GBE Uganda partners with second Vocational Training Institute to expand solar training offer in Northern Uganda

Comboni Technical School Angal (CTSA) in Nebbi is GBE Uganda’s newest partner to introduce practical training curricula on solar PV systems and solar-powered irrigation for students in north-western Uganda.

Well-trained solar technicians with hands-on practical experience in the installation, operation and maintenance of solar PV systems are still hard to come by, especially in rural areas in Northern Uganda. For this reason, GBE Uganda supports the expansion and improvement of training offers in the field of electricity and solar energy. Through partnerships with Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs), GBE improves the quality of trainings on offer for future solar technicians and electricians-in-training, by introducing practical training modules and equipment, and by training vocational teachers.  

In April 2020, GBE Uganda established a first partnership with one of the largest Vocational Training Institutes in Northern Uganda, the Daniel Comboni Vocational Institute (DCVI) in Gulu. Since start of the partnership, GBE Uganda supported the setup of a modern solar training room with specialised training equipment at the institute, a solar-powered irrigation demo garden, and a computer laboratory powered by an 8 kWp solar PV system at which students will soon learn to use software programs for designing solar systems.

To enable more training institutes to offer this much needed technical training in rural areas of Uganda, GBE Uganda began the search for a second partner VTI in May 2021. Three candidates in the West-Nile subregion were assessed. After detailed consideration of different aspects such as existing teaching quality, technical expertise, student outreach, managerial capacity, and infrastructure and equipment, Comboni Technical School Angal (CTSA) in Nebbi was selected as GBE’s newest partner. The institute is located a 2-hour drive from GBE’s first partner in Gulu, close to the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lake Albert.

Signing of MoU with CTSA in Nebbi in September 2021

The partnership commenced formally in September 2021 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The focus of the partnership will be the set-up of training facilities to introduce practical training curricula on solar PV systems and solar-powered irrigation into the educational offer of CTSA. To create a conducive learning environment for the students, the classrooms identified to accommodate the new training facilities will be renovated extensively. This includes renovation and outfitting of a solar training room, a computer laboratory and a demo garden for solar-powered irrigation – all following the example of the facilities set up at the first VTI partner in Gulu. The renovation and construction works have started in February 2022.

Solar training room before start of renovation works

Given GBE Uganda’s strong commitment to offer training opportunities for female technicians and professionals, the partnership also supports CTSA to enable more women to take up its educational offers. Since CTSA’s founding in 1993, the lack of facilities to accommodate women at institute has been hindering the enrolment of female students in the formal courses offered by CTSA. GBE Uganda will therefore support CTSA in the set-up of new dormitories for women to increase female participation in the technical programmes. Mr. Colbert Opoki, Head of Studies at CTSA, expressed his commitment to enabling the participation of female students:

“In the past years, more and more women have been showing interest in our technical training courses. Unfortunately, our institute doesn’t have dormitories and adequate sanitary facilities for women. Because of that, female students from far-off districts in the West-Nile sub-region who could not afford an accommodation outside the institute, could not attend our training courses. In this educational year, we have only 2 female students attending the “Electrical Installation” formal course from a total number of students of 32. Last year, we have identified an appropriate and safe space at our institute to accommodate female students and with the support of GBE Uganda we will set up female dormitories. We are looking forward to enabling more women to join our technical training courses.”