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Empowering urban slum refugees through vocational skills building and application

Train urban slum refugees in manufacturing improved energy saving cook stoves for environmental protection and job creation.

Photo of ronald ssenfuka

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The ideaaims at promoting vocational hands on skills through training in improvedaffordable energy saving cook stoves for environmental and job creation.It seeks to empower vulnerable groups of people to identify their strength,creativity and turn them into business opportunities. It engages the localcommunities to contribute to the development in their areas and createsustainable benefit for all.


The ideaaddresses the following challenges;

Lack ofpractical skills for job creation

Lack ofentrepreneurship skill

Lack ofstart up capital

Isolationand depression

Fear toengage in practical hands on skills. As a result of the challenges slumvulnerable youth have resorted to engaging in risky behaviours such as drug andsubstance abuse, prostitution, increased HIV/AIDS and other STIs, increasedviolence all which increases the vulnerability level for the urban slum youth.


Wemobilise and organise the vulnerable urban slum youth inbusiness working groups of their own choices. Train them in group dynamicsand leadership to facilitate them effectively manage their group businesses established.

Throughorganised training we equip youth with entrepreneurship skills to enablethem manage and effectively run the businesses they establish for incomegeneration.

We linkthe groups to local government and private sector to enable them have a chanceto benefit from the existing opportunities to stimulate them selves and expandtheir initiatives through application of the knowledge acquired.

Weprovide support supervision and continuous mentorship to the groups and westrengthen their capacity through gaps analysis, business performance analysis,self measurement and together propose relevant solutions.


Project justification

Theproject reduces green-house emissions by disseminating fuel-efficient stoves.The project will contribute to increased manufacturing and distribution ofimproved fuel-efficient charcoal stoves for domestic and restaurant use. Theimproved charcoal stove reduces fuel consumption by introduction of aninsulated combustion chamber which increases combustion efficiency and retainsheat. Tests were conducted in 2006 to measure the fuel savings introduced bythe improved stoves, with the following results: 

-the improved charcoal stove reduced charcoal consumption in sampled householdsby 36% on average, in some cases saving more than 50% of the fuel usedpreviously.  While these stoves willsignificantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they simultaneously provide co-benefits to users and families in the form of relief from high fuel costs andreduced exposure to health- damaging airborne pollutants.   

Currentlyinefficient and polluting cooking regimes are deeply established in theculture. The project aim to break this mould and move large populations awayfrom conditions under which GHG emissions are unacceptably high, and healtheffects are unacceptably inhumane, for the women and children spending longhours each day in conventional kitchens. The cook stove project reduces greenhouse gasemissions by replacing traditional stoves with fuel-efficient cook stoves inhouseholds. This project reduces pressure on Uganda’s forests, improveslivelihoods and improves users' health. 

Uganda isone of the poorest nations in the world, with 38% of the population livingbelow the poverty line of US$1.25 per day. More than 95% of people in Ugandarely on wood and charcoal for cooking, one of the major causes ofdeforestation. The improved charcoal stoves reduce fuel consumption by anaverage of 36%. 

Compared to other energy options which arecurrently expensive, this project makes the stoves more affordable and promotestheir distribution, and in doing so brings substantial environmental, socialand economic benefits to Uganda’s poor. Nearly all people inurban setting prepare food for their families using an open fire in their home.This inefficient cooking method exposes users to dangerous pollutants andimpacts livelihoods due to the high cost of fuel. The Clean Cook stove Projecteliminates preventable deaths of mothers and children caused by open cookingfires in developing and newly industrialized countries by providing cleaner andmore efficient alternatives.


The ideauses locally available technologies which are easily accessed by the slumyouth. It offers hands on skills in making improved affordable energy savingcook stoves for environmental protection and jobs creation. Female youth aregiven a chance to participate therefore it addresses gender stereotyping amongfemales and empowers them to generate incomes of their own.


Majorityof people in Urban areas use cook stoves  to make a meal every day. Thestoves saves energy, saves money, saves lives, saves on tree cutting anddurable. The demand for energy saving stoves is high since majority of urbandwellers would like to improve their cooking behaviours. Households,restaurants and small businesses need the energy saving cook stoves.


Success potential

Starting improvedenergy saving stove business is not expensive since all materials andtechnology used can be locally accessed. Youth will be able to start businessesand earn incomes thus improved livelihoods.

Youth participated inidentification of this enterprise therefore ready to take it on, create jobsfor themselves and fight unemployment that has led to high rate of povertyamongst themselves.

Youth will be trainedin practical improved energy stoves making and in entrepreneurship skills , theknowledge they will use to successfully start and sustain their businesseswhile conserving the environment  andearning incomes.

Improved energy savingstoves are substitutes to local charcoal stoves thus having potential to beadopted by the entire community. It will also provide an opportunity for peopleto save energy and money at the same time.

Scale up potential

The cheaper technologyused in   production of improved energysaving stoves is easy to operate and available within the projectimplementation area. This will make it easy to be adopted by youth in the area.

AFHI will also equipthe youth will good marketing and interpersonal skills to be able toexceedingly sale their products hence a larger courage. Existing marketpotential of products will lead to the expansion of the project, because morerevenues will be generated and new businesses will be created and jobs for theyouth.

Favourable governmentpolicies  will enable this project to bescaled up to other areas in the municipality.

There is  abundance of almost cost free raw materialwhich is a potential for scalability.

There will be skillsacquisition which will enable youth scale up the project to other parts in thedivision

The expansion of Improved affordable energysaving stove making project entirely depends on the higher number of interestedyouth to join and acquire skills for job creation since they have no practicalskills and no formal education for income earning.

The targeted group isin the youthful working age with enough strength to undertake innovativeventures for survival and development of the self and the community in general.

Some youths haveelementary knowledge in enterprising, this is a quality possessed by promising future entrepreneurs, who will and also make others succeed in business. 


The sustainability matrix presentedbelow assesses the project in terms of environmental and sustainabledevelopment impact. The indicators are scored on the following basis: 

1. Water quality and quantity: The project has no negative effect on both water qualityand quantity in the country. It can be argued though that indirectly due tobiomass conservation, the project could, in principle result, in increasedforest cover in the water catchment areas, among others, resulting in increasedwater quantity. 

2. Air quality:  Mothers and childrenwill be exposed to fewer hazardous air pollutants through reduced emissions ofcarbon monoxide and fine particulate matter. Air pollution from cooking withsolid fuel is a key risk factor for childhood pneumonia as well as many otherrespiratory, cardiovascular, and ocular diseases. (Refer  to Pennise, D., Haigler, E., Ndemere, J.,Charron, D., “Indoor Air Pollution Monitoring Summary for Urban CommunityDevelopment Association’s Wood Stove Project”, CEIHD 2007, and “Assessing theSpread of Improved Charcoal Stoves in Urban Areas, Tanzania” by TanzaniaTraditional Energy Development and Environment Organization-TaTEDO;  

3. Biodiversity: Will be improved through the stove program reducingpressure on remaining forest reserves. Uganda is home to more than 5,000 plantspecies, 345 species of mammals, and 1,015 types of birds5. Once the projectachieves the expected 20,000 AFHI-Uganda users towards the 2nd and 4thyears, the annual conservation effect is therefore calculated as 1.8 savedtonnes/energy saving cook stove users multiplied by 20,000 users, or 0.16million tonnes of wood, representing 1,000 hectares saved each year. This is asignificant mitigation in the context of current deforestation causing loss ofhabitat and biodiversity in the order of 100,000 hectares per year, as itdemonstrates a practical step forward which can be followed with increasingdissemination of improved stoves contributing to increasing preservation ofbiodiversity. 

4. Employment quality: The improved stoves will give rise to employmentopportunities in manufacturing, distributing, retailing, and maintaining thestoves, as well as in relation to business development and management, and inrelation to technological skill. The jobs involved are almost all skilled orsemi-skilled, ranging from artisanal skill in ceramics, tin smithing, tobusiness management and marketing. Accordingly the quality is high, providing acadre of youth able to contribute positively to their society and able to earnincomes securely. 

5. Livelihood of the poor: The circumstances of poor families will be improved by areduction in expenditures on fuel due to the more efficient stoves. 

6 Access to energy services. The improved stoves require less fuel, which in many areascan be a very scarce resource or expensive to buy.  

7.Technological self-reliance. Theintroduction of locally manufactured technology with optimized energyefficiency will help to build technological self-reliance. The project willintroduce specialist skills in ceramics, involving careful mixing of theingredients of the stove insulation liners and the associated kiln constructionand kiln operation skills.


Youth were actively engaged in enterprise selection processusing pair wise ranking scores and choose improved energy saving stove as aviable business to venture in depending on its benefits to the youth, generalcommunity and the same time very easy to start and maintain since all rawmaterials are accessed locally. In the selection they looked at the costeffectiveness, availability of the technology, relevance to the environment,health and flexibility.       

Risks and assumptions

·        Improvedenergy saving stoves are fragile, and they can easily be destroyed duringdelivery to our customers.

·        There are existingcompetitors in the same business and have been in place for quite long time. Thismeans they have a potion of customers they sell their products in Kampala.

·        Unfavourablegovernment policies affecting project operations. For example the KampalaCapital City 2010 ordinance might jeopardize establishment of small stalls foryouth businesses.

·        Failure ofcooperation with partners, diverting project roles and responsibilities of eachpartner.

·        Pricefluctuations, affecting access to raw materials thus low productivity and lessbenefit accrued.

·        Limitedparticipation of project beneficiaries in the entire project implementationprocesses.

Assumption of the project include

·        Availabilityof funds for implementing project activities in and on time will facilitate thesuccess of project.

·        Youthwillingness to be trained and implement the knowledge and skills acquiredleading to businesses and jobs created.

·        Favourableweather condition for products enabling easy drying and maintain quality, thusincreasing market potential and sales.

·        Stable  prices for equipment's ,machinery and raw materials  enabling young single mothers to have acomparative advantage to engage in active production and creation of businessesand  jobs   

·        Durability ofproducts made to differentiate them from the existing ones thus out competethose already on market.      


·        Lobby andpartner with government and Involvement of local leaders at all levels ofproject implementation, will give leverage for Youth to understand key existingpolicies and regulations on garbage management.

·        SignMemorandum of understanding, with project key partners will clearly defineroles and responsibilities of each partner, thus addressing anticipatedmiss-understandings and resulting into proper management and replication ofbest practices.

·        Stocking rawmaterials for production will solve the problem of low productivity resultingfrom unstable prices of production materials.

·        Reporting intime to donors will enable funds to be disbursed on agreed time, thus adheringon project plan and budget.

·        Sensitize andencouraging youth to fully participate in the project activities will enablethem develop a sense of ownership and thus starting businesses and create jobsfor themselves.














95% of Ugandans residing in Urban centres cook on the daily basis. However majority use ordinary cooking options that cause heat loss and contribute to in door pollution in the house causing respiratory tract infections. In the proposed project we will provide hands on skills in manufacturing improved affordable energy saving stoves for environmental protection, job creation and improved livelihoods to the refugees residing in urban slum areas of Kampala.


The idea will benefit 200 urban slum refugees in Rubaga Municipality Kampala district in Uganda. These refugees are living in congested houses, challenged by poverty, poor housing and insanitation conditions and poor cooking habits. They stay in central region of Uganda.


Researched on the idea and found out its viability. Identified the market for the products mobilised beneficiaries


We have already received feedback from the community and partners. They appreciated the idea of increasing access to improved energy cook stoves and those that use them offered their perception on the usage, how they save energy, how they reduce in house pollution, how they save on heat loss, how they save on money spent on buying charcoal. They also gave feedback on the quality and durability. Others commented that they earn money by selling the products.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

We need help to expand the idea to benefit more people. To achieve this l will need financial support to train more people and manufacture more improved affordable energy saving stoves. I have experience working with refugee communities and have come to understand their needs and have practically engaged them in trainings that improved their livelihoods.


RONALD is a social and development specialist, passionate about working with vulnerable groups to reduce their vulnerability by improving their socio-economic living condition. He has knowledge and experience in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluation of development programs


  • Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.
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Project theory of change explaining how the project is implemented. In a nutshell it shows the interconnectedness of the skills provided and how they contribute to realisation of the entire goal of the project.

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Photo of Hassan Bashir Ahmed

These is a great contribution,and it can work here in kakuma refugee camp which mainly is the youth and there the most adventitious ones and it will help them gain skills through engineering and become self dependent.

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