Licht für Afrika e.V. with the literal English translation ‚Light for Africa’ is a non-profit organization aiming at the development of remote rural regions in Africa and the improvement of rural living conditions.
The Hydropower Company in Bammental near Heidelberg and its managing director, Mr. Valentin Schnitzer, has not only built more than 20 small hydroelectric power-plants in Tanzania over the last decades, but also trained young technicians in the various constuction-skills for small hydro-electric power-plants and held further training- and proliferation-courses for this technology including their widely ramified implementation potentials. On this basis individual skilful craftspeople have developed to specialists for the construction of small hydroelectric power-plants; their skills and knowledge are rare and constantly demanded in villages and communities.
When, in the end of the nineties, the governmental and ecclesiastic development cooperation in the field of „energy“ was ended for East Africa, the meaningful and promising constructive work of several decades was on the verge of a grinding halt.
There was a simple back-door that offered no difficulty to enter: In 2001 the ‚Light for Africa Society‘ was founded on initiative of Valentin Schnitzer and friends. It aimed and still aims not only at further building hydroelectric power-plants in mountainous regions of East Africa, bu also at the maintenance of valuable contacts to the population on grassroots level, to craftspeople and priests. This way the built-up confidence was constructively used, the sustainability of the accomplishments was protected and we managed to avoid the disappointment of upcoming expectations. Landscapes and slopes in Central- and Western Tansania form ideal conditions for hydroelectric power, constantly promoting both the proliferation of the installations and the demand from the population.
The society lives and is independent enough to design its projects and to act autonomously and flexibly e.g. in the acquisition of project funds in a new mutuality with the development authorities in Tanzania. The cooperation with other, often private, development organizations is continuously growing; again and again our available expertise keeps being demanded by other authorities. Representatives of the target groups occasionally travel in Germany and give account of progress and problems. In many cases swift solutions can be found in a cooperative way. Members or friends of the society visit the projects several times per year and round off the picture.
More information on our current projects can be found under the pictures and reports in the chapter projects in Tanzania.