NTC Mubende & Kabale
energy is an important piece of the puzzle in meeting the growing energy
demands and mitigating climate change. The increase in human population and
rising levels of consumption have elevated energy demand, placing increasing
burdens on the environment, particularly on global climate. In Uganda, renewable
energy sources which are fairly distributed throughout the country, come in
many forms. These include hydropower, solar, biomass and geothermal, contributing
an estimated 5,300 MW to renewable energy power generation.
About 90% of Uganda’s population (41.5 million people) live on agriculture, which makes biomass the most readily available source of energy for the majority of the Ugandan population. Of these biomass sources, firewood which contributes over 80% to Uganda’s energy sources is predominantly used in homesteads, institutions, and some industries. National Teachers’ Colleges are not an exception when it comes to consuming firewood for meal preparation. However, relying solely on firewood has several health and environmental implications. To play our part in conserving the environment, Enabel has installed energy-efficient wood-saving stoves in the National Teachers’ Colleges (NTCs). Today, NTCs have reduced their need for firewood by over 50% (from 8 to 4 truckloads) per term resulting in a saving of UGX 7.2m (1,800 EUR) per college and an overall saving of UGX 28,800,000M (6,975 EUR) in the colleges. Wood efficient stoves not only create a disease-free environment from the reduced smoke but also save on cooking time and conserve the environment by reducing deforestation.
In addition to the use of energy-efficient wood stoves, biogas is another affordable green energy intervention that has been adopted in the NTCs. The National Teachers’ Colleges have farms that accommodate livestock that produce a valuable bioresource, ‘cow dung’. Cow dung contributes to greenhouse gasses and can be hazardous if not managed well. With this in mind, the NTCs are processing biogas from livestock spew to serve as an alternative source of cooking energy. This is a positive step towards achieving a carbon negative environment in the NTCs through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Biogas has also played an important role in the teaching and learning process in the NTCs. Biodigesters in the colleges’ farms serve as a teaching resource to demonstrate the best agricultural practices to students like feeding livestock, maintaining good hygiene in the animal quarters, processing organic waste, collecting manure, and processing it in the biodigester. Students are now able to get a more practical learning experience out of Anaerobic digestion which has increased their knowledge of the process.
With hydropower being expensive and largely unreliable in many parts of the country especially the countryside where the NTCs are located, the NTCs have been equipped with fully functional solar power systems to substitute hydroelectricity. Classrooms, dormitories and teachers’ quarters have solar energy for both lighting and conducting computer-aided lessons. This has helped tackle the issue of power outages that interrupt teaching and learning in the National Teachers’ Colleges. The presence of solar energy in the NTCs has also enabled students to leverage extra study time, and lecturers can prepare lessons after dusk.
“We have solar which has enabled us to read and prepare lessons during power outages in Kaliro” Sarah Nawoova, lecturer NTC Kaliro.
Solar lighting panels have also been placed along school walkways and dark areas which create a safe learning environment that has reduced the prevalence of gender-based violence in the Teacher’s colleges. To aid cooking in the NTCs, solar water heating systems of 9x300ltr capacity have been installed in the college kitchens. The solar hot water heating systems help reduce the overall cooking cycle by pre-heating the water needed to prepare food in the colleges. Presently, meal preparation is taking half the time compared to the times before having the solar water heaters. Students and lecturers can have meals on time and go by their day-to-day routines without the worry of meal delays.
The National Teachers’ Colleges were rehabilitated under a number of renewable energy interventions under the Teacher Training Education project implemented by Enabel and the Ministry of Education and sports. The installation of renewable energy is a deliberate strategy to tap into the abundant renewable energy resources available and share the energy savings in the respective colleges. This is expected to raise awareness of the potential environmental and financial benefits of renewable energy to students, teachers, and local communities of the NTCs in Uganda.