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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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Name of the Project -Renewable energy-solar and biomass to save the people and the planet. Organisation name: Rural Women and Youth Coordination-RWYC Executive Summary: Project location-RWYC is located in Lira, Northern Uganda. Problem to solve: A project to electrify the villages using solar energy, to save over 500 tones of Co2 by no longer burning wood and fossil fuel- diesel and paraffin and without this project the community would not have access to energy or electrified their villages. The need for renewable energy is imperative as the growing scarcity of fire wood is already causing clashes between refugees and host communities. Wood-based energy- causes deforestation, land degradation like soil erosion, landslides. Other effects are climate change, erratic rain, floods and prolonged droughts that also lead to deaths of animals as habitat and human beings due to effects of smoke, etc. including risks by women and girls who travel long distances in search of firewood, face risks of being raped or other abuse. Fossil fuels- diesel and kerosene- cause air pollution, cardiovascular diseases. Project approach to solving the problem: Solar fields help the long-term sustainability of the villages, and are good for the environment, and generate local employment, good health, social economic growth and education. In addition, solar powered pumps would help irrigation to boost food production and reduce food insecurity and related sicknesses, like malnutrition, underweight in children, etc. Construction of bio gas digesters which use animal waste to produce composts and liquid fertilizers from animal waste, which would then be incorporated into the farms operations. • Number of targeted beneficiaries: 100,000-2 million • Name of applying NGO(s) Rural Women and Youth Coordination • Contact information P.O.B. 102 Lira Uganda, Email:, Impact- Renewable energy would increase access to energy and also help to reduce the current clashes between refuges and host communities and reduce the risks associated with searching for firewood in the far distances by women, girls and children, who also expose them to sexual abuses and more, as well as enable in return refugees would continue to enjoy the hospitality of host community. Above all, both refugees and host communities would have enough time to take part in enterprise development and other training being provided by various organizations towards improving their well being and transforming their lives as well as enable them provide for their families. Attenuating or mitigating global GHG emissions by cutting down use of wood-based energy and fossil fuel using alternative energy sources- solar energy and waste treatment-biomass is the first option in the battle to reduce not only human-induced emissions at source, but also help to increase access to clean energy, improve community health and reduce clashes between refugees and host communities due to growing scarcity of fire wood or disappearing forest and vegetation. Organizational Background Organization name Rural Women and Youth Coordination Registration status, No: LDLG/2016/091 Organization type: NGO/CBO, Specialty area- Health, Education, Early childhood development, Water and Sanitation, Agribusiness, Environment and social enterprises 3. Problem Statement The problem statement, also called the ‘project justification,’ ‘project rationale,’ or ‘project background’ is an argument in favor of implementing the proposed project. It gives a detailed explanation of why you want to implement this specific project in this specific location in this specific manner. State of the problem. Massive deforestation by refugees in Uganda sparks clashes with local people Communities clash over natural resources as arrivals from South Sudan and DRC plunder environment for fuel and construction One example, South Sudanese refugees at Bidi Bidi settlement centre in North Uganda. Besides, the region is still recovering from Internally Displacement, both of these resulting into the cutting down of millions of trees that has now sparked angry clashes in parts of Uganda between local people and refugees who have been fleeing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The timber is being used for house construction, fuel and to make charcoal. In the north and west of the country, where an estimated 1.1 million refugees are living, massive deforestation is drawing protests by local communities, as they see their own environment being depleted increasingly. Meanwhile, climate change has had an impact in northern region for several years. Although in many cases the communities affected are only aware of climate change because of media coverage. Over the last five years, the rains did not start when expected. We would get heavy rain for a week and then not a drop for the next 3 or 5 weeks. Traditional crops like beans, maize, groundnuts, sesame, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes and more have been feeling the strain they are very susceptible to excessive rain and sunshine. Thus, the reason we have included solar powered drip irrigation I our rural electrification project. • Summary relevant background information about the region, community and resources available. 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. In addition, the average daily consumption of firewood by refugees in northern Uganda is 1.6 kg per person and among host communities, 2.1 kg. Competition for available resources could become a source of tension between the refugees and host communities. This Initiative is to reduce the conflict between the communities, as deforestation is affecting both the environment and the co-existence of the two communities, often violently. This organisation has documented a number of clashes. Refugees have complained that they have suffered abuses at the hands of Ugandans who oppose the sharing of these resources. Sharing of natural resources is often one of the main concerns raised by both refugees and Ugandans living close to the refugee settlements. This is the case for firewood, as well as for grass [used for thatched roofs], and to a more limited extent, land and water ponds. We welcomed the news that trees would be planted, but in addition, Our concern is – can these seedlings be raised in time for the long rains which are almost upon us? And what species will be promoted? • Specific information regarding the focus area and beneficiaries, including input from the community. Estimates show that there are about eight million households in Uganda consisting of 11 million people (75%) who do not have access to energy. Nevertheless, the government in this 10-years Rural Electrification Strategy set a target to increase access to electricity in rural areas to just 26% by 2022, that means a bigger population will still have to wait for yet more years to come for them to access power for their usage. In contrast, the use of energy sources such as fossil fuels, kerosene and green energy, charcoal, fire woods and more, which are widely used in Uganda for homes and businesses, have adverse effects on both the health of consumers and environment. The solar energy serves as the best option for rural areas as expansion of the grid infrastructure cannot ensure access to most rural homestead, since they are scattered. So the mini grids solar power alternative can provide electricity in quantities similar to the main grid, thus can effectively serve isolated yet clustered populations. This is important, especially with the reduction in the cost of renewable energy technologies of which solar is a part. So far the distributions of solar kits in some rural areas have improved academic performances as well as boosted productivity and development. • Explain the organizational strength and capacity in addressing this problem and achieving long-term impact. In 2008, one project identified tree planting/restoration of degraded lands after the 20 year war which was disrupted by prolonged drought. Second from 2016 is experimenting agroforestry still suffering from the same challenge, while the 3rd is now helping farmers to boost production by climate smart agriculture ,to be supported by Solar power, that would sustainably increase productivity, resilience(adaptation), reduces/removes GHGs, (mitigation) and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals-represents a significant approach to achieving short-and-long-term agricultural development priorities in the face of climate change and serves as a bridge to meeting other development priorities. 4. Goals & Objectives Objectives: i) To protect the environment access to energy that replaces wood-based and fossil fuels and support economic empowerment and development of the local people. ii) To offer access to renewable energy services and or affordable energy for local businesses and home usages iii) To contribute to development through access to renewable energy for the benefits of the poor communities in rural areas. iv) To encourage projects that aim at reducing environmental degradation, poverty, marginalisation and idleness among youth, women and the community as a whole. To contribute to development through access to renewable energy that support enterprise development for the benefits of the poor communities, especially the women and youth 5. Scope of Work Renewable – Biogas and solar energy- field to help the long term sustainability of the rural community, as well as good for the environment and generates local employment, education, increased access to energy and more. This is an existing still project, operating at small-ready to scale-up, which increases access to energy for remote communities through renewable energy. RWYC aims to boost the access to energy in rural areas by 30% by 2021 and 40% by 2030. These objectives would lead to 2.3 GW by 2021 and 7.6 GW by 2030. 6. Beneficiaries Problems: Over 90% of households consume wood-based-fire wood, charcoal, green waste and fossil fuels-diesel, and kerosene for domestic energy. More than 600,000 women die every year in Africa due to pollution associated with the burning of fuel wood to cook food, not to mention the carbon footprint of such practices. The energy issue is therefore multifaceted, including economic, environmental, gender and public health concerns. Efficient tailored energy policies are essential for all of these reasons. Biomass is a major niche opportunity, in terms of biogas production from fermented waste which would be a source of energy and organic fertilizer, while making effective use of farm waste. RWYC’s plan for an emerging community– does not consider energy as a separate sector but rather as an input. This highlights a collective awareness regarding the need to adopt a multisector approach to energy planning, but it remains to be seen how this will be translated into action. Universal access to energy services in Africa ultimately requires subsidies targeted towards renewable energy and energy efficiency. To this end, the long term plan for energy access would include promoting jatropha production-agro fuel to contribute to small-scale rural electrification, jatropha seeds would be processed into pure jatropha oil to be used as biofuel in place of diesel which charge the atmosphere with fumes. Jatropha is a perennial plant that grows in all types of soil in the tropics. Jatropha can be beneficially grown in association with food crops such as maize, groundnut, cowpea, and more.

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


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


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sultan Hussein

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Sultan and same to you.

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