Transferring Alternative Renewable Energy: Biogas to households in Uganda

The historical perspective of Alternative Renewable Energy in Uganda indicates that biogas has been in Uganda since 1950. Its dissemination and adaptation have met limited success owing to the higher upfront costs and low technical human resource potential. However, since early 90s, biogas technology has become a system for practical application at household, institutional and industrial level. The number of bio-digesters in Uganda has grown from an estimated 100 in 1990 to 700 digesters by 2008. Associated failure rate has been high (estimated at 15 – 20%), and this has been mainly attributed to limited skills on the part of the masons and technicians and inadequate operation and maintenance by the household. The programme will install 12,000 biogas plants in five years (2009 to 2013). Assuming an annual failure rate of 2%, and an average bio digester size 9m3 by the end of 5 years 11,760 installations will be operational. The gross energy production of these installations will be equivalent to over 175.874.800m3 and the installed net power of these installations will lead to almost 38.632 MW. Saving of conventional fuel sources will be made, especially in terms of firewood. There will be reduction of workload especially for women and Children who mostly deal with cooking. Health and sanitation conditions will be improved, in ways that benefits women and children who usually work in unhealthy kitchens with smoke. Farmers will experience increase in Agricultural production through proper utilization of slurry. Other expected results include employment generation and reduction in Greenhouse gas emission especially Carbon dioxide and Methane (CH4)

Energy Liberation for Women in Mwizi, Uganda By Gertrude Kenyangi, Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment

Born in a remote village in Uganda, Edita Gakyaro lost her mother at birth and her father to AIDS at a very early age. Her paternal uncle dispossessed her of the land her parents had left her and none of the distant relatives who took her in could afford school fees. 16 hours a day, every day, she cultivated, cooked and served food, washed dishes, fetched water, gathered fuelwood, and took care of sick members of the family. To escape from this life of drudgery, she married before she was 18 years old. Her husband, only a few years older than her and in no better circumstances, frequently beat her. SWAGEN helped Edita transform her life. She was trained in fuel-efficient stove construction, reducing her household fuel consumption significantly. She was able to construct a rainwater harvesting tank, providing clean water for household use well into the dry season. She also received five beehives and and training in the harvesting of honey. She now markets her honey in a cooperative formed with other beneficiaries of the project. When asked what she thought of the project, Edita said, “I am a new creature! The project has given me a second life. I have time to go to functional adult literacy classes, and I can now read and write my name. I have money from selling honey, and I can buy myself vaseline without begging from my husband. He is careful not to treat me badly because he sees that I can leave him and be independent. I have bargaining power now.

Community Adaptation and Mitigation Program

Goal: Climate proofing the livelihood of the forest-edge community through implementation of Climate Change adaptation and mitigation activities.

  • To increase community awareness of and participation in conservation
  • To enhance energy efficiency and promote alternative renewable energy use of households and educational institutions
  • To support existing forest based non timber income generating activities
  • To establish forest-edge community owned tree plantations on NFA owned land
  • To strengthen the Collaborative linkages between the Forest-edge community, NFA, and other stakeholders.

Urban Agriculture Project in Slum area

Goal: To improve the livelihoods of the Slum Dwellers in Kamwokya Slum Area in Kampala
  • Behavioral change
    This involves community mobilization, information-education-communication (IEC) of messages for change of attitude towards solid waste. It is aimed at converting people’s traditional regard of waste as despicable to regarding solid waste as a resource. The message content is mainly reduction, reuse and recycling and safe solid waste disposal for maintenance of local infrastructure. It also involves equipping the community with awareness and skills to respond to the adverse effects of Climate Change. It is achieved through use of the electronic (Radio) media, posters, workshops, etc.

  • Establishment of court-yard gardens
    The biodegradable is separated into material for composting, material for making charcoal briquettes and material for making animal feed. The compost will be used by the project beneficiaries and urban slum households to practice confined space (urban) agriculture. It will be packed in sacks and food crops such as vegetables like lettuce, and fruits like strawberries will be grown on the sacks. The animal feeds will be sold to livestock farmers within and out of Kampala. It provides an alternative especially as the maize crop failure rate has continued to increase owing to Climate Change. The un-biodegradable consists of polythene bags, glass, metal, plastics which will be taken to recycling factories; paper, wood shavings and charcoal dust will be converted into charcoal briquettes and sold at a cheap price to the slum community for cooking. An average household of 6 members uses one 100kg bag of charcoal per week, estimated to be made out of 3 trees, each measuring 3m x 1m. The 100kg bag of charcoal has debris of 5kg charcoal dust as waste. That converts to 12 trees per month per household, 144 trees per year per household.

  • Climate proofing infrastructure
    Under this component, there is keeping drainage channels clear by collection of solid waste into a central location. It involves sorting of waste into biodegradable and unbiodegradable for reuse, recycling or safe disposal. It is geared at reducing flooding and protection of facilities such as housing and pit latrines against the ravages of flooding due to Climate Change.

  • Sustainable Business Development
    The women beneficiaries will be organized into cooperatives to generate income from their surplus urban agricultural produce and sale of charcoal briquettes, using the solid waste as a resource.