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Modernising energy use in Northern Uganda

Over 1.2 million people benefited from the Providing Access to Modern Energy for Northern Uganda (PAMENU) project, which ran from January 2008 to May 2011. The project helped people in Northern Uganda access modern energy, by assisting Northern Ugandans to install solar and hydro technologies and also by providing energy efficient stoves. This is not only life changing for the people affected, but in the case of new stoves can be life saving as people convert to cleaner fuels in the home.

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In Northern Uganda, it is estimated that only about 1% of the population are connected to the power grid. With 60% of the region living in poverty as against the national average of 38%, Northern Uganda has the least access to modern energy services in the country.

93% of people still rely on biomass for energy in Northern Uganda – particularly for cooking. Indeed, the major cause of deforestation in Uganda is the consumption of wood and charcoal.  Lighting is overwhelmingly produced using diesel generators, batteries and kerosene lamps. As well as being destructive to the environment, this inefficient use of energy uses up large proportions of people's meagre incomes in the region.

Particular benefits for women and children

The burden of finding firewood overwhelmingly falls on women and children, who often have to walk more than 3 km to find suitable fuel. This prevents them from pursuing other opportunities, such as education. Moreover, women and children are most likely to suffer from indoor air pollution related diseases caused by cooking on open fires and lighting with kerosene lamps.

Joyce Ayikoru started using an improved lorena rocket stove as a result of PAMENU. She says: “I bought a eucalyptus tree to use as a firewood supply. The improved stove is so efficient that I am still using that wood a year after buying it. This stove not only saves costs and time but also encourages me to be organised. Better still, because it's so easy and clean to use, my family has no problem participating in the cooking activities. I am just a happy woman

A commercial approach

PAMENU follows a commercial approach in that all the running costs of the project are covered by the end users benefiting from the programme. Use of microfinance allows poorer households to access a wide variety of technologies which not only improves their quality of life, but also saves them money, allowing them to redivert their income to other activities.

Allan Huge received a loan to purchase a solar home product. Despite the high investment cost, he is happy with the end result. He says: "Through accessing a solar loan at Post Bank, my children are able to study and my family feels safe at night since we have light around my home"

Training, electrification and improved stoves

As a result of this project, 140 instructors of solar technicians have been trained and 7,500 artisans have acquired energy efficient household stove construction skills. 700 solar home systems and lanterns have been installed and via Photo Voltaic systems an added 230 households, social institutions and SMEs have improved cooking methods. Pico-hydro plants have electrified communities in Gwere-Luzira and Menyar in Metu subcounty, Moyo district and Okabi in Oluko subcounty, Arua district. Lastly more than 190,000 households and 220 social institutions and SMEs were provided with improved cooking stoves.

Churchill Lacere Olanya is the headmaster of Arua Public Secondary School, which was assisted with the construction of a new stove. He says: "On the whole, the kitchen staff seem happy and excited with the new institutional stove constructed by the project. Meals are cooked promptly and the kitchen is always clean and tidy. It’s unbelievable how little firewood we use these days! We save up to 50% on wood compared to when we used the three-stone technology which was wasteful"

Funding and partners

€1.6 million of this €4 million euro project was provided by the EU. The project was implemented in partnership with:

  • Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH 
  • Integrated Family Development Initiatives (IFDI)


A success story: Access to energy in Northern Uganda

The PAMENU project pdf - 146 KB [146 KB] (Providing Access to Modern Energy in Northern Uganda) financed through the ACP-EU Energy Facility uses solar panels, stoves and micro-hydro power to provide access to sustainable energy services to poor rural populations of Uganda

The Africa-EU Energy Partnership: the Pamenu project in Uganda
Last update: 13/04/2012 | Top