A guest blog by Caroline Mwebaza of Solar Health Uganda.

Sustainable Energy for All

A few months ago, I attended the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. l traveled from Uganda as a Delegate on behalf of Let There Be Light International (LTBLI) and Solar Health Uganda (SHU). There, I met a member of LTBLI’s Board of Directors, Thatcher Mweu, who arrived from Nairobi, Kenya also as an official Delegate for LTBLI. The SEforAll Forum is an annual convening through which the global community comes together to advance Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a series of 17 interlinked global goals that aim to end extreme poverty and promote sustainable development by 2030. SDG7 is specifically focused on sustainable energy, energy efficiency and energy access.

86 Months from Now…

2030 is just 86 months away and yet we still have over 759 million people still living in energy poverty! That’s hundreds of millions of people without ANY access to safe, plentiful energy. As we work on finding solutions to address energy poverty and support sustainable energy, we should align all of our efforts with the development priorities and aspirations of each country so that no one is left behind. Indeed, we have an opportunity to embrace bold actions to ensure a just and equitable energy transition with all people at the center of the transition.

The forum was officially opened by H.E Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, who welcomed the delegates and thanked SE4All for choosing Rwanda to host the first SEforALL forum on the African continent. He highlighted that the energy crisis coincides with the threat of climate change to which our African continent is especially vulnerable and that switching to renewable energy is crucial. He also mentioned that Africa cannot carry the burden alone especially given the fact that it is not its emissions alone that created the climate emergency globally, however, Africa would be part of the solution.

Statistics and Data light the way forward

The President’s speech was followed by other noteworthy speeches and discussions including an intergenerational panel that emphasized the need for young and old to work together. Ways to include the next generations are through empowerment and involving them in mentorship programs, decision making, and policy making.  The forum allowed me to connect with a number of women and men working in the renewable energy sector. I learned that as we advocate for access to clean and safe energy for all, we need to leverage statistics and data to demonstrate impact and opportunities for engagement. Shine On!