News 2009

Solar Lamp Programme: Successful Pilot Test in Uganda

Sunlabob and its Ugandan franchise partner, TSSD, recently visited Ssazi village in Northern Uganda where Rose Nabatanzi Kiberu is the pilot village entrepreneur for our Solar Lantern Programme.

Ssazi village has no access to electricity and is not expected to be getting grid connection any time soon. For the last 3 months, Rose Nabatanzi Kiberu has been operating 24 prototype battery lanterns. A discussion about her experience so far highlighted strong potential for the operational roll-out of the programme in villages throughout Uganda.

During the pilot test, there were no technical problems or breakdowns, either with the charging station or the lanterns. Rose Nabatanzi Kiberu reported that the quality of light she now gets from the lantern is without comparison to that of the kerosene lamps she was using previously. Her husband added that “going back to kerosene lamps is like being blind in the dark”. For all villagers who took part in the pilot test, the worry about fire hazard has also disappeared.

All in all, the battery lanterns have proven to be very reliable and villagers in Ssazi have been requesting more lanterns.

Aside from very positive feedback, this pilot test in Uganda also highlighted areas which will require further work before full implementation, namely the following:

  • finalise an operational model that would enable our Ugandan franchise partner and village entrepreneurs to deal with a very high level of demand, and
  • consider the implications of assembling the lanterns in Uganda.

We will now be focussing our efforts on the above-mentioned matters in order to maximise the benefits that our solar rechargeable lamps bring to populations in off-grid areas, not only in Uganda, but also in those other developing countries with similar conditions.