The village has light!

The village has light!

Butezi Village with 78 households was identified as one of the most vulnerable villages to be the first village to receive solar lanterns for opportunity and empowerment! Butezi is characterized as mountainous and is bordered by three crater lakes. Distant from the main road, reliability of grid power is sporadic, if accessible at all. Nights were frequently spent in the dark.

Together, we helped to provide light and eliminate darkness. 

Perspective:

78 households averaging 5-7 members per household means that 390-546 people [women, men, children, elderly, disabled, farmers, midwives, out-of-school youth, builders, entrepreneurs] now have access to sustainable energy. An accomplishment in less than 2 months; an accomplishment that used to be unimaginable.

Perspective: According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics

The average nominal monthly household income in Ugandan shillings (shs) for rural households is 303,000shs ($80). That divided by say, 30 days (the month of April) allows 10,100shs per day! That’s about $2.50, and that’s only disposable income. “Disposable income someone has helps determine how much money they spend on [ANY] goods and services. … Disposable income is not to be confused with discretionary income, which takes it a step further. That is what is left of your disposable income after you’ve spent for necessities like rent, your mortgage payments, healthcare, transportation, and clothing.” ... And we can also put school fees under disposable income spending. (https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-disposable-income-4156858) A household then is, realistically, left with either no money at the end of the day/week/month, or they have a lot of decisions to make on what necessities they have to forfeit.

Perspective: Cost of lighting a household

The cost of light, needless to say, is extremely difficult to attain. According to the figures above, it’s almost impossible to even fund every household necessity. Ability, or lack thereof, to pay for electricity may be the reason as to why the percentage of households in Uganda with access to electricity (Lighting) was only 22% in 2017, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2016/17 household survey. For a marginalized and vulnerable household, lighting a home is simply not possible when facing the cost of grid power; so, lighting for the most marginalized and vulnerable households relies either through paraffin candles or kerosene lighting, or it's darkness.

solution:

Provide opportunity with solar lanterns for those who want to develop, who are willing to work for their development, and who want to work for their development so they may have the opportunity to begin and sustain development from a simple tool applied as a daily function for increased well-being and happiness.

Opportunity, Realized:

The ENTIRE Butezi Village of Rubirizi, SW Uganda now has access to sustainable energy. 78 solar lanterns mean 78+ unsustainable candles and lanterns are eliminated, which contributed to the almost 30% of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions from the use of paraffin and kerosene. 78 solar lanterns mean a decrease of the 78% of households without electricity access in Uganda. 78 solar lanterns mean an increase in household savings enough to begin sending an orphaned child to school, enough to invest in an improved seed variety for your garden so yields increase and subsistence farming ceases, enough for a village savings and loan association (VSLA) to invest in a shared rainwater harvesting tank to mitigate lake water fetching. 78 solar lanterns mean after-hours tailoring businesses, restaurant businesses, homework completion today so a child-turned-young adult can create a business tomorrow and afford to send their younger siblings to school to reciprocate the cycle and build the ladder out of poverty. There’s so much to it! The entire village now has access to sustainable light, and that is an opportunity, realized.

From Omushana’s “Opportunity, Realized Implementation Summary”:

“Southwestern Uganda is an area occupied by different tribes and it has over 35 Districts among those include Rubirizi that has 11 sub counties with 293 villages. Most of the villages in Rubirizi have no hydropower and also no solar access but depends on kerosene. Butezi Village, where the project is being implemented has no access to clean energy but the project Omushana is reaching them with service.
“In reaching the community, COVOID reached the mentioned village with the information before. This was done to inform the community about the solar lanterns and the light up the village program. The community committee included chairperson LC1s, who were used to gather members and mobilize resources from the community to pay for the lanterns. Before the distribution, each village had its resources [to pay dues] at hand, and therefore it was easy for each member to receive what he or she paid for. At distribution day, district chairperson LC5 [the mayor] together with COVOID directly reached the village and witnessed the activity.
“The project implementation was good because it touches on the lives of people and they were excited too. As in success, all the ordered solar lanterns by the community were delivered and members understood the idea of using sustainable light access. However, there was overwhelming demand which was not satisfied at that very time and also other communities have reached COVOID office advocating for the same opportunity."
  • Written by Bosco Tumuramye

Project Officer at Community Volunteer Initiative for Development (COVOID) & Head Project Officer of Omushana Solar Lantern Implementation

-Essentially, the communities are ready. The country is ready. The world is ready. And we are ready, so why wait?-
 

P.S.
Everyone who supported lighting the first village helped the initiative provide an average of 1.5 lanterns PER DAY to the most marginalized and vulnerable households in Uganda! We did that! We did that in the U.S., and we did that in Uganda!! We did that with friends from college, quick or one-time meet-ups, with people we don’t even know in our backyards to people over 5,000 miles away! We did that because we all had a goal in mind, whether that be providing or realizing opportunity, taking climate action and allowing others to join the effort, maybe you just wanted a cool looking shirt! Whatever the meaning was, you made a life changing impact.
 
If you didn’t believe you could make an impact before, we can confirm that you can now.

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Opportunity,

Pics from the sensitization session - to facilitate understanding of sustainable energy and proper solar lantern use. A discussion of the opportunity.

Realized.

Pics from the lantern implementation - the realization of opportunity.

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