Ndiga Nyaga

Ashoka Fellow
Kianyaga, Kenya
Fellow Since 2008


This profile was prepared when Ndiga Nyaga was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Nyaga organizes rural communities to generate their own hydroelectricity and, in exchange for local ownership, relies heavily on rural-based natural, financial, and human resources. This rural electrification project is turning a shortage of energy into an opportunity for rural communities in Kenya to build and control their own high value assets to create new sources of income to supplement their earnings.

Many rural areas in Kenya that are off the electrical grid have significant hydroelectric potential from the many surrounding rivers. As a result, Nyaga’s innovation is incredibly relevant to countless communities, allowing them to build a plant and use turbines made in Nairobi, which are financed by the locals’ investments. The introduction of electricity to rural areas has lasting economic, health, and communication benefits and, on account of Nyaga’s model in which locals own the majority of shares, profits are reinvested into the local community.

Nyaga also runs an educational program that enlightens rural farmers on the benefits of electricity, leads a training program that enables young people to operate and maintain the hydroelectric facilities and distribution network, and manages an umbrella organization that reinvests profits into projects that promise to spread his innovation throughout the region.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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