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Uganda, Kalangala Infrastructure Services

Delivering a pioneering multi-sector approach to the development of Bugala Island.

Uganda Kalangala

Context
Bugala Island is located on Lake Victoria in Uganda’s Kalangala District. Ten years ago, the remote island had limited access to basic infrastructure. Road surfacing was poor and ferry links to the mainland were unsafe and unreliable. Residents lacked access to modern, affordable power, and lake water used for drinking and washing was contaminated with diseases such as bilharzia and typhoid. The Government of Uganda was committed to seeking sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by Bugala Island’s 35,000 residents. 

Project
In 2005, having struggled to attract private investors to address the island’s infrastructure crisis, the government approached InfraCo Africa for assistance. InfraCo Africa, through its principal developer, eleQtra, led the design of the complex KIS Project, balancing delivery of high quality infrastructure solutions with the need for commercial viability and affordable access for residents. The project's first phase provided a safe, regular ferry service linking Bugala Island with mainland Uganda. KIS then installed a low maintenance 1.6MW solar thermal hybrid power plant on the island, connecting 2258 households to a new renewable energy mini-grid. KIS have now taken over the Kalangala Town Council Grid and potential exists for significant expansion of connections in the future. Using power from the plant, KIS extracts 253,000 litres of lake water every day; water is filtered, cleaned and stored before being piped to taps across the island. The hybrid plant design and battery back-up systems ensure a constant supply of clean, potable water to 19 villages.The final project phase involved upgrading the island's 66km main road to durable local murram.

Impact
‘I think the government would like to replicate what KIS has been able to do in other parts of Uganda. This is probably the most successful way of developing these areas of the country.’ John Opiro, Managing Director, KIS

Access to affordable power and improved transport links has enabled existing businesses to expand and has encouraged the development of new enterprises on the island. Residents are increasingly building permanent homes, indicative of increased income and confidence in the future. KIS now employs 74 people in long term jobs and has stimulated growth in indirect employment tied to power access and better road and ferry infrastructure. With clean water, rates of waterborne disease have fallen substantially and access to reliable power has improved primary and emergency healthcare provision on the island.