +260977303342;

Jim Chibuye, Public Relations Officer
Office of the Commissioner for Refugees,
Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security
Tel.: +260971138780;

Kelvin Shimo, Communications Associate
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Tel.: +260979585832;