BOSCO participates in Rural Electrification Workshop

Tonny at UN conference

BOSCO’s CE3 Program Manager Tonny Okwonga recently participated in a workshop highlighting off-grid electrification in Northern Uganda.

The workshop, Towards universal energy access: Uganda, organized by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) and World Wide Fund for Nature-Uganda Country Office (WWF UCO) was held on July 22nd 2014. The workshop was aimed at highlighting the progress of the private sector actors in bringing off –grid electrification solutions to Rural Uganda and mechanisms to leverage private capital that can bring decentralized energy solutions to scale.

The workshop drew participants from all over the world: civil society organizations (CSOs), private sector, and government agencies. The stake holders shared their practical experiences, challenges and lessons learned in the provision/servicing the energy needs of the approximately 29 million people who currently lack access to electricity in Uganda.

Lacor SolarFrom the Press release: Energy solutions provided by members of the Network help electrify hospitals in hard-to-reach rural areas, improving maternal mortality outcomes; light up schools and improve educational outcomes for children; light up opportunity through clean reliable energy for households and communities; and – together – help make the difference in countries like Uganda in the effort to reach the goal of “Sustainable Energy for All.”

In partnership with the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) and Uganda-based Educate!, BOSCO-Uganda is a strategic and implementing partner for the Accenture-sponsored CE3 project, which has electrification-and-entrepreneurship pilots at the sub-county headquarters in Pabbo, at Saint Mary’s College in Lacor, and at King James Comprehensive School in Lira. Among the uses for electricity provided at these sites are ICT labs; entrepreneurial efforts such as grinding mills, electronic repair shops and lighting for small businesses to remain open longer; and lighting and water pumping for schools. Computer-based training in ICT, mentored entrepreneurship, and renewable energy is offered
 at each of these pilot sites toward the promotion of an integrated economic ecosystem.

Pabo Energy ProductionRevenue from electricity users at each site is recaptured and held bank accounts jointly administered by BOSCO-Uganda and each community partner, with proceeds remaining in the community for future expansion and sustainable replacement of equipment.

Energy use is monitored remotely to explore useage patterns and new opportunities for efficient use.

Find more images from the Workshop here.

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BOSCO-Uganda, CREEC Embark on a Solar Campaign


1) How can one identify and detect that the solar product is genuine?; (2) Can we assume this is research going on? What are the long term health effects of solar products to the community as compared to Phone effect e.g. effects of radiation, cancer related?; (3) If spoilt, who can help rectify the solar? Are there recommended companies of CREEC trained personnel down here since CREEC is based in Kampala?; (4) Where is BOSCO-Uganda located and area of Operation?; (5) Why is BOSCO-Uganda not in Opit?; (6)       Are there other activities being done by BOSCO-Uganda other than computer training?

Questions from communities/participants answered, explanations on warranty and guarantee clarified.

Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach-Uganda (BOSCO-Uganda) had the pleasure of joining Center for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC) during a Solar Awareness Workshop at Renewable Energy Powered Business Information Center (REBIC)-Northern Farmers Community Initiative, held on Friday 16th. May 2014 at Opit-Lalogi Sub County. Approximately 200-300 people converged at the event.


It all started at around 9:30 am with the arrival of different community members and invitees. Different institutions, local/approved solar companies were recognized and had the opportunity to show case their products and services.

Companies represented included: – Dasmond Technologies, Davis and Shirtliff, CREEC and BOSCO-Uganda. Other stakeholders present were Local government of Opit-Lalogi the sub county, civil servants of the area, students of REBIC center and general community.


Robert Komakech, BOSCO-Uganda Field Coordinator represented BOSCO-Uganda at the solar awareness workshop. The Field Coordinator did social market BOSCO-Uganda while highlighting that BOSCO-Uganda is a not-for-profit faith based organization under the Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu in Northern Uganda that popularizes the use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) for the Development of rural communities in Northern Uganda; The Solar component system is used for the low powered computers and/or lighting at the different ICT Sites. The Field Coordinator added that in addition to the Entrepreneurial activities in the different communities, BOSCO-Uganda has got three different training packages: – (1) Web 2.0, Office Applications & Life Skills Training, (2) Leadership and Management Training and (3) Basic Maintenance and Management of ICT Equipment Training; all targeting both the educated and non-educated, Luo being the main language for instruction with emphasis placed on a more practical and less theoretical training approach. He also emphasized that BOSCO-Uganda has got a needs assessment tool that informs the survey, assessment and identification of community/youth groups for partnership.

A wealth of other issues touched included: – Danger & practical illustrations of Kerosene lanterns e.g. high daily costs, air pollution, fire hazards, health issues VS Solar lamp as alternatives-a safe technology free from bad health issues, has got low daily costs, no air pollution, no fire hazards. For more information on workshop content, please see link below “guidebook for solar products”.

Solar Awareness Workshop-Opit Handbook

After the Quiz and award (solar lamp products and T-shirts) session, Hon. Okelakwo Anthony of Lalogi Sub county made the closing remarks; thereafter the workshop was adjourned at 2:00pm by the Mr. Otto Lubila-REBIC Managing Director.

This event is one of the outcomes of the programme Intervention Connectivity, Electricity and Education for Entrepreneurship (CE3) implemented by BOSCO-Uganda with support from Accenture Foundation through University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development. Under this partnership, a Solar Training Workshop (29 July 2013 to 2 August 2013) organised by BOSCO-Uganda was held and facilitated by resource persons (trainers) from “Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation” -College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology; Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda) targeting 19 Participants including BOSCO-Uganda staff; CE3 Community Solar Technicians from the three Project partner Sites (Lacor St. Mary’s College-Amuru District, King James Comprehensive School-Lira District and Pabbo Sub County-Amuru District) ICT site users & volunteers; interns from Makerere University, University of Notre Dame and Gulu University). Please click here for a pictorial of the Solar Training

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BOSCO is named a finalist for global Echoing Green competition!

DSC_0197 (1)

Jonathan Marino and Father Joseph Okumu together in Gulu, Uganda.

The BOSCO community should be very proud today!

BOSCO was selected as a finalist for the international Echoing Green Fellowship. We are one of 85 organizations worldwide selected from an original applicant of more than 3,000, putting us in the top 3% of organizations selected!

Visit this link to read more information.

Echoing Green is an international nonprofit organization that seeks out and invests in the most exciting and promising organizations and individuals working on community issues around the world.

They recognize the amazing work we have already done through BOSCO for rural communities in northern Uganda. And, they are excited by our vision for branching into new areas, like solar power and entrepreneurship.

The winners will be selected at an awards ceremony in New York City on May 17th. Father Joe has been invited to attend this event in person, and will visit some of our partners in South Bend, Indiana after the event.

If we win the Echoing Green, it will enable us to build our programs and make new partnerships in Uganda and around the world. Also if we win, it will enable Jonathan Marino, a current BOSCO Board Member, to lead global network development and work full time with the Uganda-based team.

So please take a moment to give thanks for this wonderful opportunity!

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Youth organise a Community Fair in partnership with BOSCO-Uganda

Children and other participants awaiting the event

Children and other participants awaiting the event


The Community Fair funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation and DKA-Austria through HORIZONT3000 and organized by the youth of Alero ICT Youth Centre in Nwoya District-Northern Uganda in partnership with Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach-Uganda (BOSCO-Uganda) attracted 300-500 community members from within Alero Sub County of Nwoya District; and over 80 participating young people/community members representing 16 ICT sites from outside Nwoya District.



Forum Discussion

Forum Discussion

The program highlights of the day started with the Republic of Uganda National Anthem followed by; Charity work at Alero Health Centre III; welcome remarks from the area Local Council One Chair Person & welcome song from the children of Alero Primary School; followed by Role plays & Pictorial Presentation by community members on three controversial issues (Land conflicts, Alcoholism & drug abuse, bad leadership & governance) identified by the community of Alero – accompanied by forum discussions; personal testimonies & power point presentation by community members on the benefits of ICT; Acoli cultural performances (dance & music); Exhibition and official closing remarks by the Resident District Commissioner (RDC)of Nwoya District (representing the President’s office).

An award worth 2, 480, 000 /= (Two Million, Four Hundred & Eighty Thousand Uganda Shillings Only) was presented through the RDC to the community to Alero ICT Youth Centre. 200, 000/= (Two Hundred Thousand Uganda Shillings only) was in-kind inform Games and Sports items which are 2 footballs, 1 netball, Ball pump & 2 pins, 3 whistles, Snakes & Ladders (with Ludo) and Scrabble. The 2, 280, 000/= (Two Million, Two Hundred and Eighty Thousand Uganda Shillings Only) cash award was start-up capital towards the Revolving Fund/Village Savings & Loan Scheme aimed at contributing to the sustainability of Alero ICT Youth Centre and improvement of livelihoods of the community of Alero.

Prior to the day of the community fair, two radio talk shows (hosting the youth/community of Alero) on controversial issues were held on Mega Radio Fm on Wednesday, 18th March 2014 (English Version) and Thursday, 19th March 2014 (Luo Version). In addition to the Luo Radio Announcement (to publicise the community fair) held in the morning of Friday, 21st March 2014; the radio talk shows also served the same purpose. The Local Media houses (Mega Radio FM and Rupiny) also covered and reported the issues at the community fair.

The 16 ICT Sites joining Alero ICT Youth Centre on Friday, 21st March 2014 at the 10:00am to 6:30pm event were: – Acoli Muslim District (Layibi Division-Gulu Municipality), Tam Pi Diki Child & Youth Support Organisation (Bungatira Sub County-Gulu District), Coope Information Centre (Bungatira Sub County-Gulu District), Bardege ICT for Education & Research Centre (Bardege Division-Gulu Municipality), Lacor St. Mary’s College (Lamogi sub county in Amuru District), Latanya Youth & Widows Services Uganda (Latanya sub county-Pader District), Peace Together Uganda (Pajule-Pader District), Lira Palwo ICT Centre (Lira Palwo sub county-Agago District), Gwokke Keni PHA & OVC Network (Patongo Sub county-Agago District), Gwok Ma Inongo (Paimol Network of Farmers in Paimol Sub County of Agago District), King James Comprehensive School (Lira District), Super Star Football & Netball Club (Lukole in Agago Town Council), Aber Youth Centre (Aber Sub County in Oyam District), Pabo ICT Centre (Pabo sub county in Amuru district), Lacor Primary School (Lamogi sub county in Amuru District), Ngai Youth Centre (Ngai sub county in Oyam district).

Cultural Performance (Music & Dance)

Cultural Performance (Music & Dance)

Inaddtition to representatives from HORIZONT3000, BOSCO-Uganda Board of Directors & Secretariat in Uganda; also present from within Alero sub county and Nwoya District were representatives from Local government, Uganda Police, different Community Based Organisations/groups, Primary & Secondary Schools, Health Sector and clubs.

Three other similar events will be carried out in the districts of Agago, Lamwo and Pader organised by the young people and communities of Lira Palwo ICT Centre, Paddie-Archdeaconry ICT Centre and Peace Together Uganda respectively.

Alero ICT Youth Centre was established by BOSCO-Uganda in 2011 with funding from UNICEF; and upgraded in 2013 under the programme Intervention “Peace Building and Socio-economic Development using Information & Communication Technology (ICT) in the Acholi sub-region, Northern Uganda“ with funding from the Austrian Development Cooperation and DKA-Austria through HORIZONT3000.

Click here for more pictures

Radio Talk Show hosting community of Alero

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