UNDP Zimbabwe
| Annual Report
2023 in Review
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UNDP Zimbabwe
| Annual Report
2023 in Review
Beyond the Grid: Extending Sustainable Power and Reducing Inequalities in Remote Zimbabwe
Hakwata village, Chipinge District, near the border with Mozambique – far removed from the national electricity grid.
This community is on the verge of becoming a prime illustration of a green village, powered entirely by renewable energy sources.

90 households have already reaped the benefits of biogas digesters, which efficiently produce cooking fuel.

Furthermore, a 200kW micro-grid is set to illuminate the lives of 12,500 individuals, granting them access to electricity.
SDG 7 icon Affordable and clean energy

Powering Progress

Expanding Access to Energy
Despite significant strides, Zimbabwe faces an energy gap, with only 62% of the population having access to both on and off-grid electricity.

We recognise the transformative power of access to clean energy. It’s not just about powering homes and businesses; it’s about unlocking a pathway towards achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals.

Our work focuses on two key areas: firstly, closing the energy gap by providing underserved communities with access to renewable energy solutions like solar and biogas systems. Secondly, we aim to catalyse private sector investment in the renewable energy sector, fostering long-term sustainability and wider impact.
Our investments in the energy sector are funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), by Global Fund grants, the Green Climate Fund and by UNDP Core Resources
Man and woman installing a solar panel array
Solar for health
In 2023, we installed additional solar systems at 19 more health facilities and 2 pharmaceutical warehouses.

In addition, we ensured the maintenance and upgrading of solar installations, which are generating a combined 10.14 MW, installed at over 1,040+ health facilities for smooth operation of vital medical operations and equipment.
Solar in agriculture
In support of the Government’s initiatives to establish and revitalise irrigation schemes, we are implementing climate-smart irrigation pivots powered by solar energy in various agricultural projects such as the 66.6kW solar system powering the revitalised Masholomoshe irrigation scheme.
Solar-powered micro-enterprises
We piloted the establishment of off-grid energy kiosks - retrofitted shipping containers that are powered by solar energy.

Generating a combined 220 kW of solar power, these kiosks power 64 local businesses, creating employment opportunities and facilitating local economic growth.
Woman carrying firewood on head

Eight reasons we are betting big on biogas

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1. Good for the Environment
Sustainable energy source without greenhouse gas emissions &  eliminates need to cut trees
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2. Low cost
The infrastructure cost is relatively low & there are minimal operational costs
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3. Beneficial Bi-product
Produces bio-slurry, a nutrient-rich organic fertiliser
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4. Expedites Inclusion
Can be set up anywhere, making them suitable for remote locations, including border communities
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5. Empowers Women
An alternative to firewood, which is traditionally collected by women & girls, therefore liberating their time and energy
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6. Safe for Health
Produces clean energy with no smoke emissions, unlike firewood-fueled cooking fires
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7. Waste Management
An ingenious waste management solution that efficiently addresses food & animal waste
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8. Green Jobs
Creates employment opportunities in construction, maintenance, & operation of biogas systems
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What is Biogas?
Biogas is a gaseous, renewable fuel (mostly methane) produced during the breakdown of organic matter, such as food or animal waste
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What can biogas be used for?
In our initiatives, biogas is being used as a cooking fuel in rural areas as an alternative to firewood. It has potential to be used for lighting, and to generate electricity in biogas generators
Elderly woman holding cooking pot next to biogas stove
Bringing clean cooking energy
to rural homes
In 2023, we started the single largest biogas initiative in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, installing biogas-making digesters at 150 homesteads.

The impact on the communities, especially for women like Maris Dhliwayo, has been immediate.
Length of Maris Dhliwayo’s daily trek for firewood. With a biogas digester installed at her home, she now simply gathers cow dung from her backyard to fuel her cooking needs. A flip of a switch is all it takes to prepare meals for her family.
Woman carrying firewood over head
The difference between then and now is...we no longer have to go to the forest to cut trees to use as firewood for cooking.
- Resmas Museyi
Hakwata Village
Woman cooking on biogas stove
Men installing biogas digesters
Clean cooking energy h replace the arduous task of gathering firewood and provide a safer and more sustainable alternative.

In addition to the numerous environmental benefits, the project empowered over 80 local builders, equipping them with the skills to construct and maintain biogas digesters as a business.