Bunambutye resettlement camp in Bulambuli district is home to resettled landslide survivors from Bududa. Mr. Nathan Wilson Wanasolo, the chairman of the resettlement camp says the camp is home to about 240 households sheltering over 3000 families.
Following the landslides in Bududa, the Office of the Prime Minister through the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness acquired land to construct 900 houses for purposes of resettling the affected families.
Bunambutye resettlement camp has a power problem where during the night, locals used candles which not only provided insufficient light but also posed a safety threat especially when around children until telecom firm, MTN Uganda came through to offer a helping hand.
In 2019, aware of the circumstances in Bulambuli, MTN hoped it would make a change in the community. As part of its staff-driven Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) dubbed ‘21 Days of Y’ello care’, MTN provided solar lighting to all the existing houses in Bulambuli village through the “Light up a Village” campaign in partnership with Fenix international. The campaign cost about UGX157.6 million where each household was provided with one (1) solar panel and four (4) bulbs.
Buteme, a mother of 12 and the sole breadwinner of the family is one of the beneficiaries of the campaign. She said, “The solar light and panel have enabled me to have access to light. I can now watch TV and charge my phone. The solar light also comes in handy for the children who read books and do homework at night which was very hard before.”
Another beneficiary, Rhoda Buteme, said the area before was dark and everyone used candles to see at night —this hindered my children’s education. “Candles were very hard to use. Sometimes the children would not read their books or do their homework because the dim light would strain their eyes. They preferred to do it during the day,” she explained
Mr. Wanasolo recounts cases of insecurity in the area propagated by petty thieves taking advantage of the darkness. Cattle rustling by the Karamojongs was also very common.
Bunambutye resettlement camp is now also slowly developing with small businesses cropping up on account of a proliferating population and improved security.
“The lights have helped us a lot. We’re very happy with MTN. Now we have some businesses; shops, small hotels and even those who sell vegetables. The lights have also helped with our insecurity problem of karamojongs who are cattle rustlers. It is very common for them to come and steal our cattle,” Mr. Wanasolo said.
MTN Uganda CEO Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte said the telco is glad to have accomplished its goal which is to improve the lives of the people in the resettlement.
“MTN is proud to have supported the government and the people of Uganda in improving life at the Bunambutye resettlement camp. That camp is home to a cross-section of demographics in the country who play a great role in its development,” he noted.
Notably, Bulambuli is reflective of Uganda’s budding energy sector characterized by a low grid electricity connection rate of around 27 percent and a relatively high and inhibitive tariff for an impoverished community.