Providence of training in building energy saving stoves and solar installations led us to our next field trip to Mbale in the eastern region of Uganda. This trip was carried out in cooperation with another NGO from Denmark, Seniors Without Borders, established in 2004 with the purpose that active seniors use their experience in helping poor and oppressed people, working with the vision that projects in progress must contain a local basis/connection, and that “help to self-help” is the road forward.
Their project called “Sustainable Energy With A Social Profile” (Bæredygtig energi med en social profil) has several purposes. Target is to establish a sustainable energy supply in four villages (Bufumbo, Kapchorwa, Bududa, Sironko) around the city of Mbale which can improve the living conditions in the area in general but most specifically for women and underprivileged groups like widows and orphans. ‘Seniors Without Borders’ intend to reduce the consumption of charcoal and firewood to decrease deforestation and health problems (,especially among women). Furthermore they want to evaluate local so-called SACCOs (Saving and Credit Co-operative Organisations) so that those are able to undertake collective investment and maintenance tasks within their community, especially in terms of energy. The project is developed in partnership with CBOs in the four villages and in collaboration with Farm Mountain Randers, Care Denmark, Randers Millennium and us – JEEP Uganda.
During our trip we provided three primary schools in the rural areas of Mbale with solar systems, each including a phone charging system to be either used by the teachers or to run commercially for the profit to be reserved in favour of the school children and additionally the community (or SACCOs). As mentioned above, reducing the consumption of charcoal and firewood is another essential point. Therefore the production of energy saving stoves was trained and introduced through courses held by our JEEP staff involving about 10 women per village intending that families will produce their own stoves but are also able to set up small co-operatives which will sell the stoves at market conditions to create more income.
Enough about the intentions of the project. If you would like to know more about the cooperation and the project of Seniors Without Borders, visit their project-page (Danish, but Google Translate always helps :-P).
Now have a look at the work we’ve done over there and enjoy some great pictures! Would like to get some comments! 😉 Do you think its worth spending money in such projects? Would you rather say its sustainable or just a waste of time? Let me know!