Over 90% of Ugandans depend on fire wood for cooking. This practice increases deforestation and puts immense strain on the environment. It leads to decreased agricultural productivity due to soil degradation. It also causes pollution in poorly-ventilated households, which negatively affects the health of women and children. SNV's Renewable Energy sector focuses on increasing access to sustainable energy options, thereby contributing towards poverty eradication.
SNV in partnership with the Uganda Domestic Biogas Programme (UDBP), is promoting the use of animal waste to generate biogas energy for cooking and lighting. The waste products from a biogas plant produce good organic fertilizer that can be used to improve agricultural production at household level. In Uganda, the biogas programme is implemented by Heifer International in partnership with HIVOS and SNV with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today, 3,500 households have built biogas digesters, affording 21,000 people in rural communities with clean energy for cooking and lighting. Of these, 85% are using bio-slurry as an alternative and sustainable fertiliser in their gardens.
"Before I installed the biogas digester in my home, I was struggling with my crops. Because of the poor soils, my banana and coffee yields were always poor. When the bio-slurry began to flow, I started carrying it to my coffee and banana gardens. In 2012, I harvested 490 kg of coffee , which earned me UGX. 1,960,000 UGX (559 Euros)," Zainab Muyobo a biogas crusader and coffee farmer explained.
SNV Uganda is also supporting the establishment and growth of the improved cookstove sub-sector through the provision of technical support to small and medium enterprises through their umbrella organisation, Biomass Energy Efficiency Technologies Association (BEETA). Seventy-five organisations are now registered members of BEETA.