Ugandan journalists equipped to champion off-grid renewable energy reporting

The African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) recently concluded its first short course on reporting the productive use of renewable energy (PUSE), specifically focusing on off-grid solar power in Uganda. Held in the last week of June 2024 at ACME’s premises in Kampala, this initiative saw 14 Ugandan journalists gain valuable knowledge and skills to become champions for sustainable energy reporting.

The course addressed a critical need. The growing demand for energy in Uganda, a challenge shared by many African nations, necessitates the exploration of sustainable and cost-effective solutions. Renewable energy sources, particularly solar power, offer a promising answer. While solar technology provides solutions for basic lighting needs, Productive Use of Solar Energy (PUSE) extends its application to economic activities, facilitating development in Ugandan communities. PUSE can enhance agricultural practices, create employment opportunities, and generate income, contributing to poverty reduction and economic growth.

Despite the growing global interest in PUSE, with East Africa emerging as a significant market for solar applications, public understanding and adoption of sustainable off-grid solar energy in the region remain limited. A lack of clear information, the presence of misconceptions, and inconsistent messaging contribute to this challenge.

Delivered by ACME and supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, this specialised workshop aimed to equip Ugandan journalists with the necessary knowledge and skills to address this gap. Over the programme, the 14 journalists explored the varied aspects of renewable energy technologies and their impact on agriculture in Uganda. They learned to critically analyse PUSE initiatives, identify challenges and opportunities, and craft compelling narratives to promote a shift towards a sustainable energy future.

ACME hopes these journalists will play a key role in raising public awareness about PUSE benefits. This, in turn, can contribute to Uganda’s economic growth and a sustainable future.