Okoka Mwapuja: Championing Renewable Energy for Business Growth and Environmental Stewardship

Mbezi, Dar es Salaam, May 9, 2023 | #RenewableEnergyFinancing

At the heart of Tanzania’s educational landscape stands Okoka Mwapuja, the proud founder of the accredited Mount Rungwe Pre and Primary School. Yet, Mwapuja’s vision transcends academic endeavors; he is ardently dedicated to environmental conservation, viewing renewable energy as a cornerstone of sustainability.

For two years, Mwapuja has been an active participant in a renewable energy initiative, trading traditional charcoal and firewood for cleaner energy alternatives. Within his household, the transition to gas use has proved both cost-effective and environmentally conscious, stretching a 400-liter cylinder over four months. Contrastingly, reliance on charcoal alone previously cost him a staggering one million shillings bi-monthly.

Renewable energy’s transformative influence is equally evident in Mwapuja’s school. Once reliant on the ecologically taxing firewood to prepare meals for students, the school now harnesses gas, slashing expenses. Notably, firewood remains reserved for dishes necessitating prolonged cooking, like beans and maize.

“Despite the initial cost disparity between renewables and conventional sources like charcoal, the long-term benefits of clean energy are immense,” Mwapuja observed.

However, he acknowledges the need for further insights into the optimal energy sources for varying vehicles and culinary methods, keen to maximize efficiency in every domain.

Motivating Mwapuja’s shift to renewables is the devastating environmental toll of deforestation and the health repercussions of charcoal and firewood usage. He emphasized the climatic implications of smoke from firewood, posing threats to both human health and global ecosystems.

Mwapuja passionately advocates for Tanzanians to pivot to renewable energies, aligning with governmental endeavors to curtail deforestation and bolster reforestation. “Embracing clean energy sources is a potent avenue to reinforce these national initiatives,” he emphasized.

Thanks to the renewable energy initiative, Mwapuja availed a ten-million-shilling loan, personally contributing a million. Having repaid this sum in entirety, he now reaps the rewards of a greener energy paradigm. While conceding that certain financial institutions, such as Maendeleo Bank of Tanzania, present arduous loan acquisition processes, he remains optimistic that refined policies will streamline these transactions.

Gazing ahead, Mwapuja envisions broadening his renewable energy repertoire, identifying water harvesting and purification projects as invaluable community assets.

Mwapuja fervently declares, “Renewable energy is the beacon lighting our path forward, safeguarding our environment while bolstering efficiency and curtailing costs.”

Echoing this sentiment, TAMFI’s CEO Winnie Terry extols Mwapuja’s journey as a testament to renewable energy’s multifaceted advantages. “His story accentuates the urgency for comprehensive education on renewable energy. Equipped with knowledge, countless individuals and enterprises can transition towards a cleaner, sustainable future,” she highlighted.

This triumphant tale stems from the “Energy Access: Building an Innovative Financial Ecosystem for Enterprises and End Users” initiative, championed by TAMFI and generously sponsored by the C.S. Mott Foundation. Central to this project is fostering awareness and enlightening financial stakeholders on decentralized renewable energy’s merits, emphasizing its pivotal role in fortifying reliability while minimizing production expenses.