IYAN: Mobilising communities towards economic and environmental sustainability
Born and raised in the Rwenzori mountains in south-western Uganda, Daniel Misaki, founder of Ihandiro Youth Advocates for Nature (IYAN), grew up surrounded by lush forest and rich biodiversity. However, local households depend heavily on firewood and charcoal burning for cooking stoves and light sources, and over time Daniel's community has seen significant forest cover loss, as well as increased landslides and soil erosion.
Recognising that many of these challenges were rooted in poverty through a lack of access to, and education about clean energy sources, Daniel founded IYAN to empower the local community to protect nature through a number of conservation and sustainable livelihood efforts.
Firstly, IYAN's Rural Clean Energy Access Programme provides affordable modern energy saving stoves and solar powered lighting to rural communities, helping them reduce household wood consumption by over 50%. IYAN partners with youth and women’s community associations to drive awareness of clean energy and its positive impact on the environment and their health, and support a number of women's groups through their social enterprise arm, selling clean energy cooking stoves at affordable prices to maximise accessibility. Secondly, IYAN's Green The Hill campaign, which has planted over 150,000 trees in just 3 years, helps to restore lost vegetation cover and protect the ground from further erosion. Finally, IYAN runs Eco-Investment projects that educate locals on green enterprises which utilise unused land and fragile ecosystems, such as beekeeping and fish farming.
QCT support will enable Daniel to supply households with 1000 clean energy cooking stoves and 240 solar solutions through a revolving fund, supporting the scaling up of their social enterprise efforts to help them increase awareness of environmentally sustainable solutions and provide alternative means of income for local communities. QCT will also work together to expand IYAN’s reforestation activities, enabling the organisation to reclaim 2 further acres of unforested land. QCT will further work with IYAN to provide advice and guidance on organisational areas including safeguarding and financial management.
With very few alternatives available, local communities rely heavily on firewood from the local Rwenzori mountains for cooking and kerosene candles for lighting. This is leading to a number of issues including loss of forest cover, increased risk of landslides and food insecurity, all of which exacerbate local poverty.
IYAN provides affordable clean-energy alternatives to traditional firewood stoves and lighting, helping to reduce community wood consumption while positively impacting on the local environment. Through its other programmes, IYAN is working with locals to restore lost forest cover by introducing them to alternative income sources, which are both economically and environmentally sustainable.
Over 3,000 households and 7 local schools now have access to clean-energy stoves, and 900 houses are now using solar lighting. To date, IYAN have planted 150,000 trees through their reforestation project, and over 600 young people have been educated on green enterprise, with 450 of these becoming community change agents in their own villages.
IYAN is working towards SDG 7. Affordable and Clean Energy.
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