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Member Spotlight- Uganda Venture

Uganda Venture is one of ACIC's newest members.

For the holiday season they've launched a Lights for Light Campaign. We find out more about the campaign from Fadi AL Qassar, Managing Director.

1. Why has there been such a delay in government funding for electricity in Tabiro? What changed -- why now?

Only about 5% of the Uganda population has access to a formal source of power. So this is not a delay, but it's more so an achievement to have a village like Tabiro considered by the government. And the reason the government is willing to invest in Tabiro is due to the programs that were created in the village, such as the micro credit program and the computer program in the school. The village uses a lot more electricity, through generators, than your average Ugandan village or town.

2. Did Uganda Venture approach the government of Uganda for the funding? How'd this agreement between Tabiro and the Ugandan government come to exist?

When we first started working in Tabiro the community has flagged electricity as a crucial need. We encouraged them to apply to get access to electricity from the main road about 4KM from the village. Our job in this process was to encourage the community leaders to submit the application and not to lose faith because we were backing them on this initiative.

3. What exactly will the funding pay for? i.e., who will pay for the ongoing costs of maintenance and the cost of electricity itself?

The funding will pay for the costs to bring electricity to the village. Currently businesses, the school and orphanage and some homes use generators to gain access to electricity. This is very costly, not sustainable and dirty. By putting Tabiro on the grid, we are free up the money used on generators and saving people money because the electrical rates are lower than paying for gas.

4. Aside from the more obvious benefits of convenience that come with having electricity, what will electricity mean for Tabiro in terms of creating a more self-sustaining village?

One example I can use here, is that of the local grocer in the village. Currently, he sells a lot more non-perishable items in his store, because he cannot afford to have the generator run all day to refrigerate fresh produce. By bringing power to the village, he can have a proper refrigeration system allowing him to expand his product offering. This would provide a better service to the village and would increase his income allowing him to better support his family.

Additionally, according to a World Bank study without electricity, education, health care and other critical services decline. And The World Bank estimates that 2-3% of GDP is wiped out in Africa every year because of unreliable energy supply.

This is an amazing and sustainable opportunity to bring to the village.

5. Is there yet a general timeline in place for this project?

Within the next year.

6. What else can people do to help with this project and other Uganda Venture projects, aside from financial contributions?

People can volunteer with Uganda Venture in Halifax or they can join us on a three week volunteer trip in Uganda. Those interested can contact me directly.


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