Refugees and host communities across 13 districts in Uganda are to benefit from a multi-billion sustainable energy response plan.
The three-year project funded by the German Development Agency, GIZ, will cost 876 Billion Shillings and will enable refugees and the host communities to attain access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy for socio-economic development.
The project that was launched on Thursday aims at increasing the sustainability of firewood and charcoal, increasing access to alternative cooking options, and increasing access to electricity and efficiency in cooking, targeting over 1.5 million immigrants.
Charles James Lolo, the Refugee Forum Representative from Imvepi Refugee Camp in Terego District noted that the influx of refugees in the country spells danger to the environment since the majority of them rely on firewood fuels to meet their daily needs.
He asked the government to direct more financial support in the skills training and construction of reliable renewable energy cooking stoves to empower women and refugees, to undertake rigorous tree planting around the refugee settlements to replenish the environment.
Joseph Karungi, the LCV Chairperson of Kamwenge, one of the refugee hosting districts said that the high demand for wood fuel is being compounded by the lack of alternative cleaner energy such as electricity and gas that are unaffordable to vulnerable homesteads.
Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja appealed to the partners to construct storied buildings for the refugees to reduce the pressure on the land.
Nabbanja explained the sustainable energy response plan for refugees and host communities aligns with the National Development Plan-NDP III which recognizes that access to reliable energy supply is a critical issue for economic growth, and poverty reduction, along with the social and cultural transformation of society.
Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, said that universal access to sustainable energy raises the standard of living for recipients, improves public services, promotes entrepreneurship and local industry as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Vision 2040 targets.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR, Uganda has received 90,000 new refugees out of which 60,000 of them are from neighboring DRC who entered early this year, bringing to over 1.5 million immigrants being hosted in the country.
Uganda is Africa’s largest refugee-hosting country, with a long history of hosting refugees and asylum seekers since 1959. As of January 2022, Uganda hosts over 1,582,892 refugees from over 10 countries and is the fourth largest refugee hosting country globally.