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Renewable energy to Save the people, save the planet and maintain Hospitality of host communities.

Save lives, & reduce the impact of environmental changes & their energy use on the livelihoods & well-being of refugees & host communities.

Photo of Obua Godfrey

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Universal access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa is still clearly insufficient. In Uganda, for example, less than a third of the population has an electrical connection. To this end, 80-90% of households consume wood-based fuels (firewood, charcoal, green waste, and fossil fuel) for domestic energy. Although this dependence on local renewable energy resources has advantages, household pollution caused by fuel combustion for indoor cooking and heating is highly damaging and, according to WHO claims the lives of almost 600,000 Africans each year. In addition, energy requirements include the growing irrigation, storage, processing, and domestic usages, cooking, lighting and charging batteries among others. Considering the energy source and the influx of refugees in this region, calls for an urgent need for energy transition by use of Africa’s energy potential to replace the current energy sources, given the environmental impact of settling refugees in refugee-hosting areas in Uganda. PROJECT OBJECTIVES: • To reduce the impact of settling refugees and their energy use on the environment with an emphasis on forests and vegetation cover in the surrounding; • To promote Energy transition, urgently needed to Save lives, & reduce the impact of environmental changes & their energy use on the livelihoods & well-being of refugees & host communities (men, women & children) • prospectively examine existing and potential mitigation measures against the misuses of energy. Above all, to enable us to look after the planet for future generations.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

This project is for Northern Uganda, hosting over two million refugees from the neighbouring countries, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, among others, besides the host communities are still recovering from the effect of the twenty-year war in the region, and also former Internally Displaced People, faced by many challenges such as lack of access to energy sources that do not harm humans or damage the environment.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

RWYC intends to help the host communities and refugees leapfrog to renewable energy systems that support low-carbon development strategies while enhancing economic and energy security in this region by solar fields, or plants. The dual advantage of this choice is that it will overcome the reliance on would-based or fossil fuel and contribute to energy independence, reducing health hazards, environmental degradation, and energy conflicts with host communities due to growing scarcity of firewood.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

We are working to promote access to energy by vulnerable rural communities, also host to millions of refugees. Above all, Energy is a vital requirement. Access to energy is essential for us to implement structural changes, our idea also prompts developing communities to apply compatible development models in a shift away from fossil fuel use, and also calling for highly decentralised energy generation to facilitate universal access to energy, while, stressing that mini-decentralised or off-grid power initiatives are more responsive to rural inhabitants’ needs. In addition, decentralizing energy generation also offsets loss of energy along electrical grids – experts have since noted that Africa has the worst energy inefficiency rate in the world due to its outdated infrastructure. Solar energy for example, is not only sustainable; it is renewable and this means that we will never run out of it. It is about nature as a source of power as it is possible to generate electricity.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Affordable clean energy has several areas of application besides domestic usages, cooking, lighting, charging batteries and enterprise development as well as in agricultural value chains. These include: (i) pumping water for homes and irrigating crops, especially the application of drip irrigation; (ii) driving automated solar-powered small-scale mechanised agriculture e.g. small-scale solar-powered soybean to combine harvesters; and (iii) post-harvest processing and cold food chain ventures. The recognised role of clean energy as an important driver and enabler of development, and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), important as the poor have no access to clean energy. This calls for drastic and fast action if Africa is to attain the development aspirations of Agenda 2063 and deliver on the SDGs.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

The average daily consumption of firewood by refugees in northern Uganda is 1.6 kg per person and among host communities, 2.1 kg- causing Competition for available resources due to reducing or disappearing forests by continuous cutting of trees and woodland degradation, as well as devastating climatic effects. Clean energy does not involve any environmental effects as wood-based and fossil fuels being used by the people today in this region. The need for clean energy is imperative, given the country’s fertility rate, estimated at 6.3% with a population growth of 3.2% making Uganda one of the fastest-growing populations in the world. Therefore, as the population continues to grow, demand for services such as energy also grows, necessitating structural reforms in infrastructure, especially the energy sector. The target for energy should be above 4000MW and more for Uganda to achieve a balance in economic growth and development for the rural areas.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

The community comprise of 67% refugees : 33% host 49% male : 51% female. The problems associated with overpopulation include the increased demand for resources such as fresh water and food, starvation and malnutrition, consumption of natural resources such as wood-based and fossil fuels, faster than the rate of regeneration, and a deterioration in living conditions. We are aware that there is a need for more fundamental understanding of the linkages between this population processes and global environmental changes. Since, Population growth, composition, and distribution have important interrelationships with land use, land cover, and global climate change. They also affect demand for other kinds of natural resources because, for any given combination of technology, energy use patterns, and social organization, population can have important multiplying effects in relation to global change. The need for policy responses to global change also varies with the size, composition, and more

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Due to the fact that the settling of refugees is causing widespread environmental damage, we want to be able to decrease the tensions. We really need to roll that back and the sooner the better, with alternative energy sources-renewable energy-solar & biomass. Reaching remote rural areas with clean, reliable and affordable energy can immensely transform rural areas by enterprise development, such as welding, saloons, cold drinks businesses, tailoring, as well as improving agricultural production, like support investments in value addition and marketing. Africa continues to depend on rain-fed agriculture. This should not be the case. Rainfall patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable as a result of climate change. Farmers should, therefore, be encouraged to invest in on-farm ponds, into which rainwater can be harvested and pumped for drip irrigation, using solar pumps. Such irrigation systems spur more productivity, steady growth and transition, especially of rural communities.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

For implementation of the project, with available funding, we shall be working with a project development company and boutique advisory firm specialised in renewable energy project or other relevant partners as needed. Currently we have not yet contracted any partners but we hope to be working with some partners during project scale phases.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Systems design: Solutions that target changing larger system

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Group or Organization Name

Rural Women and Youth Coordination

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Rural Women and youth coordination work to empower maginalised people in post war period on education, health, water and sanitation, enterprise development, entrepreneurship as well as life skills development training to enable vulnerable communities to live in harmony with one another. We are part of the communities we serve and we are aware of the most pressing needs and challenges that we face today, that need urgent constructive policy and interventions, in order to avoid the foreseen conflicts in the region. We would like to promote Access to renewable energy as the best way forward and also an important driver of development with direct impact on key areas such as education, household incomes, health, the environment as well as safety. Renewable energy would provide for more restoration projects, like tree planting in the whole rural and remote areas of the country sides, which have experienced serious deforestation and land degradation over the years.

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

Uganda

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Lira Northern

Attachments (1)

Reports on climate change, scarcity, and risks of both fuel sources.docx

Investigative Report on the need for alternative energy resources or renewable energy- solar and biomass

34 comments

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Photo of Sultan Hussein
Team

Hi,Obua
This idea sound great and might bring the positive impact to the society by solving all those problems between the host and the refugees and the whole environment at large.The thing is using trees to do their daily activities might be cheaper than using that energy you will be providing.There fore since the refugees might not be able to afford it,are you considering to provide them with this service for free.

Photo of Obua Godfrey
Team

Hi Sultan,
Thank you for your comments.
Well, it would sound as the cheapest but only if it were renewable and sustainable in the rural areas, where in the next 10 years or so there would be nomore space for tree planting either than for cultivation of crops. And do you not think the situation is already more expensive? In addition, we would also love to hear from you more about the best alternative that would also increase access to energy by rural people. Furthermore, when we are considering about the numerous problems, like disappearing forests, scarcity of firewood, the long distances that women and girls have to travel risking their lives in search of fire woods and the insecurity these involve, the health risks from the smokes for the users, women and children-see attachment, the reports that people have to skip cooking meals or sometimes cook from the neighbourhoods, the refugees’ clashes with the hosts, the demand by refugees being over 1 kilogram of fire wood per day and that of the hosts being over 2 kilograms of fire wood per day, competition over the scarce resources due to increase in population and many more.
I think these are a lot more expensive as it involves humanitarian relationships, risking lives, health hazards, and the environment/climate change, than using solar power that is far less than €1/kwh.
To us we take solar as the best alternative energy source that we should promote to intervene for all these energy crisis, not only for being renewable or lying within the Equator but also being reliable, as even the government is using solar in place of hydroelectricity on all the new tarmac streets in the newly created cities up country. So for these interventions, we are not only targeting the camps, as the hosts are also recovering from the effects of the twenty year war which also affected the forests and the vegetation in this region as well and the refugees settlement have only added on to the situation that was already vulnerable to desertification due degradation effects.
This project aimed to serve both communities, for the refugees camps, we would seek advice from our partners working for these refugees to find the best way to intervene or to find out whether there is a possibility of subsidizing some costs involved, that we may not be able to cover by this project, so that the refugees could also benefit fully for their various usages. As for the hosts, we shall install affordable solar panels or plants as well as bio gas energy in all the areas hard hit by the effect of camps for the hosts communities to use the renewable energy power to restore the degraded lands, tree planting and fruits growing, in areas where the Internally Displaced People’s camps-IDPs, were located, to be powered by solar water pumps as well as for irrigation of their farms to reduce food insecurity and for use by communities to create enterprise development. Solar energy is not expensive at all. We already have some few people using it in a small scale for irrigation of farms and at their homes.
Finally, we would encourage developing communities to go for renewable energy that has so far proven as a more efficient energy alternative for constructive rural development.
Regards, Godfrey Obua.

Photo of Sultan Hussein
Team

Since you understand and you are willing to make the society understand it sounds like a wonderful idea and on top of that I wish you all the best

Photo of Obua Godfrey
Team

Thank you Sultan. For sure we all understand and we are all feeling the pinch of it. Unless we provide access to a sustainable energy, no other interventions can succeed given the effects of climate change like prolonged droughts that has failed us for over 5 consecutive years for agroforestry projects as well as tree planting. That is why we are passionate about solar water pumps to provide irrigation in place of rain fed which is now unreliable and unpredictable. So this project would provide support for a good number of projects and programmes.
Thanks for your time.
Regards Godfrey Obua

Photo of Sultan Hussein
Team

I wish you luck and thanks for the immediate response,hope to see the great impact to the society where your idea will be implemented.God bless you.

Photo of Obua Godfrey
Team

Thank you Sultan and same to you.

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