On March 8th, 2021, the Centre for Citizens Conserving (CECIC) held a radio talk show on the theme “roles of women in the promotion of just energy transition” at 97.5 Messiah FM in Kasese district.

The International Women’s day which was celebrated on the 8th of March 2021 was an opportunity for CECIC to appreciate the role played by women in the Just Transition movement, and encourage others to join and demand better and clean energy options.

It is, therefore, against this background that CECIC organized a radio talk show on Monday 8th, March 2021 at 97.5 Messiah FM in Kasese district from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm on the topic; “Roles of women in the promotion of just energy transition”.

CECIC  organized the radio talk show to create public awareness on the role played by women in promoting just energy transition in Uganda. The radio talk show was hosted/moderated by Messiah FM’s Immaculate Bagonza and the guests were: Mr. Edwin Mumbere, CECIC’s Coordinator, MS. Emmy Nakato CECIC’s Assistant Programs Officer, and Ms. Margaret Kyakimwa Kasese District Gender Officer.

Edwin said that the transition to solar energy can impact many aspects of life including the environment, society, the economy, and governance. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating climate change, and reducing health impacts on women and girls.

It is very important that we recognize the role played by women in the journey that Uganda is trying to take to transit from dirty fuels to cleaner energy solutions. However, the journey has not been easy because the government has made parallel investment decisions that support investing in dirty fuels.

The energy sector is rapidly transforming and moving more towards renewable energy, a shift that is a huge opportunity to achieve greater gender equality and inclusion in Uganda. It is very clear that in Uganda, it is the women and girls that do the cooking and this, unfortunately, exposes them to carbon gases that pose problems such as respiratory diseases, asthmatic conditions among others. Cooking in the absence of clean energy is particularly detrimental to the health of women and children who are often exposed to toxic smoke from traditional cooking stoves.

Moreover, violence against women and girls occurs because of the lack of street lights at night or during the day in situations where resources are scarce and women are obliged to collect fuel in remote and isolated areas.

Ms. Nakato said that women’s energy needs can only be realized if women and their priorities receive greater visibility. Without the active participation of women in renewable energy decisions, it is impossible for the country to transition to sustainable energy for all by 2030.

Currently, over 5.5 million households have no access to clean cooking equipment in Uganda. Therefore, developing gender-sensitive energy programs and SMEs in vulnerable communities will be pivotal in employing and empowering women in the sustainable energy industry. Involving women in the renewable energy sector can also bring systematic change and significantly improve their quality of life.

The following were some of the responses from the listeners: Mr. James Baluku thanked CECIC for sharing such important information to communities regarding the increased solar energy access in the country. He said that it’s time for the government to involve women in decision making particularly in formulating policies for solar energy access.

Ms. Scovia Masika requested CECIC to organize more talk shows to increase awareness to communities on the benefits of solar energy access as opposed to fossil fuels. She asked how women in Kasese can be engaged in CIVIC activities in promoting solar energy power in our villages.

Ms. Rosemary Mbambu appreciated CECIC’s continued advocacy on ensuring that communities have access to clean renewable energy. She said that women are the most vulnerable since they are the ones being exposed to smoke while cooking. She asked whether it is possible for CECIC to organize women community engagements and sensitize them on the need to transition to solar energy power.

Ms. Zele Nzabake said that most homes in Kasese can’t afford electricity because it is very expensive. She asked whether there are laws in place that have been formulated to specifically address the challenges in the solar sector.

Ms. Margaret Kyakimwa concluded by thanking the listeners and added that the public should task their leaders to pledge their commitments in the promotion of just energy transition in their communities.

By Edwin Mumbere – Center for Citizen Conserving