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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Niinuma Vietnam brings electricity to the upland

By Ngoc Hung

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Hundreds of households in Mu Cang Chai District in the northern upland province of Yen Bai must have found their living conditions much better these days owing to stable electricity supply now. The stark change is brought about by Japanese-invested Niinuma Vietnam Co. Ltd., which has pioneered with a community project to benefit underprivileged people.

Supplying electricity to mountainous regions has been a priority program of the Government, under which 100% of communes nationwide have been connected to the national power grid. However, it is extremely tough to supply electricity from the national power grid to remote, out-of-the-way villages due to dangerous terrains and poor road infrastructure, which make power supply very costly and time-consuming.

Solar power has become an alternative source of electricity for underprivileged people, but not all are able to afford solar power equipment.

So, Niinuma Vietnam, which supplies lighting equipment and solar power systems, has decided to implement a community project to bring electricity to Mu Cang Chai District via crowdfunding and tapping financial support from the Japanese government via the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“After obtaining information from JICA, the management board of Niinuma Vietnam came to a decision that the company had to assume this project to support the commnity,” said the company’s general director, adding Niinuma Vietnam wished to contribute to sustainable development of the target locality via this project.

Minowa Yuya, general director of Niinuma Vietnam, recalled how the company perceived hardships encountered by the people due to the lack of electricity after meetings with leaders of Mu Cang Chai District and Yen Bai Province. “So we decided to call for contributions from various sources to implement the project for the benefit of local people,” he remarked on the beginning of the project that began two years ago.

Under the project, Niinuma Vietnam would install solar power devices for 300 households in the district, as well as lighting for a street there.

Work on the project started in 2021, first with surveys of terrain conditions, transport of equipment, installation, maintenance and supervision among others. Minowa Yuya said the company will be responsible for maintaining all solar power devices within two years before handing over the 300 solar systems to Mu Cang Chai District for management.

“We have not completed installing all 300 sets of solar power systems, but most of the households targeted by the project have now been able to use solar power for popular electrical appliances like fans, sewing machines and of course lighting,” the general director said.

He said that Niinuma Vietnam treats this community project as part of its long-term business plan, and all the solar systems there will be supervised around the clock via Internet-of-Things solutions until June 2025 when the project is to be handed over to the local government.

“During this time, Niinuma Vietnam will receive feedback from the project beneficiaries in Mu Cang Chai District. If the overall response is positive, we will launch similar projects in other mountainous villages,” he said.

Reality shows that while the overall percentage of households connected to the power grid has neared 100%, many people in the hinterland are still grappling with the lack of electricity. In Bac Kan Province, for example, there were still over 3,200 households in mountainous areas having no power supply as of the end of 2022, and many have to rely on oil lamps for lighting.

In fact, in using Japan’s gratis aid via the Japanese Embassy in Hanoi, Niinuma Vietnam has installed solar power devices for some households in Tuyen Quang Province on a trial basis. Minowa Yuya, however, said that the project to date has benefited just a small number of underprivileged people in upland regions, so he hoped for more contributions from other benefactors to develop similar projects for the sake of sustainable development in those poverty-stricken areas.

“We hope that what we have been doing to bring about sustained benefits for the community will become a source of aspiration for our customers and partners who will join forces for comprehensive and sustainable development of the community,” he said.

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