WWF Launches Massive EU Funded Rural Electrification Project
The new project aims to replace kerosene lighting and provide greater access to electricity for communities living in areas that are currently off the national grid. WWF plans to provide at least 17,157 households with small solar Photovoltaic (PV) home systems, set up 20 mini-grids to benefit at least 200 small businesses like bars, restaurants and salons and set-up up to 50 solar PV systems of 1,000W for social institutions, that is, 30 schools and 20 health centres.
The three districts located in the Albertine rift towards the Uganda-DRC border were particularly singled out by WWF because of their geographical location in a region of high biological sensitivity. Kasese in particular is still predominantly rural, with 48% of the population living below the poverty line, and less than 10% of its rural population connected to the electricity grid. Most households, businesses and social institutions in the District use kerosene lamps for lighting and have challenges meeting their basic energy needs. It is because of these challenges that WWF has been present in the Albertine region for several years.
The new solar project therefore aims to empower the rural communities in Kasese, Arua and Masindi to operate and maintain solar PV technologies for both domestic and commercial use. The expectation is that through these project interventions, there will be improved local economic development and reduction in both health problems and greenhouse gas emissions that come as a result of kerosene use.
As part of project sustainability, the schools shall be expected to contribute about 30% payment of the solar system costs while the households shall be expected to cover the full costs of the kits they acquire but paid in small instalments, over an agreed period of time. The health centres shall not be required to pay any costs for their systems. The District Local Governments and some CBO’s shall also be involved in the implementation of the project.
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