Sendea Academy supports young women to acquire technical skills, get jobs

Patricia Namuddu

Patricia Namuddu, 26, has diversified her skills beyond her diploma in Electrical Engineering from Kyambogo University to a certified Solar PV installation technician.

This, she says, will not have been possible without the support of Sendea Academy.

Sendea Academy has over the past four years intensified provision of short skills and oriented training in solar technology, aimed at meeting quality assurance in the access and installation accessories for the low income communities across the country.

“I trained under the Sendea Academy program at Nakawa Vocational Training Institute, to do solar installation, standalone home solar PV installation. This has enabled me acquire skills for my own benefit, including how solar batteries are installed, fitted, sized as well as the solar input data control,” Namuddu said.

She said since she completed in 2021, she had installed 21 solar sites across the country in Saum, Lwakaka, Vura, Kasensero, kitagati and Ntoro ko among others.

She is currently working at Mung Engineering Solutions, a firm in the suburb of Kyanja, in Wakiso district.

Sendea is currently supporting her graduate studies at Kyambogo University in Electrical engineering.

In the next five years, she hopes to become one among the most outstanding champions in the renewable energy solutions in Uganda.

“We need to go green. I advise all my friends and colleagues to join Sendea, train with us and obtain life lasting skills,” she said.

In Kaliro district, another female solar technician, Irene Nangobi, said she is now well equipped with skills in undertaking domestic solar installations in her village of Nawaikoke, Nawaikoke sub-county, Bulamogi North County.

This 21 year old is appreciative of Sendea Academy which in partnership with Don Bosco Vocational Institute in Kamuli district provided the firm foundation for her to get skill in this solar installation, an increasingly sought after service by both rural households and micro enterprises interested in lighting services.

“I have since the start of this year been able to install at least three different homes within my village of Nawaikoke. Even those who want to purchase solar now contact me for the specifications before they go and buy from the solar shops,” Nangobi says.

She says that she is getting busier than ever before with most of the new owners of the solar systems paying her an average of Shs 40,000 per day for her services.

In Kumi, Peninah Ademun, the district electrical technician has supplemented her knowledge and skills to include that of solar.

“It has been very useful and I have gained more skills in solar installation, solar trouble shooting, solar water pumping and street lighting and over the last 4 years I am better,” she said.

She said her parents left her when she was still young but she has educated herself.

“I wish that more young girls join this Sendea Academy. Many customers now even trust me with their total input costs, probably because I am a trustworthy woman” Ademun counsels.

Loy Kyozaire, the CEO of Sendea is an association of small and medium enterprises in the local solar energy business.

Loy Kyozaire

“We have a training arm that is aimed at building capacity for the end users of our services. We take advantage of the International Women’s Day to celebrate and encourage for real skills development among young girls and women in Uganda. Our Sendea Academy as a training arm is to have skilled labour to enable us feed into the pool of technicians from free-lance, to certificate, diploma, graduate and post graduate holders whose diverse skills are in real demand across the country,” Kyozaire said.

Kyozaire anticipates that as more of the sector and line businesses thrive; the image of the renewable energy sector will improve and Uganda, with its robust weather, young population and increasing rate of urbanisation could then become a role model for the region and Africa in developing a sustainable renewable energy value chain.