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Co-Producing Innovative Energy Economies in Kampala

On the 13th of December 2019, the Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW) Kampala City Research Team, hosted a workshop at the Hotel Africana (Kampala, Uganda). The workshop brought together local researchers, stakeholders, and KNOW UCL research partners, to better understand and co-create objectives for the Kampala project as part of the larger KNOW programme.

Kampala Workshop Team

[Above] Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality team with the Kampala City Research Partners and local community stakeholder representatives at the Kampala Workshop, 13 December | Image by David Heymann 2018.


The workshop brought together numerous local stakeholders attended by members from the Urban Action Lab; Makerere University (UAL); Kasubi Parish local Community Development Initiative (KALOCODE); Lubaga Charcoal Briquette Cooperative Society Limited (LUCHACOS); ACTogether (the support NGO for Uganda’s Federation of Urban Poor); Shelter and Settlements Alternatives: Uganda Human Settlements Network (SSA – UHSNET); Bwaise community members; and a representative from Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

[Above] Woman of Kasuubi Zone III community (under LUCHACOS) presenting their briquettes | Image by David Heymann 2018.

The KNOW Kampala project examines how urban areas in Kampala are becoming increasingly unequal in the context of rapid urbanization. With a focus on alternative waste production as an innovative ‘energy nexus’, the project examines the mobilization of local community groups through the production of briquettes and other alternative waste economies.

The workshop provided a space to discuss the projects objectives outlined above along with presentations from the UCL London regarding the overall KNOW project, Work Packages and core themes. These were followed by presentations from the Kampala City research team providing a broader insight into inequality in Kampala and the story of energy briquettes.

Discussions were focused around the community led mobilization process and how this process of briquette production is contributing to the reduction of extreme poverty in Kampala by increasing levels of prosperity at a local scale. To gain a deeper understanding of the briquettes production process, the workshop was preceded by site visits to the chosen Kampala City case study locations producing briquettes namely: Kawaala, Nakulabye, and Bwaise communities.

In response to discussions focused around inequality in Kampala, Prof Shuaib Lwasa (KNOW City Research Lead for Kampala) stressed;

“We have to start with what we have and in Kampala, where materials that have been traditionally thought of as useless and therefore transported to a landfill…can now be thought about as materials which can be transformed into energy briquettes, into animal feed, and into composite manure. The idea is to create economic opportunities that the city has not previously thought about...”

He also noted the lack of a formal social income classification and how it is paramount that other measures besides income poverty (based on expenditure) are found to measure poverty.

The workshop provided a fantastic opportunity to gather all the various partners together, share learnings, and discus next steps. We look forward to presenting updates on the work in Kampala as the on the ground research takes shape.

[Above] Localised briquette production in Kampala | Image by David Heymann 2018.


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