It began with a clean water project back in 1988. 34 years later, Dagfinn Berg still has a burning commitment for the Haydom Lutheran Hospital in Tanzania. Now he is hoping for a breakthrough for Haydom’s youngest.

-At least you must ask! So, I asked Head Energy, and they gave me good answers, says Dagfinn Berg with a smile when asked how the cooperation with Head Energy for development work at Haydom Lutheran Hospital started.

It began with Head Energy covering travel expenses. First to do maintenance on the water pumps that secures clean drinking water for both the hospital and nearby villages. Later to do engineering on a solar powered outdoor security lights project and to assist the architects at Stav Ark in a feasibility study concerning potential redevelopment of the hospital.

The importance of Dagfinn’s work soon became very clear. In December 2021 Head Energy agreed to a long-term cooperation with Dagfinn Berg and the Friends of Haydom Foundation, to support Dagfinn’s work further. The agreement included financing of the security lights project. In November 2022, a small delegation from Head Energy visited Haydom together with Dagfinn Berg.

The maternity ward

-Yet they save lives. Every day.

Contrasts are striking when you arrive in Tanzania, travelling from Norway in November. From the regional Capital city Arusha to Haydom is a 7-hour drive on bumpy dirt roads. A small village, mostly containing sheds, is built around the hospital area. The iconic, red main building contains intensive care unit. Behind it, the maternity ward is located.

Every day, more than 20 children are born at the Haydom Hospital. Buildings and facilities are under-dimensioned, and many newborns are premature or under-nourished. Two newborns in the same incubator is not unusual.

Photo: Gadgetronix

-Seeing this from the inside, the standard is almost unreal. Yet, they save lives. Every day. And it is exactly the sum of these things that makes this project right for us. Both the social contribution, making a difference in a bigger sense, but also how that contribution is closely linked to our core technical competence, says Nils Haukeland, Chief Business Developer in Head Energy.

And now there is hope. Evy Eftestøl and Henning Bøe from Stav Ark have concluded a feasibility study for the hospital area and made step-by-step recommendations. First on their list is a new maternity ward. During the visit in November, detailed measurements were made to secure the best possible data going into the engineering phase.

Experienced Project Managers Bengt Frantzen and Elin Vagle from Head Energy Infra’s Project Administration unit will assist in the preparation, but Dagfinn Berg makes it clear that project management, engineering and construction must be done by resources and companies in Tanzania:

-We can contribute to the work securing financing of the project, but they must use local contractors and suppliers who can make guarantees and do maintenance, and it is important to create jobs locally. This is the only way to let them build valuable experience going forward. After all, we want to develop, not just help, Dagfinn states.

The sun cuts both costs and emissions

A common factor in all Dagfinn’s latest projects has been sun power. The old diesel pumps running the water supply have been de-commissioned. The new ones run mostly on solar.

The security lighting at Haydom is installed with small solar panels above the lamp in each post. They generate more power than is needed to operate the lighting through the night. Work is now being done to re-distribute the surplus electricity.

Now, Dagfinn Berg has his eyes fixed on a new project. The steam boiler at the hospital laundry. Every day, 50 liters of diesel is burnt to wash clothing and sheets at 90 degrees Celsius.

-With solar panels we can cover the power needed to heat the water up to 80 degrees. The Tanesco grid delivers enough to cover the remaining 10 degrees. This will make a substantial cut in both emissions and operating costs for the hospital, says Dagfinn Berg.

Photo: Gadgetronix

Another project that highlights the importance of electricity in the area is the Markuchida Primary School. The school has never had electrical power supply which limits the capacity for classes. With financing from the development fund at the University of Stavanger, the local electrical contractor Gadgetronix was able to install solar panels earlier this year. Head Energy was invited to the grand re-opening of the school and subsequent celebrations.

-It is touching to see the joy and hope this brings to a small community. With relatively modest funding you can still create so many new opportunities for a lot of people. Seeing the results so clearly as we have done on this trip, makes me confident in our decision to support Dagfinn and Haydom, says Morten Leikvoll, CEO in Head Energy.

Photo: Gadgetronix

Social responsibility is expected

In 2023, Head Energy further steps up the investments in development of the Haydom Lutheran Hospital. The Board of Directors has already granted 0,5 MNOK and decided to allocate at the same amount in Project Management and Engineering manhours. But Nils Haukeland states that Dagfinn Berg still is the spearhead and key person in the projects:

-Our commitment and way into this project have always been closely linked to Dagfinn. His network and experience mean that the projects that we support financially has a good chance of being finalized. Also, being here it becomes obvious that the locals trust Dagfinn. Along with his heart and commitment for the hospital and the people of Tanzania, I think that is very important.

Photo: Gadgetronix

-Further, I believe that for a Scandinavian company that has enjoyed solid growth and strong results, there is an expectation, both internally and among clients, that we should commit to social responsibility and contribute outside our own sphere. In Norway and Scandinavia our commitment has spun around physical and mental health, sports, and culture. In many ways, this is similar. We have also sponsored the Haydom Marathon, a local fund-raising initiative, so the commitment for Haydom comes as an addition, not to replace our commitment at home.

-The next phase at Haydom will include a large civil construction scope and not only energy. Now we must find the right level of commitment with the resources at our disposal, but I think our commitment still will be linked to Dagfinn and his project for the foreseeable future, Nils Haukeland concludes.

Photo: Gadgetronix