Nestled within the budding town of Mayuge, Uganda, Annet Kyomugisha was accustomed to spending UGX 1,000 per day ($8 per month) to buy kerosene lamps as a source of light for her home. In the district of Mayuge, this is about 15% of a family’s monthly income, but options are limited, as 78% of Uganda’s population lacks access to electricity and 53% relies on kerosene lamps for light.
Kerosene lamps are not only inefficient and expensive, but dangerous because of the toxic fumes. Annet was also having a hard time in the evenings, as the poor-quality light provided by kerosene lamps didn’t allow her children to do any homework or reading after sunset, so she took matters into her own hands. Through a “rent-to-own” model by Pearl Entrepreneurs Academy (PEA), Annet bought her first solar lantern. She is now the proud owner of two solar lanterns – one inside her home and another in the outdoor kitchen area.
Annet’s transition from traditional fossil fuels to clean energy has changed her life forever. By eliminating a high monthly cash expense, she is now able to save money. Even during a pandemic, the sun is free, charging a lantern at no cost. Annet can now take care of her children and feel safe because her family has light after sunset, a luxury many of us take for granted.
Annet’s story really begins with Elvis Kadama, the 27-year-old founder and Executive Director of PEA. Pearl Entrepreneurs Academy is a youth–led, community-based organization that is committed to ending hunger by boosting crop yields, improving food security and creating jobs. However, due to COVID-19, businesses have not been able to continue operating and growing in the ‘last mile’, and both customers and small business owners are defaulting on their loans. Emergency funding is needed to ensure that entrepreneurs like Annet and Elvis can continue the clean energy transition in rural Uganda.
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