Women in Kalangala taking lead in energy saving technologies

Entering Ms Dorotia Gwosekera’s kitchen in Bujumba village would leave one wondering if there is any hope for a meal on a particular day. The smokeless atmosphere would certain create a cloud of hopelessness if there would be anything close to cooked food. This is the magic that Ms Gwosekera and the rest of women in Kalangala want to see. Truth is food is prepared with less smoke but most importantly with less firewood.  

With support from National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE through Bujumba Sustainability Development Association, BUSIDA the women in the area have embarked on a campaign to sensitize and help each other establish charcoal/firewood saving stoves.

According to Salongo Gyagenda Kabiri Jim Jem, the BUSIDA Chairperson, over 10 cooking points have so far been established and there is glaring desire by others to get involved. Gyagenda says the women have showed interest in being part of the conservation.

Ms. Berna Nakiwala, the NAPE field officer for Kalangala District says these efforts are aimed at saving energy and reducing pressure on the forested areas for firewood.

“Our goal is to see a reduction in tree cutting for purposes of firewood. Women can now collecting the branches that fall off”, Ms. Nakiwala explained.

The women are building energy saving stoves using locally available materials like soil, animal waste, ash, sweet potato vains and grass. The stoves use little firewood and emit less smoke. This saves the environment and humans from a lot of smoke but also less wood is needed to cook thus preserving tree cover.

Peruth Atukwatse, the NAPE Sustainability School Project Assistant believes the efforts of women in this regard need the support of every stakeholder.

“I’m happy that women have taken a lead in this but everybody’s support in crucial”, Atukwatse contends.

Kalangala has lost considerable amount of vegetation cover to oil palm growing by BIDCO. In 1998, BIDCO acquired over 10,000 hectares from government to establish oil palm plantation. Increased reduction in forest and vegetation cover would result in the reduction in water levels of Lake Victoria.


NAPE rooting for energy saving technologies Kalangala Islands

The National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE will continue to work with communities in Kalangala Islands to expand knowledge on the use of charcoal/firewood saving stoves as a way of conserving the environment.

Mr. Allan Kalangi, the NAPE Sustainability School Manager says these technologies will ease the pressure on the available tree cover in the area.
NAPE is already partnering with the communities in the area particularly through Bujumba Sustainability Development Association, BUSIDA to facilitate the establish energy saving means of cooking. Currently, over ten homes in Bujumba village are using energy-saving stokes.

Salongo Gyagenda Jim Jim, the Chairperson BUSIDA says their Partnership with NAPE is fruitful and hopes for even greater results.

“So far so good. Our working relationship with NAPE is producing amazing results and going forward, a lot is going to change positively in Kalangala Islands”, explained Gyagenda.

ENERGY-SAVING: A sample of the energy saving cooking points being established by communities in Kalangala with help from NAPE.

Kalangala is facing an increasing loss of forest cover especially arising out of oil palm growing that is sometimes grown at Buffer zones. In 1998, BIDCO acquired 10,000 hectares of land on Bugala Island from government to plant palm trees.

Kalangala district is richly endowed with tropical forest resources covering 221.5 square kilometres(49) of the total land area; out of which 6.2 square kilometres of the forested area has been degraded due to the impact of human activity(source: Kalangala District Local Government State of environment Report 2005)