Uganda: Best Practice Case Studies

From energypedia


Energy programs have been implemented across Africa and specifically Eastern Africa by various organizations for over twenty-five years. Programs have evolved and improved by taking advantage of both formal and informal communication of program features and lessons learned. The Best Practice projects presented here seek to build experience and knowledge by establishing a structure for sharing best practices to help meet today’s complex energy challenges.

The Rocket Lorena Stove Dissemination in Bushenyi District, Energy Advisory Project/GTZ, Uganda

Against the background of high deforestation rates and firewood scarcity in Uganda, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, with the support of the through the Energy Advisory Project (EAP), partnered with NGOs and the private sector to promote the improved Rocket Lorena Stoves for households and institutions. The rocket stoves for households have been modified to fit the socio-economic setting of the poor by using locally available materials that can be obtained cheaply or at no cost[1][2][3].

Implementation Strategy

The improved rocket lorena stoves (GIZ HERA, 2011, Rocket Lorena with air bypass Uganda) are 30% more efficient compared to the traditional open three-stone fire stove. The improved Lorena stove saves 50-70% of energy compared to the traditional three-stone fire. This is a result of the high temperature in the combustion chamber because of the rocket elbow combustion chamber is designed to ensure correct fuel-air mixture and is properly insulated to minimize heat loss. These improvements result into a high combustion efficiency and significantly reduced smoke. Further, the stove design ensures that the pot sits right inside the shielded fire chamber, hence maximizing heat transfer efficiency.
The dissemination of the improved Rocket Lorena stoves, has followed a “pyramid” system strategy that starts with a few coordinators at the top and ends up with hundreds of stove builders at the village level.
In the strategy, the project builds the capacity of an non-governmental organization (NGO) in a chosen district to technically and administratively manage the program. The NGO appoints a number of district coordinators for the scaling up dissemination process. Since the district is divided into sub-counties, parishes and villages, the NGO builds the capacity of sub-county stove coordinators. Selected potential stove builders from every village are trained at parish level by visiting trainers. Every parish is given a proven artisan to train the potential stove builders. The parish coordinator also ensures that the stove builders are organized into operational groups that can disseminate stoves. The sub-county coordinator is responsible for selection of trainees and organizing the training in every parish in the sub-county. He also gives them secondary training that perfects their skills. This strategy has been successfully used to disseminate over 175,000 Rocket Lorena stoves in Bushenyi and Rakai districts in Uganda since 2005.

Impacts and Benefits

According to household survey carried out in Bushenyi in January-February 2006, the impacts of the dissemination of the Rocket Lorena stove were:

  • The average per capita consumption of firewood reduced by 54.5%, from 1.12kg per day to 0.51kg. This is equivalent to a saving of 123kg of firewood per month for household of 7 people. The frequency of collecting firewood reduced 3.6 times a week to 1.7 times.
  • The average expenditure among households who purchasing fuel wood reduced from UGX3,267 to UGX2,060 per month.
  • The average time spent cooking per day in each family decreases from 4.03 to 2.19 hours (about 45.4%) This is because stove produces more heat and give an opportunity to cook several meals at the same time.
  • The average time spent collecting firewood reduced from 1.15 to 0.54 hours per day. This together with reduce cooking time gave women time to engage other productive activities and children time to study.

Uganda Photovoltaic Pilot Project for Rural Electrification (1998-2003)

Against the background of low electrification rates, particulalry in rural areas, the Uganda Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development with financial support from UNDP and GEF implemented the Uganda Photovoltaic Pilot Project for Rural Electrification (1998-2003). The main objective of the project was to provide basic electrical services through solar PV to rural areas unlikely to have access to grid-based electricity in the foreseeable future[1][4][5].

Implementation Strategy

The project created programmatic linkages particularly those between PV equipment vendors, the formal financial sector and village level micro financial institutions (MFIs). It established functioning financing mechanisms for vendors and end-users of PV systems, built technical capacity in the public and private sectors and created awareness. The PV systems were installed by private PV dealers.
The project established an innovative end-users financing mechanism using 6 rural micro finance institutions (Village Banks). The village banks were provided a revolving fund of US$ 350,000 for onward lending. As a result of the fund, the village banks were able to charge lower interest rates (18% per annum) for solar system loans and extend credit for longer periods of up to 24 months compared to the usual 6 to 12 months by other financial institutions. The institutions also allowed flexible repayment schedules that fitted the income flow of the consumers. Over 600 PV systems were installed under the village bank financing mechanism in one year.
In the implementation, the village banks were responsible for mobilising customers, procurement of PV systems and issuing and recovery of loans. The PV systems were procured through a competitive bidding process from PV suppliers. On the other hand, the project was responsible for quality assurance which was done through a system of verification and monitoring. It was also responsible for sensitisation and education of consumers and providing technical back-stopping and capacity building for participating institutions.
Vendor financing was also arranged through a commercial bank using a guarantee fund of US$ 150,000. As a result, the bank lowered collateral requirement from the normal 150% of the loan amount to 100% and interest rate from 24% to 12%.

Impacts and Benefits

As a result of the project intervention, 2600 PV systems were installed by private companies and 650 of them through financial institution using a revolving fund. Awareness of solar technology was created especially in the pilot areas. The village banks received over 1800 applications for PV systems while the available funds could only purchase about 500 systems. The model has been replicated by a number of institutions through the country.
The cost of PV systems installed under the village bank financing mechanism was 15% lower than market prices because of bulk procurement and competition between suppliers.
Fifty six technicians from companies and 35 rural based technicians were trained. Improved technical capacity and the adherence to the PV standards led to improved quality of PV installations. Out of 143 PV systems installed in first phase only 3 systems had persistent technical failures.
As a result of project intervention, taxes and duty on PV modules and accessories were removed leading to a price reduction.

Further Information


  1. 1.0 1.1 GTZ (2007): Eastern Africa Resource Base: GTZ Online Regional Energy Resource Base: Regional and Country Specific Energy Resource Database: VII - Best Practice Case Studies.
  2. Britta Malinski (2006): Impact Monitoring Study: The Rocket Lorena Stove Dissemination in Bushenyi District, Energy Advisory Project/GTZ/Energy and Mineral Development, University of Oldenburg, May 2006.
  3. Helga Habermehl (2007): Economic Evaluation of the Improved Household Cooking Stove Dissemination Programme in Uganda: Dissemination of the Rocket Lorena stove in the districts of Bushenyi and Rakai and dissemination of the improved charcoal stove in Kampala in the years 2005-2006, Eschborn, February 2007
  4. B. Banks and G. Kihuguru (2006): Uganda Photovoltaic Pilot Project for Rural Electrification UGA/97/G32 Ex-Post Evaluation Report, UNDP, Kampala, May 2006.
  5. M. Krause and S. Nordstrom (2004): Solar Photovoltaics in Africa: Experiences with financing and delivery models. UNDP Monitoring and Evaluation Report Series. Issue 2. May 2004.