Project Research Theme 2: Labour, Home Production, and Structural Transformation at the Level of the Household, Research Theme 5: Political Economy and Public Investment, Cross-Cutting Issue 3: Inequality and Inclusion

Spotlight Kampala: Illuminating Energy Inequities in Informal Urban Communities

Active project

Years active

  • to

Funding category

  • Small Research Grants

Spotlight Kampala is a collaborative effort between the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Washington, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Arizona State University, in partnership with ACTogether Uganda and Makerere University's Urban Action Lab. Its main objective is to highlight the challenges of accessing clean, reliable, and affordable energy in informal settlements and slums in Kampala. The project aims to gather data on how community members meet their energy needs, the prevalence of informal connections, the main barriers to formal connection, and the safety, reliability, quality, and affordability of connections for households and businesses.

This experimental design consists of three complementary methods. Each is conducted across 25 informal settlements. First, participatory infrastructure mapping involves student teams partnering with community members to map the physical location of electrical infrastructure location, recording detailed data on the location of utility poles, streetlights, and transformers. Second, the research team will conduct 70 interviews to gather qualitative data on community members' electricity access experiences, including topics such as connection legality, affordability, reliability, and energy consumption habits. The interviews will be complemented by a survey of 500 households and small businesses. Lastly, to collect data on grid power reliability and quality, 150 power quality sensors will be installed at the outlet level for two-month deployment periods.

Project stakeholders include Umeme, the Kampala Capital City Authority, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, and the Energy Regulatory Authority, among a much wider range of government, donor and civil society actors. The outcomes of this research are intended to help these stakeholders understand the status of key metrics such as grid access rates, affordability of connection and tariff, energy loss reduction, customer service, reliability, quality, and safety of electricity supply in informal communities. As part of future plans, Spotlight Kampala is convening a workshop in July 2023 to communicate the project’s findings and to facilitate discussions among key stakeholders to brainstorm potential solutions and interventions to energy access challenges in informal settlements of Kampala.

Small Research Grants

Closed • Deadline • Small Research Grants

Research Team

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