The Power of the Sun Changing Lives in Rural Uganda

The Power of the Sun Changing Lives in Rural Uganda

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

• The solar project is meeting the lighting needs of rural population who have no access to electricity.
• Creating Jobs for young people who are involved in the production process, or are running saloons and phone charging.
• The project also reduces household expenditure on paraffin and phone charging thus raising securing their hard-earned income.
• Health risks resulting from the toxic gases as individuals use traditional candles are reduced.
• Income raised from the sales of solar panels is used to build houses for the needy families in rural communities.
• Created a pool of funds where women in rural communities borrow and initiate income generating project to improve their earnings.
. Solar panels are used to provide irrigation for rural farmers during dry season.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The that we work with live in rural areas and poor. 80% are employed in subsistence agriculture and earn less than 1 US dollar a day.The social support systems that used to provide the safety nets for family members in the communities are weakened by conflict, poverty and disease. Despite these ills,We have developed particular ways of using our resources, histories, knowledge and skills to motivate social action. Even in circumstances of poverty, disease, and hardship, we have our own resources, histories,knowledge and skills.We have hopes and dreams. We are using these existing resources. We are using our own histories in ways that inspire action. We can build solar panels to light home in areas that do not have electricity and raise income to fund income generating projects for rural poor. Families and communities are taking part in making solar panels, selling them and also getting loans to do business with the minimal interest of 2.5%

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Manufacturing solar panels to harness the power of the sun is the first project in Uganda and perhaps the region. The Organization has involved youth in the innovation of environmentally friendly solar technologies, replicating 1 watt to 65 watts solar panels, modified to suit local needs that are then sold as an alternative source of energy to local communities at a relatively affordable price. Our clients use the solar systems for lighting need, to charge handsets for telecommunication and in hair salons to earn a living. More over, youth who are directly involved in the production process receive an income. Funds we realize from the sale of the solar panels are used to facilitate the activities of the organization which include a rural free housing project- partnering with local communities to build descent shelters for the most disadvantaged households in rural communities; small-scale business incubation program for youth and women groups; and hands-on skills training for youth in micro-technologies. The project at present works with over 70 volunteers in rural communities and over 50 households earning a living through phone charging and hair salons. This year, the organization is involving students from four local secondary school students in their community outreaches as a way of promoting community leadership at an early stage.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

. Making Solar panels, identifying the homes that need light, do installation and training on maintenance. . We also build houses for rural poor and run a micro-finance program for women in Bumbo sub-county, Manafwa District.
About You
Mt. Elgon Self-Help Community Project
About You
First Name


Last Name


Facebook Profile

elgon selfhelp

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Mt. Elgon Self-Help Community Project

Organization Country


Country where this project is creating social impact


How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

The project began in 2005 and was largely influenced by Caleb's participation in REPSSI trainings and Narrative ideas of Michael White, Cherly White and David Denborough. It did not make sense for him to travel and conduct trainings to other communities when his own people

were struggling with issues loss, trauma, separation, poverty, conflict.
We realized that our success as individuals, families and communities in the face of adversity is influenced by our wisdom in knowing what we do, and our readiness and willingness to learn from history. We draw energies on our relationships of mutual benefit, our values and our resilience in the face of shifting realities. This idea of “Collective Intelligence” and wise responsiveness has paved the way for the rich territory of identity, collaboration, participation and learning.

we create the supportive and therapeutic environment in which individuals are invited to define the purpose of their existence. We inspire and motivate people to see predicaments as opportunities for creativity and view the environment through the eyes of their purpose of existence. This approach has helped to ignite hidden potentials and aided the development of alternative and preferred stories that awakens individuals’ sense self-worth, appreciation and value for life. This approach enables people to journey to the future with confidence and optimism while remaining connected to their hopes, values, skills, beliefs and ambitions that they hold precious.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

We have trained 20 people how to make solar Panels. We have produced 10,000 solar panels and installed 4000 solar systems. These people did not have access to electricity and now have light. We have raised local income worth 10,000 US dollars and put it in a pool to give out loans to rural poor. We are now targeting 200 families per year. Rural farmers also use the solar pumps to irrigate their crops during dry season thus improving on agriculture inputs. Our success can be easily measured for we can see, touch and feel. We also have a data base system for our clients and we can easily track the results.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001- 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

We hope to expand to more areas. We are targeting four new districts. We also have the plan to train more people on how to make solar panels, install and teach the people how to use the systems for optimal results. We also hope to raise the loan portfolio by 150% to benefit 600 people annually from the rural areas. We also intent to start on the wind project to harness the power of wind too. The research for this project is finished and we plan to begin the work early next year. We also intend top do motor engine modification. This will make motor mobiles cut on the toxic emission levels and fuel consumption rates of motor engines used in Uganda’s automobile business.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Most people that we are dealing with are poor and can not afford our solar systems. This is the sole challenge standing on our way.

How do we plan to overcome?
1. We have introduced solar loans for business where people will use solar for income generation.
2. The government policy of scraping taxes off the solar systems will make it possible for us to reduce on the prices.We have also introduced the micro finance program to improve on the income of the rural poor.

Tell us about your partnerships

Our partnership is mainly with the local community who are consumers of our products. We also partner with local government and faith based groups who are within our areas of operation. At international level, we partner with Dulwich center that helped us to document our work "raising our heads above the clouds"

Explain your selections

Our project is mainly supported by friends and family, customers, volunteers and foundation like Dulwich center that helped to document our work.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

1. Lobby for external funding to supplement on on local income.
2. Improve on the quality and quantity of our products- Solar panels.
3. Seek for new partnerships with the government and organizations.
4. Do research to improve on our products.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.


Other (Specify Below)


Other (Specify Below)


Other (Specify Below)

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

We have one major challenge that runs through the Primary, secondary levels which is inadequate machinery/equipment. We need more machinery to be able to maximize production.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.



Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services


Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

We began our work in one village and now working people in seven districts. We seek to add value on what we are already doing and new services but also opening up doors for other institutions to learn from our initiative and replicate.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

We have been able to learn new skills, new knowledge about product improvement and also learnt how we can impact the lives of the rural poor socially, economically, mentally and emotionally. For academic institutions, they are seeking to partner with us for research purposes.