An hour’s drive from the bustling city centre, to the West of Kampala, is Uganda’s Mityana district. Despite its proximity to the capital, rates of poverty in the district are high and sources of electricity and water are limited for Mityana residents. Our exciting new solar panel project with PEAS Pioneer High School, however, is set to change the lives of their students and the community at large.

Funded by our Foundation, the project will see the installation of a solar panel power house within Pioneer ’s compound, providing electricity to classroom blocks, the school kitchen and the dormitories for boarding students. Although currently in its early stages, the completion of the project is expected in just over four weeks’ time – meaning students and staff will soon be reaping the benefits that the project will deliver.

In particular, the power generated from the solar panels will play an integral role in improving education quality offered at Pioneer school – with teachers now able to offer additional lessons to support students in the evenings. The solar panels will also power the school’s management system, ‘School Tool’ – which aims to improve the capacity of the school by collecting and analysing student and teacher data.

Headteacher Francis at Pioneer High School using SchoolTool to get better data

In a district where the main source of income and employment is from subsistence farming, a key feature of the solar project is to equip Pioneer students with new skills and open future employment opportunities. With this in mind, we have ensured the involvement of three electrical engineering students, purchasing safety kits and appropriate garments, so they could have a hands on role at all stages of the installation.

But the project’s aims do not stop there. The levels of electricity that will be generated at the school mean that in the long-term, the school could become a community hub and major source of power for people in the local community.

John Rendel, CEO of PEAS commented: “The solar panel project we’re working on with COINS Foundation is the first of its kind in the Mityana district and will have a hugely beneficially effect on our students and also the local community. The high drop-out rate from secondary schools in this area is a real problem, particularly for girls who often have to walk very long and dangerous routes. However, the provision of lighting along the roads to school as a result of the solar project will undoubtedly help to decrease the risks students face on their journeys. We’re extremely grateful for COINS Foundation’s support on this transformation project”.

The potential of the project and future uses of the power generated is limitless. In the long-term, Pioneer school could easily become the main – and much needed – source of electricity for Mityana residents, as well as becoming a profitable income-generating initiative for the school.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll keep you posted of the project’s progress and will be sharing posts directly from those involved in the installation process – from the engineers, the students involved and the Pioneer teachers. Stay tuned!

We’d like to thank Debbie Morecroft, Chief Technical Officer at NanoFab Tools, and our trustee Ken Goulding for their leadership on this project.