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Micro hydro plants bring light to poor Nicaraguan communities

News from Nicaragua | Friday, 23 June 2017 |

Since 1994 the lives of the 8,000 inhabitants of the remote mountain towns of San José de Bocay and El Cua have been transformed.

These war torn villages, with roads that were pure mud or dust, now have electricity plants serving not only family homes but also farms, small businesses, cell phone towers, health posts, two large hospitals, churches and rural schools.

The plants were constructed by the NGO Nicaragua Association of Rural Development Workers – Ben Linder (ATDER-BL) whose engineers, contract workers and local volunteers built the turbine, concrete dam and 1,300 metre pipeline. 

In addition ATDER-bl also trains farmers in the watersheds in soil conservation and runs reforestation campaigns. Recently they have also provided every farmer in the watershed with solar panels. 

Ben Linder who has been immortalized in the name of the Association was the visionary and founder of ATDER-BL. A US citizen and skilled mechanical engineer, he started working on the Bocay hydro electric plant in 1985 during the US backed contra war. 

Along with Sergio Hernández and Pablo Rosales he was killed by the contra in an ambush while working at the weir site in El Cua on 28 April 1987. 

Ben has been a symbol of solidarity and resistance ever since.