Hi there! In this blog, we will share our seven-week-long adventure in Bwera, Uganda, where we will build installations to provide an elementary school with electricity and potable water. Just a couple of weeks from now, we will take a plane to Kampala to start our journey in the capital of Uganda. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there are some questions we need to answer: Who are we? What are our goals, and how do we plan on achieving them?

Who are we?

First of all, let us introduce ourselves. We are a team of four enthusiastic engineering students from Belgium that aspire to have a tangible impact on the world around us. From left to right, you can see Pieter Quaghebeur (Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, KU Leuven), Eveline Wuytens  (Biomedical Engineering, KU Leuven), Yaro Debeer (Energy Engineering, VUB) and Ryan De Koninck (Electrical Engineering – Electronics & Chip Design, KU Leuven ). 

Our goal is to fulfill these needs, using systems that operate on renewable energy. Besides the technical side, we also aim to make the installation self-sustaining, in the sense that it will generate revenue to cover its own maintenance costs. Finally, the solution should be a system not only for the people, but also by the people. The installation should be socially accepted and appreciated. 

What are our goals?

In Kisebere, a small village near Bwera, Uganda, Ekisande VZW Belgium has built an elementary school in collaboration with their local branch, EKisande Rural Development Center Bwera Uganda. Their next ambition for the school is twofold: 

  1. To increase the education quality and better prepare the children for their future life, Ekisande wants to digitalize the school. By using beamers, the children can be educated more visually, and by creating a computer lab the children can practice their indispensable computer skills. For this, the school of course needs to be supplied with electricity.
  2. The children and teachers should have access to clean water at the school, as this is vital for the health of everyone involved.

How are we going to achieve this?

We address the first problem with a solar panel installation, that will provide clean and renewable energy to the school, without having to use the unreliable electricity grid too much. The second problem is tackled with a solar pump installation, that will not only provide the school but also the local community (see later) with potable water. These technical solutions constitute our  technical planTo cover the maintenance costs for the installation, a charge shop will allow the locals to charge their phones for a small fee, using the energy produced by the solar panel system. Furthermore, the store will also sell the water to local community members. All of this is part of our economic plan. Last but not least, we have worked out a social plan with posters, workshops, etc.  

See you in Uganda!

That’s it for the brief introduction of our project. During the next posts, we will introduce our local partner Father Tom, and share our first experiences in Uganda. We are extremely excited to start this adventure, so see you there!