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Energy saving technology by JESE cuts expenditure of schools by 60 percent

Energy saving technology by JESE cuts expenditure of schools by 60 percent


To most schools in Uganda, finding a reliable, environment-friendly and cost-effective technology to prepare meals for the learners is still an uphill task. This is because most learning institutions in the country are used to the three-stone cooking fire place or other ancient technologies, which actually consume a lot of firewood. But that is not all. Such traditional technologies emit too much smoke which affects the health of the cooks, leads to deforestation and associated problems and the carbon they emit is a danger to climate.

To solve this challenge, European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) launched a project titled, “Strengthening resilience through enhanced local disaster risk management capacities”, that is being implemented in the districts of Isingiro and Kyegegwa by; Oxfam, Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE),  and Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG). Under the project, a new technology of Institutional Energy Saving Cook Stoves is being piloted in schools, health centres and communities in these districts, and the results are already impressive.

At St. Rafael Vocational and Secondary school in Birunduma village, Kyarubambura parish, Rugaaga sub county, Isingiro district in South Western Uganda, the school would inject over Shs 3 million into buying fuel wood per term. To the head teacher, Mr. Mucunguzi Chrispine, this amount was too much, the budget ate deeply into their coffers and the whole process would directly contribute to deforestation in the surrounding villages.

Mucunguzi says that when the project started, and Institutional Energy Saving Cook Stove was constructed at the school with funds from the project. The materials needed for the construction included fire and ordinary type of cement, metal works, bricks and tiles among others, and all of them were locally sourced.

After the construction was completed, Mucunguzi notes that they started using the cook stove and realized that it came with a number of benefits. For instance, in one term, they would use 10 trucks of firewood but the number has since drastically reduced to 3 trucks.

“It has increasingly become better since we started using the Institutional Energy Saving Cook Stove at our school. Before project intervention, the school could buy 10 trucks of fuel wood, each at UGX 300,000 on a termly [three months] basis. This amount translated into UGX3,000,000 per year in terms of wood fuel costs. However, this trend has since changed following the construction and subsequent use of the energy cook stove,” Mucunguzi says.

He adds: “Today the school, which has 300 students and 30 members of staff, only buys 3 trucks of fuel wood per term, which reduces the total termly cost to only Shs 900,000 instead of the Shs 3,000,000 per term.”

But it is not only St. Rafael Vocational and Secondary school that is celebrating. The same cook stoves have been constructed at Mpara Secondary School in Kyaka II, Bujubuli School of the Deaf and also around host communities in the two districts, and they are all appreciative of the rapid impact they have on the energy costs. They say the costs on fuel wood has reduced by around 60 per cent.

At Rwekubo Health Centre IV in Isingiro district, another Institutional Energy Saving Cook Stove was established and the users are equally appreciative.

According to Christopher Busiinge, the Head of Natural Resources Department at JESE under which the project falls, these energy saving cook stoves come with a number of benefits.  He says, when compared with the traditional three-stone cooking fire place, the energy saving cook stoves lead to reduced carbon emissions, have a higher heat retention capacity, free from smoke and cooks faster.

“The impact of this intervention is extremely exciting and if extended to other schools in the country, we shall reduce on carbon emission, schools will have their expenditure on firewood greatly reduced and the environment will ultimately be saved from deforestation,” Busiinge says.

He also explains that the cost of constructing the cook stoves is not too high when compared to the benefits they come with. 

“For starters, it may cost between Shs 8-10 million shillings and JESE is available to give the technical guidance as and when it is needed by institutions that need to have the same technology,” he pledges.


Under this project, it is not just about using Institutional Energy Saving Cook Stoves. A lot of emphasis is also being put on how to replace the vegetation that was lost through deforestation. Like Busiinge explains, it can be hard to promote the cook stoves without having a clear source of firewood for them as it would still encourage deforestation which is against the project goals. 

To act as an example, a total of 53 hectares of woodlots have been established under the project in Isingiro and Kyegegwa to provide firewood that would otherwise be got from natural forests and lead to their destruction.

Busiinge encourages other institutions that plan to take on the technology to also establish some woodlots around them because they have several other advantages like microclimate rejuvenation other than providing firewood.

Like in Isingiro, the intervention of woodlot is averting the high rates of deforestation caused by the high influx of refugees from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Arguably, both education institutions and the influx of refugees in Uganda is continuously eating into the few available forest resources and there is solid evidence indicating that the use of these stoves and establishing woodlots can change the situation for the better.

To JESE and the partner organizations, if the cook stoves are adopted, institutions will not just reduce on their expenses but will also have played a key role in rehabilitating and managing natural resources and contributing to environmental sustainably and in the long term avert risks associated with environmental destruction.













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