UCU among Africa-European Partners working toward renewable energy enhancement
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2020/12/ucu-among-africa-european-partners-working-toward-renewable-energy-enhancement/
By Godfrey Sempungu
Associate Dean, Faculty of Business and Administration
Many a man who has walked on the African soil has tasted its unlimited endowment of God-given resources – the sun, wind and water, to mention a few. In Africa, it is said that nature warmly smiles down on every soul almost every day. The continent is laden with an abundance of mildly tapped renewable energy and business-creating opportunities. Bubbling within this unearthed investment potential are many young adults who for one reason or another have not focused on the abilities within their reach. Youth who both finished school and didn’t are under utilized.
Amidst this scenario of mixed opportunity and unearthed creativity, the DALILA project was crafted. (See video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO-CT3rsE0c)
The Swahili origin of DALILA means delicate and gentle. In 2020 and connected to Uganda Christian University (UCU), it refers to the Development of Academic Curricula on Sustainable Energies and Green Economy in Africa. It’s a capacity-building project funded by the Education, Audio-Visual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Union. The main objective is to establish six new courses on “Renewable Technologies” and “Green Business creation and development” in two universities in Tanzania and two in Uganda.
UCU and three other African universities – Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) and Tanzania’s University of Dodoma (UDOM) and State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) – are engaged in the venture. Partners outside Africa are Sapienza University of Rome in Italy; the University of Cadiz in Spain and professional agencies such as Sahara ventures in Tanzania, Asud in Italy and a renewable energy organization called INOMA Renovables in Spain.
Despite the COVID-19 education restrictions, the three-year project is moving ahead with expected completion by January of 2023. The current, first year has involved planning for delivery that would hopefully include both in-person and virtual programming, pending approval by the National Council for Higher Education.
The 99,993,700 Euros ($117.8 million American) grant is targeted specifically to fill gaps through higher education in developing countries like Uganda. The multi-disciplinary approach and collaborative synergy of experts with the DALILA project focuses on transferring of theory and contemporary practical skills and experiences to renewable energy entrepreneurial opportunities for youth.
The six university consortium Euro grant includes an equipment purchase provision that will enable green energy laboratories to be established at UCU, four students (includes one doctoral student doing research related to green business and/or renewable energy technology) to be chosen for one-month European internships and training of facilitators in Europe. In the green labs, students and faculty shall work on traditional and novel solutions for both renewable energy and entrepreneurial ventures.
The ultimate goal is increasing Ugandan capacity to harness renewable energy. Other results include filling a critical skills gap, enhancing capacity as academic staff who are participating collaboratively in the development and delivery of the modules, building a new network for collaboration with global partners, improved collaboration with renewable energy stakeholders, increased applied research in renewable energy, and multidisciplinary links between industry and academia.
At UCU, the early benefit is an interdisciplinary partnership between the faculties in engineering and business. This collaboration includes the creation of new postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business and Renewable Energy Technologies. The courses leading to this credential will involve on-line learning and practical green lab sessions.
While Uganda relies heavily on renewable energy for supply of her energy needs at a macro level, the same energy remains underexploited at a micro level. The cost of the national hydroelectric power grid is prohibitive to small, medium and starting businesses. To these, the sun, wind and micro system hydro endowments remain virgin territory. The two-faculty collaboration through DALILA is expected to continue building in the areas of research connected to renewable energy to further fill this gap.
For more information, go to www.dalilaproject.eu/
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