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

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. The microgrants will cover 50 percent of the cost of purchasing modern equipment like sewing machines, institutional electric ovens, ice cream machines, tailoring and embroidery machines, electric cookers, microwaves, juice extraction machines, deep freezers, and refrigerators. USAID awarded the grants under its Energy Empowers East Africa (EEEA) activity, led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and implemented by the Clean Energy Enthusiasts. This activity promotes energy efficiency, access, and inclusion for women-led projects in Uganda. Stephane de la Rue du Can, research scientist at Berkeley Lab, said, “The grants demonstrate USAID’s commitment to the economic empowerment of women by increasing the women’s capacity to benefit from electricity by using EPUE equipment.”

Suriana Kekimuri, program participant, a widow based in Kamwenge District, said that the freezer she received consumes less electricity and therefore saves her money. “It will increase my sales from fresh juice and porridge by more than 300 percent. I will be able to take care of my (two) children from this income.”

The Women’s Local Chapter on EPUE was formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Clean Energy Enthusiasts, which is Energy Empowers East Africa program’s local implementer, and Uganda Women in Trade and Manufacturing, a local women’s trade organization. Through this chapter, Clean Energy Enthusiasts will raise awareness and train many of the association’s 2,300 members to access energy and deploy new technologies in their businesses.

For more information, please contact: Cindy Nkwanzi (

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Visit the EEEA/EPUE website

About Energy Empowers East Africa

Energy Empowers East Africa (EEEA) is a USAID-funded project focusing on increasing the EPUE among women-led and women-owned businesses in Uganda. EEEA is implemented by Berkeley Lab with support from Clean Energy Enthusiasts, as the Ugandan implementer.

About Berkeley Lab

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory managed by the University of California. The EEEA project is part of the Energy Efficiency for Development (EE4D) initiative that provides technical resources and expertise to support USAID partner countries in advancing energy efficiency strategies and achieving more resilient and sustainable economic development. Based on a solid partnership between USAID and Berkeley Lab, EE4D helps with policy, planning, and deployment support for energy-efficient development and smart technologies uptake across the world.

About Clean Energy Enthusiasts

Clean Energy Enthusiasts (CEE) is a Ugandan energy advisory firm that provides management, capacity building and transaction advisory services to clients on rural electrification, energy access (both on-grid and off-grid), energy business modeling, efficient and productive use of energy, access to finance, and investment facilitation.

About Uganda Women in Trade and Manufacturing

Uganda Women in Trade and Manufacturing (UWTM) is an association that equips businesswomen with relevant, cutting-edge business development skills, capacity building, awareness and networking opportunities and supports financial inclusion. The Association’s priority sectors include but are not limited to value addition, manufacturing, cottage industries, retailers, wholesalers, and other traders.

Energy Efficiency and Productive Use of Electricity in Women Businesses in Uganda

Energy Empower East Africa is a woman-focused demand-side program that seeks to unlock the benefits of modern energy access for women, highlighting the crucial role of women in driving Productive Use of Electricity (PUE) initiatives.

During program implementation, EEEA identified critical gaps and constraints that inhibit women from leveraging on energy efficient and productive use technologies.

To address this, EEEA entered into a Memorandum Of Understanding with the local association Uganda Women in Trade and Manufacture (UWTM) to establish a dedicated EE and PUE chapter for women entrepreneurs. This local chapter will provide access to essential services such as:

  • training,
  • networking,
  • business support,
  • financial inclusion,
  • capacity building,
  • business development services, 
  • regular interactions and information sharing on EE, PUE and energy management.

Presently, approximately 60 women have expressed interest in joining the association, with the application process currently underway. As part of their efforts, the Berkeley Lab team and USAID conducted a site visit to a maize milling business, gaining valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges surrounding the efficient and productive use of electricity in such ventures. Self-help groups and networks can act as a bridge between women entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, and can also work as platforms that promote solidarity among women, bringing them together on:

  • issues of financing,
  • business development support,
  • policy advocacy,
  • access to markets,
  • networking,
  • health,
  • nutrition,
  • gender parity and gender justice,
  • and efficient and productive equipment to grow their businesses. 


Energy Empowers East Africa: Kampala Workshop, 27th July

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.

The workshop was held at a pivotal time for Uganda, as it revised the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill. The knowledge exchange and collaboration inspired the development of actionable next steps to optimize the benefits of electricity utilization in productive sectors and laid the ground for the development of a national PUE strategy to effectively leverage both on grid and off grid electricity resources in innovative ways.


Uganda – Matchmaking Event to facilitate Access to Finance for Efficient and Productive Use of Electricity in Women-run Businesses

The Energy Empowers East Africa program organized a matchmaking event on March 16th in Uganda, Mbarara District where women entrepreneur connected with financial institutions and local vendors of electric appliances. This event is a continuation of the program’s efforts to promote gender inclusion in electrification programs throughout East Africa. In Uganda, the program has been providing training on business development skills, knowledge building on energy efficiency, and productive use of electricity, and access to financing to women-run micro and small businesses. The matchmaking event provided a platform for these women to showcase their business plans developed during the training phase, network with financial institutions, and access the capital needed to invest in efficient and productive electric equipment. By increasing access to energy services and capital, women entrepreneurs get empowered to expand their businesses, promoting thus inclusive economic growth in East Africa. This event has the potential to drive sustainable economic growth and promote gender equality in the region.

LBNL collaborates in SURE webinar exploring energy efficiency opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa

USAID’S Scaling Up Renewable Energy (SURE) program convened a webinar on October 27th, 2022 with participation by TetraTech, CLASP and LBNL to identify potential energy efficiency interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), region that is experiencing a rapid population growth and increased energy demand in the sectors of transportation, cooling, buildings and agriculture.

During its participation, LBNL highlighted the building blocks of energy efficiency (standards and retrofits, market priming and financing and policy planning) and provided an example of a successful technical assistance project in South Africa, where significant energy savings were achieved by supporting a standards and labeling program targeting key appliances.

The webinar was attended by more than a hundred representatives from consulting and development organizations in SSA and provided useful inputs to SURE for the development and implementation of impactful energy efficiency interventions in the region.

Training on Efficient and Productive Use of Energy and Business Development delivered to Women Entrepreneurs in Uganda

Certificate award ceremony of a 3-Day EEEA Training Workshop in Bushenyi, Uganda – Nov 14th to Nov 18th, 2022. LBNL works with a local partner, Clean Energy Enthusiasts (CEE), to run the EEEA program.

The USAID’s Energy Empowers East Africa (EEEA) program, whose objective is to advance the role of women entrepreneurs as agents of change through productive use of electricity (PUE) and the use of energy efficient appliances, concluded its 6th week of trainings in Bushenyi, Uganda. The training series, to be delivered in a total of 8 districts in Uganda, covers instruction on energy use, business planning and financial management, in addition to one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions with participation of local utilities, local banks and government agencies. The trainings will culminate in the presentation of 16 business plans to financiers at a matchmaking event to be held during the first week of February 2023. EEEA is partnering with local consultant Clean Energy Enthusiasts (CEE) to deliver the training and is also collaborating with USAID’s Feed the Future’s Strategic Investment Activity (SIA) to build a pipeline of investment opportunities on PUE inclusive of women. The event, to be co-organized with SIA, will bring together PUE equipment vendors, financing organizations, women entrepreneurs, government of Uganda officials from the Ministries of Gender and Energy, women and entrepreneurial support programs, Berkeley Lab and USAID/Uganda.

The EEEA training series represents a one-of-a-kind effort to encourage women entrepreneurs working in different economic sectors in rural and peri-urban regions of Uganda to use efficient and productive electric equipment to unlock the benefits of energy access and expand their businesses. It also contributes to including women in SIA’s pipeline of investment opportunities in the region.

Launching of USAID/Mexico Partnership for Net Zero Cities

LBNL (along with members of USAID’s Energy and Green Cities Division) was invited by USAID/Mexico and RTI to collaborate in the co-creation workshop held in Mexico City on October 25th-27th to kick off the USAID/Mexico Partnership for Net Zero Cities program (PNZC).   LBNL provided an overview of previous and ongoing work supported by USAID to advance energy efficiency in buildings and outlined potential opportunities to collaborate with RTI and the PNZC subcontractors in Mexico. PNZC aims to reduce at least 17.34M CO2e emissions and mobilize $550M in investment by improving energy efficiency measures in the buildings and transportation sectors, while improving local governance and state/municipal finance across five cities (Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Merida, Hermosillo) The workshop was designed to gather inputs for the PNZC Year 1 work plan and to identify the needs of state and municipal actors working with other donors to avoid duplicate efforts.  Ongoing support from the DOE laboratories will help USAID/Mexico to utilize the high capacity of the local consultants/NGOs to demonstrate how to implement climate programs in the buildings and transportation sectors.

LBNL Supporting Implementation of Energy Efficiency Standards in Kenya

As part of technical assistance provided by USAID’s Kenya Energy Regulatory Partnership Program to develop capacity building on energy efficiency and energy management, LBNL participated in a webinar convened by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) on October 18th for the local USAID mission and for Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) to deliver the presentation “Standards and Labeling Implementation”. LBNL shared an overview of the process to developing regulations and standards for household appliances, international best practices in standards and labeling, information on household energy consumption dynamics, compliance/enforcement, and case studies from relevant jurisdictions. USAID is supporting EPRA as it evaluates its existing and new MEPS for appliances. The technical inputs by LBNL will contribute to improving capacity of the government to implement a successful MEPS program to improve grid reliability and ensure peak demand increases do not outpace generation.

LBNL Delivers Training Improve Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Mexico

Training session on BETTER tool for participants of the Efficient Building Challenge held in hybrid format at the WRI Mexico facility. Photo credit: WRI Mexico

On August 10, 2022, USAID/Mexico partner Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) held a virtual training session for the building energy efficiency team at the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE) on the use of the Building Efficiency Targeting Tool for Energy Retrofits (BETTER). The tool, developed by LBNL, allows building operators to quickly identify energy efficiency measures that can be implemented at low or no cost to reduce energy consumption and related GHG emissions.  Another training session on BETTER was held in a hybrid format on August 9 for participants of the Efficient Building Challenge, an initiative led by WRI Mexico and SEDEMA aimed at reducing energy consumption in public and commercial buildings in Mexico City. This session included a live demonstration and a review of energy saving recommendations generated by BETTER.   






USAID and LBNL Help Advance Demand-Side Management in South Africa

USAID and LBNL are supporting the South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) in its effort to design a new Demand-Side Management (DSM) program. The LBNL team is providing inputs on DMRE’s approach to integrate energy efficiency as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s emergency response plan to address the nation’s energy crisis, characterized by the prevalence of rolling black outs impacting millions of people and hampering economic development.  The LBNL team was invited to present their initial findings at an internal workshop held on August 23, 2022  and it will continue to work closely with the unit responsible for energy efficiency at DMRE to provide continuous inputs. As a result of this technical assistance, the LBNL team is helping Eskom (the government-owned utility) and DMRE to shape a new DSM program that will have an initial goal of saving 600MW in the short term. Improved DSM on the South African power system can in turn alleviate the pressures on the grid that are causing rolling blackouts and in the process avoid costs associated with building new generators and transmission lines, save customers money, and lower pollution from electric generators.