Children’s Learning & Development Centre
masindi ~ uganda

Green electricity

For most of us, flicking a switch for electric lighting is something we take for granted. In rural areas in Uganda, only about 5% of the population has access to an electricity supply, and this includes schools, hospitals, and medical centres. While we were visiting Bulima Primary School in February 2018, we heard from Jimmy Obonyo, the head­master, of a major World Wildlife Fund project aiming to improve education services within the region by installing systems to generate electicity from solar energy. Generous funding from the European Union was available for such projects.

A substantial up-front financial contribution was needed for the school to be included in the project, but neither the school nor CLDC had the money for such an investment. Realising how beneficial an electricity supply would be to the school and its pupils, our Oxford colleague Dr Denis O’Leary immediately offered a personal donation to CLDC of the initial required funding.

We were greatly saddened by Denis O’Leary’s premature death a few months after his Uganda visit. He leaves behind a valuable and tangible legacy, and is remembered with great affection by CLDC Board members and by many grateful pupils and their families.

classroom with electric lighting
one of the classrooms - with electric lighting

Over several months, WWF contractors built a power tower in the school compound, installed a 1,000W solar power generating system, and connected a lighting supply to all the classrooms. Pupils can now stay at school after school hours to continue their studies, with the result that the overall academic standard has improved dramatically. The local community also benefits by being able to make use of school premises in the evenings for meetings and other social events.

pupils performing a celebratory dance
pupils performing a celebratory dance
Jimmy Obonyo in2019 - with a photo of Denis O’Leary prominently displayed
Jimmy Obonyo in2019 - with a photo of Denis O’Leary prominently displayed


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page updated  02-03-2023