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Allan Mubiru: “In Germany, I gained enormous experience on climate finance and international collaboration”

Name: Allan Mubiru
Lives in: Kigali, Rwanda
Country of origin: Uganda
Period in Germany: July 2012 to November 2013 in Berlin
Educational and research institution: atmosfair gGmbH (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s International Climate Protection Fellowship)
Occupation: Economist and specialist for Climate Finance

Allan Mubiru from Uganda studied Finance and Economy. During his Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Climate Protection Fellowship in Germany he was a guest scientist at atmosfair in Berlin. Currently he is working as Country Manager for atmosfair in Rwanda and is responsable for the standardisation of the Cook Stoves Programme for Rwanda, which is providing high quality and energy-efficient cooking stoves for the rural population.

What is atmosfair?

atmosfair is a climate protection organisation with a focus on travel. Airplane passengers can compensate their flight emissions with atmosfair by making a voluntary climate protection payment based on the amount of emissions they create. Atmosfair uses these contributions to develop renewable energies in countries where they hardly exist, above all in developing countries. In this way, atmosfair saves CO2 that would otherwise be created by fossil fuels in these countries. Meanwhile, local people profit since often for the first time, they gain access to clean energy available around the clock, which is a must for education and creating equal opportunities.

atmosfair website

Interview with Allan Mubiru, Country Manager Rwanda (in German only)

atmosfair carbon offset project Rwanda: efficient cookstoves

Video: Energy efficient cooking in Rwanda

They are currently implementing the programme and over 30.000 households have benefited so far. Furthermore, Allan Mubiru is facilitating the development of partnerships between the German solar company Little Sun and Rwandan and Ugandan businesses to increase the dissemination of solar lamps. Such lamps create access to cost-efficient and climate-friendly lighting solutions. One goal is to provide better learning conditions for pupils through solar lighting.

With the German Xaver Kitzinger Mubiru has started a sustainable coffee value chain business called Kaffee-Kooperative.de which retails fully made Rwandan coffee in Germany.

Angelique’s Finest: Coffee 100% Made by Women

Angelique’s Finest is a Rwandan specialist coffee entirely produced by women in the cultivating country, from seed to roasting and packaging. And this has a two-fold positive effect, because roasting in the cultivating country means that a significantly greater proportion of added value than usual remains with the female producers and the situation of women is improved.

Kaffee-Kooperative.de: Angelique’s Finest

How was your experience in Germany? What was positive and what of this was useful for your further career and your projects?

Allan Mubiru: My stay in Germany came with a breadth of both professional and private experiences.

Professionally I gained enormous experience on the climate finance topic and international collaboration. Specifically, I learned about the existence of huge untapped cooperation potential between young professionals from the East African region and our German counterparts. It further underlined the partnership potential that exists between German and African enterprises in the sustainable development and energy efficiency and renewable energy space.

Privately, I had valuable lessons about the German social-cultural, economic and political systems, norms and values and the general way of life: I had the chance to obverse the 2013 German federal election – which to my experience was a big contrast of political maturity. Secondly, my German stay made me fully appreciate efficiency and time as very valuable resources – in Uganda when you mention modern day Germany, people immediately reflect efficiency, quality and time management which I bore witness to during my stay.

Tell us about the projects you are involved in!

Allan Mubiru: I am currently working on the following undertakings:

  • CDM Gold Standard Improved cook stoves programme for Rwanda

    Firstly I am managing the implementation of the CDM Gold Standard Improved cook stoves programme for Rwanda. The programme aims to create access to energy efficient cook stoves by Rwandan households in order to reduce the unsustainable cutting of trees, to contribute to GHG emissions reduction and support Rwanda’s sustainable development goals. atmosfair gGmbH developed and manages the carbon finance component where as our local partners SaferRwanda, Rwanda Women Network and UNHCR Rwanda physically implement the programme. Implementation started in November 2013 and will continue until 2039.

    Together with atmosfair, we are currently looking for project co-financing partners to implement special purpose projects under the programme. These include voluntary CO2 compensation projects for CSR objectives.

  • Solar Kids school programme

    I facilitate the development of strategic partnerships between the German solar company Little Sun and local companies in Uganda (Bantu Energy) and Rwanda (SaferRwanda). My mandate includes but not limited to ensuring partnership formalization and development of strategies for the implementation of the Solar Kids school programme. The partnerships aim to create access to solar-powered lighting solution by pupils as a learning tool in order to support the possibility to improve their grades. The partnerships have been operational since 2015.

    I wish to call upon organisations that are operating in the energy and education sectors of Uganda and Rwanda to join us in co-financing the “Solar Kids Programme”. Since its inception in December 2015, the programme has benefited over 3000 pupils and our goal is to reach 100,000 pupils in Uganda and Rwanda by 2020.

  • Kaffee-Kooperative.de

    Together with my German host Mr. Xaver Kitzinger we founded Kaffee-Kooperative.de, a retail social company that aims to improve the coffee value chain by retailing coffee that is fully processed, roasted and packaged in the countries where it is grown. Our maiden undertaking is with Musasa Dukundekawa Cooperative of Rwanda, producing the Café de Maraba coffee brand which we have introduced to the German market.

    We are currently mobilizing the funding for two activities: firstly, cost of training of our roasters; secondly, finance to cover start-up marketing costs.

  • UNFCCC’s Regional Collaboration Centre (RCC) Kampala

    Since its creation in 2013, I actively participate in the UNFCCC’s Regional Collaboration Centre (RCC) Kampala’s climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives and dialogues covering the Eastern and Southern Africa region. The center’s mandate is to promote action against climate change.

    Photo: UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre (RCC) Kampala – Capacity building workshop

  • African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI)

    I am an active supporter of the Engagement Global’s recently launched African-German Youth Initiative as well as the ASApreneurs programme, which aim to strengthen youths collaboration on achieving the vision of transitioning to a sustainable global economy.

What was your motivation to start respectively take part in the projects?

Allan Mubiru: My motivation lies within my desire firstly to see increased access to renewable energy and energy efficiency by low-income households and secondly supporting sustainable trade practices.

What kind of positive effects did your projects have already and what are the challenges and obstacles?

Allan Mubiru: As one positive effect, the reduction in wood fuel usage by users of energy efficient cook stoves has resulted into many benefits to households as proven through our periodic monitoring campaigns – reduced exposure to smoke pollution and its related health risks, households save money and time, the project has created direct and indirect jobs and above has prevented GHG emissions.

Creating access to clean lighting solutions has helped the pupils and other users of the solar lamps to study for longer hours and avoid health risks related to kerosene lamps.

The coffee farmers in our Kaffee-Kooperative.de partnership now benefit from access to an international market, nurtured the culture of producing international quality and have achieved competitive prices.

Video: Fairtrade coffee from Rwanda

In implementing the projects, there were three major challenges:

  1. The behavioral change: The buyers of the energy efficient cook stoves take enormous resource investment in training in order to support them to transition from traditional cooking means.
  2. The cultural clash: Facilitating international partnership development comes with cultural clashes on various topics e.g. time management, communication formalities etc.
  3. Resource mobilization: It is still difficult for the small energy start-ups to mobilize the required upfront investment that can enable them to scale up their operations.

What are you planning for the future?

Allan Mubiru: My plan is to continue working on the above undertakings and new climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives as well as those that promote sustainability in trade practices.

See Allan Mubiru’s profile in the Community

October 2016

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