Promoting energy solutions that are more sustainable
A growing demand for energy and prospects of exhaustion of conventional energy sources has led to an increasing interest in alternative renewable energy in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Uganda. Despite the availability of alternative fuel sources such as gas, biogas and solar, firewood, charcoal and agricultural waste are the main sources of cooking energy, while candles, kerosene lamps and firewood for are used for lighting in households and institutions around the settlement. This heavy dependence on biomass fuels increases health risks and accidents and is relatively expensive in the long run.
Despite intensified efforts to introduce households and institutions to cleaner energy, firewood and charcoal continue to be the main source of energy. The result is increasing deforestation in the area. This calls for interventions to reduce consumption of both wood and charcoal on one hand, and campaigns on tree planting and the construction of fuel-saving stoves in order to increase the availability, accessibility, and affordability of cooking energy forms.
It is against this backdrop that the Uganda programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) held an energy technology exhibition themed Renewable Energy for a Better Environment on 18th to 19th October 2018. The objective of the exhibitions was to expose to the community to solar, biogas and fuel saving stoves and to create awareness about organizations that provide these technologies in Uganda. To encourage community interest and attendance, AAH Uganda mobilized the community through community-based energy workers. This was complemented by a radio talk show that involved the representatives from AAH Uganda, the Office of the Prime Minister, UNHCR and the District Environment Department.
At least 500 people from both the refugee and host communities within Kiryandongo District participated in the event that had 9 companies showcase their energy options. Kiryandongo Settlement Commandant Monica Mugisha and UNHCR Head of Office Kiryandongo Henry Ochalla opened and closed the 2-day exhibition.
AAH Uganda has already been implementing an energy project at the Kyangwali refugee settlement. We are promoting the access to and use of alternative fuels that are cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and accessible such as solar energy, Rocket Lorena stoves and biomass briquettes. AAH Uganda supports project participants through a market-based approach which engages actors at all levels to deliver modern energy solutions.