The National Board of Zakat (BAZNAS) officially started the construction of Micro Hydro Power Plant (PLTMH) in Jambi Province. Together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), BAZNAS conducted the groundbreaking of the zakat-based poverty alleviation project in Lubuk Bangkar Village, Batang Asai District, Sarolangun Regency, Jambi, on Friday (6/4/2018).

Zainul told, it took nine hours to the location in the remote village that longed for electricity from the city of Jambi. These hills, forests, and oil palm and rubber plantations, he said, can only be passed by double-wheeled vehicles because some roads are still in the form of soil, asphalt and hollow concrete because of the abrasion and often threatened by a landslide during the rainy season.

The event was also attended by UNDP Indonesia Deputy Director, Francine Pickup, Secretary of the Directorate General of Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (EBTKE) of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), Wawan Supriatna, Deputy Governor of Jambi, Fachrori Umar, Sarolangun Regent Cek Endra, Jambi Province and Sarolangun Regency official as well as the Board of Directors of Bank Jambi.

At the same time, BAZNAS also launched a pilot project of smart agents for the payment of zakat through Bank Jambi.

"Access to electricity is essential to support poverty alleviation and reduce development disparities. When electricity can be enjoyed by people in various places and provide economic, educational and health improvements, there are still our brothers who have not accessed electricity, one of them in Jambi Province. Therefore, BAZNAS is committed to build PLTMH as part of efforts to alleviate poverty in this country, "said Vice Chairman of BAZNAS.

The founder and first president of Bank Muamalat explained that based on data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, until December 2017 showed Jambi Province electrification ratio was only 91.40% which is below the national average of 95.35%. This gap, he said, makes BAZNAS determined to distribute zakat funds totaling US$ 350 thousand or about Rp4.8 billion to build the PLTMH.

First in The World

According to Zainul, this electricity-based empowerment program for indigent and the poor is the first support of zakat funds for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Indonesia and even in the world.

"For that reason, before reaching the construction stage, the development has been prepared for seven months, including the process of determining the location that involves all parties to ensure beneficiaries are villagers who are entitled to zakat," Zainul said.

Besides BAZNAS, he added, related institutions also provide financing support, one of them is Bank Jambi who committed to distribute Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds of Rp3,76 billion.

The same thing was stated by UNDP Indonesia Deputy Director, Francine Pickup. "The construction of this PLTMH is the first clear evidence of cooperation between UNDP and BAZNAS in innovative zakat financing for sustainable development," she said.

Francine Pickup hopes that access to electrical energy can support poverty alleviation and improve the welfare of the people in achieving the goal of sustainable development (SDGs), especially the number one goal of "free of poverty" and number seven "clean and affordable energy".

In the same place, Secretary General of EBTKE Wawan Supriatna added that the construction of this power plant will include a new PLTMH unit in Lubuk Bangkar Village, Batang Asai District, Sarolangun Regency and the revitalization of three units of PLTMH in Ngaol Village, Air Liki Village and New Liki Water Village, West Tabir Sub-District, Merangin District.

"This development is part of the MTRE3 project, where UNDP and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources provide access to electricity by utilizing renewable energy (EBT)," he said.

Wawan said a new PLTMH is planned to be operated in August 2018 with a capacity of 60 kW which will provide electricity access to 283 households, 2 schools, 1 mosque, and 4 mushala and other village infrastructure.

While the other three revitalized MHPs are planned to be fully operated by July 2018, with a capacity of 40 kW each which will provide electricity access for 523 households, 5 schools, 3 mosques, 15 mushrooms, 1 Islamic boarding school (pesantren) and other village infrastructure.

The total beneficiaries of this program are 803 households. To maintain the sustainability of PLTMH operation, in each village there is also a capacity building of the community, operator training, and establishment of village management institution of PLTMH.

(Source:  | Puskas News | | Trans: Tita)