Utility company Umeme Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Directorate of Training (DIT) to promote skilling of underprivileged communities.
The partnership aims to expand the scope of Pamoja project, a Umeme initiative which is aimed at building trust and developing productive linkages within while facilitating access to safe, clean and reliable power. This project is being piloted in the slum areas of Kiwuunya, Kiyaaye, Kikoni and localities proximal to Nakulabye.
Umeme’s Head of Regional Projects Mr. Andrew Mwesigye while speaking during the signing of the MoU at Imperial Royale said Pamoja seeks to empower communities by improving the quality and safety of their power supply.
“Uganda has a six million houses which are not connected on the grid, as such this partnership presents an opportunity to prepare manpower by training engineers, electricians to accelerate connections,” he said.
“If this project is successful, Umeme will make sure the benefits accrued will be extended to other areas,” he added.
Mr. Patrick Byakatonda, the Acting Director DIT said, “I wish to convey my gratitude to Umeme for having identified DIT as a partner in the Pamoja project which is going to improve the lives by adoption of safe energy use practices.”
The partnership with Umeme Pamoja project is in line with the DIT’s mandate which is to promote occupational standards and regulate work based training schemes. Through this partnership DIT will undertake to identify the needs of the community, develop standards for this occupation with the main purpose of the project being to deter people from vandalising electrical wiring.
The Pamoja project was launched in February 2020 to support vulnerable communities.
Mr. Peter Mwesiga, the Pamoja Project Manager said, “We identified DIT as a crucial partner on Pamoja project who will help to certify the competences for our beneficiaries. These competences will be on a range of skills that will acquired including repair of appliances, fashion and design, food processing such as baking and some of these skills have been acquired on the job while others will be acquired on the training process.”
Mr. Mwesiga said the project was officially launched in February 2020 with community leaders and over the period they have engaged with all the zone leaders in order to identify the needs of their communities and also recruit project champions to lead different projects in the communities.
“We are actively working with the community to resolve the pressing challenges. We are very interested in improving the communities in which we operate because when the communities improve, their way of life improves and we have less vandalism and power theft hence promoting a safer community,” he said
He said they are reaching out to different partners to come and support their efforts and start implementing the project.
They have also been working on an appropriate course for wiring and appliance repairs in partnership with DIT and Makerere School of Engineering.
“We want to find ways of collaborating with the areas we serve to find solutions to problems that these communities face,” he explained.
The programme, which will then be rolled out beyond Nakulabye is expected to reduce losses in the scope area by 25 per cent and facilitate the connection and regularisation of 1,500 customers.