smallsolutions Energy Enterprise Development Program
19 May 2010. smallsolutions and its local partner the East African Energy Technology Development Network - Uganda have been effectively implementing change in rural communities by introducing affordable solar lighting products, more efficient cooking methods and helping to build a locally based sustainable energy market infrastructure.
The central ugandan Lyantonde District is characterized by an agricultural economy with an electrification rate of about 1%. The majority of the 80,000 people living here are forced to use kerosene oil for lighting and firewood, charcoal or dung for cooking on inefficient three stone fires. With the large dissemination of cell phones, finding power to charge cell phones is also a big challenge and an even bigger expense.
Incomes average less than $3 per day and lighting and cooking fuel costs consume up to 50% of disposable income. The use of these fuels perpetuates the poverty cycle and stifles development and the detrimental effects of these fuels are numerous. In addition to increased safety hazards from open flames, lower economic productivity, lack of light in the evening, poor information access and environmental damage, these energy sources cause very serious health problems - predominantly among women and children.
smallsolutions has been following a small scale grass roots approach that is proving to be very effective. Together with community partners and local leaders, we have been able to introduce a coordinated strategy of sensitization, mobilization, capacity building and business development activities which is empowering local people to raise themselves out of the cycle of poverty and take ownership of their energy future.