Reducing Sexual Assault in Uganda
SELF, in partnership with the Uganda-based Rape Hurts Foundation (RHF), is in the process of implementing a solar solution that we believe can help reduce the high number of sexual assaults against women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Because these crimes are far too common in the project community of Bukyerimba in Uganda, RHF has established a center there with programs to help prevent sexual violence and offer support to survivors and their children. An ongoing impediment for the program has been the historical lack of electricity in the region. SELF is working with RHF to address the problem in a number of ways.
We have been working in Bukyerimba to increase security for women and girls who must collect water for their families in the bush—often at night—where they are vulnerable to being sexually assaulted. With the recent installation of solar streetlights and a solar-pump water station in the center of the village, the need to venture far from home for water has been virtually eliminated. However, there is still a problem. Women and girls are also responsible for collecting wood for cooking—making them, once again, vulnerable to predators. In the project’s next phase, a pilot program to promote solar cookers will be offered so that wood will no longer be needed by those who choose the solar alternative.
RHF’s founder, Hellen Tanyinga, assists the victims of past assaults and empowers them to move on from victims to survivors through compassion, education and skill development. She also provides a safe haven for the area’s homeless children—many of them conceived through rape. Hellen says one of the program’s greatest needs is to have electricity to enhance the children’s educational opportunities, provide refrigeration for food storage, and support the Foundation’s communications efforts. SELF will install a 6kW solar micro-grid to address those needs as well as power many sustainability measures that will ensure and maintain a long-term program that RHF can manage by itself.
It is our hope that, once it is completed and deemed successful—with reliable data—this project to reduce sexual assaults in Bukyerimba can be replicated throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Funding Status: To date, SELF has installed streetlights and the water station. We are currently raising money for solar cookers, the 6kW micro-grid, and solar-powered equipment such as a refrigerator, a cell phone charging station and grain mill.
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