SNV Uganda in partnership with Impact Carbon and Energy Explorerz have launched a marketing campaign to raise community awareness for clean energy products.
The campaign "SWITCH to Clean Energy" is aimed at generating demand for clean energy products, such as solar pico photovoltaic, improved cook stoves and charcoal briquettes, for the last mile consumers, most of whom are unaware of their availability. By raising awareness and stimulating interest of the communities, SNV and its partners are hoping to improve the lives of over 200,000 people in Uganda. Energy access in Uganda currently stands at less than 10% with an estimated 90% of Ugandans relying on wood as their primary source of energy. While there is a growing demand in the energy sector for improved cookstoves (ICS) and Pico PV (small solar solutions), there are limitations on how to deliver these solutions to the last mile end-users. Small enterprises do not have the capital to scale and promote their products.
Financial institutions are not willing to risk lending to consumers for energy. In addition, communities at the last mile are often not aware that these affordable solutions exist. Recognising these challenges, SNV Uganda established partnerships with suppliers of solar and improved cook stove products and linked them to local distributors in a bid to address the supply side of energy products. SNV and its partners then trained 27 identified local distributors in the pilot districts of Buikwe in the Central and Mbale in the Eastern region in entrepreneurship and marketing. SNV also sought local government buy-in for the campaign. The 10 day campaign has attracted the participation of seven distributors selling improved cookstoves, solar products and briquettes. Over 100 cookstoves and over 3,000 kilos of briquettes have been sold in a record 2 days.
A customer with his newly purchased solar lamps "We have a good problem on our hands. We didn't anticipate to be overwhelmed by the community's interest in our stove! We have sold all our stock and its only day 2 of a 10 day marketing campaign! Someone even insisted on buying my old demonstration stove. We shall have to increase our level of ambition as we head to the next market, especially in Mbale." Nolbert Muhumuza, Chief Operations Officer, Awamu Biomass Energy and Vice Chairperson – Biomass Energy Efficient Technologies Association. Follow ups will be made to the communities in the two districts to assess the impact of the campaign to the households that made the switch to clean energy in the coming 3 months.
SNV Uganda also plans to partner with six large cooperatives, 20 Savings and Credit Co-operatives and an estimated 100 village savings and loan association groups in the coming weeks with select picoPV, improved cook stove and briquette suppliers. All of this is to ensure that consumers are aware of the benefits of clean energy while ensuring that the solutions are available and made affordable by the suppliers.