Nun Builds Hydroelectric Plant

Updated: May 15

Sister Alphonsine Ciza spends most of her day in gum boots, white veil tucked under a builder's hat, manning the micro hydroelectric plant she built to overcome daily electricity cuts in her town of Miti in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Panoramic view of lush Congo landscape

Blackouts are a daily disruption in the Congo, a vast central African country of around 90 million people that sources most of its electricity from a run-down and mismanaged hydropower system. Fed up with lack of electrical supply - not just for the convent, but for local homes and schools too - Ciza's superiors had noticed that she had an uncanny ability to fix the convent's electrical problems over the years, so they sent her off to study mechanical engineering.

It proved to be an excellent decision. Now, courtesy of the mini hydro plant Ciza built, there's consistent power for the convent, a church, two schools, and a clinic. It's been five years of hard slog raising the necessary funding, but she eventually managed it. Then built it. And now, she and her sisters, keep it running. And, better yet, it's clean, free energy.

“The convent needed a technician, someone who could help,” Ciza told Reuters. “In me they saw a talent for electrical engineering so they offered me the opportunity to go and study.”