Energy for everyone
ENVenture makes sustainable energy solutions accessible to people in remote areas of Uganda. Through a special incubator programme, ENVenture trains local non-profit cooperatives and community-based organisations (CBOs) to develop sustainable energy businesses. Once trained, they serve their own communities. Thus, large groups of people who were formerly dependent on costly, polluting kerosene gain access to affordable, sustainable energy.
Access to technologies
Every household needs energy to prepare food and provide lighting – in short, to live. But because energy is expensive and many parts of Uganda have no local electricity grid, people are forced to rely on polluting energy sources that are also often dangerous. These include kerosene lamps, which can fall over and start fires.
The problem in Uganda is not a lack of sustainable energy technologies but a lack of access to them. Of the people who cannot get modern, clean fuel for cooking or sustainable electricity to light their homes and neighbourhoods, 85% live in remote rural places, also known as last-mile-problem areas. They do not have access to resources that may, for example, be available in Kampala.
ENVenture’s mission is to increase the accessibility of sustainable energy solutions for people in remote areas of Uganda. ENVenture not only sells products such as non-electric water filters and cookstoves but works with local organisations to create a network of businesses that are financially healthy, operate independently and serve their communities. ENVenture provides small loans to these local CBOs, which are organised centrally but respond to the needs of local people. Broad-based support is garnered by not forcing choices on communities but allowing village leaders to make them.
Through an incubator programme, ENVenture helps the CBOs develop into sustainable energy businesses. To participate, they must have existed for at least five years, maintain administrative records, be officially registered and want to work with a mentor from ENVenture. They also take part in group training sessions and network meetings.
A better quality of life
ENVenture directly helps to improve the lives of users of its products. DOEN partner 60 Decibels surveyed 133 customers of affiliated CBOs and found that 93% were enjoying an enhanced quality of life after obtaining sustainable energy products. They were paying less for energy, had more money left over, and felt safer with their surroundings better lit at night.