East Africa

Empowering women through energy: USAID and Berkeley Lab’s initiative in East Africa

Energy Empowers East Africa (EEEA) is a joint effort of USAID- Berkeley Lab, designed to empower women to develop and expand income-generating activities by providing training, shared experiences, and improving access to efficient and productive electric equipment (PUE). The program focuses on increasing the efficient productive use of energy in small and medium-sized enterprises run by women.

This program aims to increase the inclusion of women in electrification programs throughout East Africa, beginning with Uganda, as the project pilot in year 1.

Background Survey Work

In collaboration with USAID, and the local implementing partner in Uganda, Clean Energy Enthusiasts (CEE), LBNL has been undertaking a series of activities in 2022-2023 to increase the inclusion of women in electrification programs, through understanding and creating opportunities for efficient and productive use of energy in business settings. In the first half of the project, the team focused on building tools and undertaking a participatory survey in 8 districts in the country to capture baseline data on the state of electrification and electricity access in women-run business premises.

After undertaking an identification study in the country, a series of focus group discussions capturing the local perspective, the team conducted the survey involving:

  • 578 participants (small-medium, women-owned businesses in urban and peri-urban areas) across 8 districts in Uganda
  • 38 financial institutions to understand challenges and opportunities in the access to finance component
  • 22 local vendors to understand market constraints and opportunities for PUE equipment.

Activities

Capacity Building

Data and insights from the survey drove the second phase of the project implementation, the project team developed customized training materials and presentations. Training were attended by 30 participants per district accounting for 241 trained businesswomen in total. The goal here is to build women’s capacity to develop income-generating activities by using efficient and productive electric equipment and by creating women’s self-help networks. Trainings are a week long and include demonstration of efficient electric equipment, group discussions, handholding exercise on business plan development, site visits, and presentations from special guests on success stories.

Matchmaking Events

The team also organizes matchmaking events to provide the opportunity to bring together women entrepreneurs, financing houses, equipment vendors, utility officers, government officials from the Ministries of Gender and Energy, women groups associations, and entrepreneurial support programs. These events provide a venue for women entrepreneurs to find resources and present their business plans to financing institutions to help them grow their businesses. The program also offers small grants as seed funding for investment in efficient and productive equipment.

National Campaign

The team started the third phase of the project implementation, developing a national campaign to support women to use electricity in their businesses to generate income.

USAID and LBNL co-organized a national workshop with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development of Uganda in Kampala on July 27th. The workshop centered around the themes of Productive Use of Electricity (PUE), Energy Efficiency, and Gender Equality, addressing critical energy challenges and opportunities at a country level. More than 85 diverse stakeholders participated, including representatives from ministries, government agencies, private sector entities, non-governmental organizations, financial institutions, and local communities. Participants actively explored potential pathways to enhance the efficient and productive use of energy, with the goal of increasing energy usage, stimulating demand and economic growth, and improving livelihoods. The workshop was held at a pivotal time for Uganda, as it revised the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, and it proved to be a catalyst for fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration, inspiring the development of actionable points to optimize the benefits of electricity utilization in productive sectors. Furthermore, it laid the groundwork for formulating a national PUE strategy to effectively leverage both on grid and off grid electricity resources in innovative ways.

Resources

Visit EEEA’s website, which serves as a repository of the work the USAID, Berkeley Lab, and Clean Energy Enthusiasts (CEE) are doing in East Africa on the Efficient and Productive Use of Electricity.

Read EEEA’s Fact Sheet for a quick, shareable run down on EEEA’s goals and activities.

Review EEEA’s Survey Results to learn more about the research informing EEEA’s goals and activities.

News and Updates

USAID Launches Women Entrepreneurs Chapter on Efficient Clean Energy Use in Uganda

January 31, 2024

Today, as part of the US government’s Power Africa initiative, USAID launched a Women’s Local Chapter on Efficient Productive Use of Electricity (EPUE) in Uganda that brings together women entrepreneurs who rely on energy for production and advises them to leverage clean energy for producing, processing, and adding value to goods and services. The Chapter will serve as a networking, capacity building, and information repository for members using EPUE technologies.

During the launch, USAID announced the provision of microgrants to seven women-owned businesses in Uganda to help them upgrade their equipment to energy-efficient models that increase their productivity.

Read the press release here.

Kampala Workshop with Energy Empowers East Africa

July 27, 2023

USAID and LBNL co-organized a national workshop with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development of Uganda in Kampala on July 27th as part of the Energy Empowers East Africa (EEEA) program. The workshop focused on Productive Use of Electricity (PUE), Energy Efficiency, and Gender Equality, addressing critical energy challenges and opportunities at a country level. More than 85 stakeholders participated, including representatives from ministries, private sector entities, non-governmental organizations, financial institutions, and local communities. Participants actively explored potential pathways to enhance the efficient and productive use of energy in Uganda, with the goal of increasing efficient energy usage to stimulate economic growth and improve livelihoods.

Read the article here.

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in East Africa With Energy Efficiency

April 26, 2023 | by Theresa Duque, Berkeley Lab

International development project enables Ugandan women to grow small businesses with energy-efficient electrical equipment – and fight climate change at the same time. Women who run small businesses in Uganda can build energy efficiency into their business plans thanks to a new project led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Clean Energy Enthusiasts (CEE), an energy advisory company based in Uganda.

Read the article here.

Boosting Women-Owned Small Businesses’ Competitiveness through Energy Efficiency

April 6, 2023 | by Christine Chumbler, Climate Links

Shamim Jaffar, a business owner in rural Uganda, had never learned how appliances like her refrigerator use electricity. “I had no idea what the temperature dial switch does,” she explained.

Read the article here.

Boosting Women-Owned Small Businesses’ Competitiveness through Energy Efficiency

March 28, 2023 | by U.S. Agency for International Development, Medium

Shamim Jaffar, a business owner in rural Uganda, had never learned how appliances like her refrigerator use electricity. “I had no idea what the temperature dial switch does,” she explained. “I didn’t expect that opening the fridge [for long periods] could have such an impact on its electricity consumption,” agreed Irene Tumusiime. “As a retail shop owner, I am constantly opening my fridge to serve cold drinks to customers.”

Read the article here.

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