As the photographer Robert Adams says, “our Universe is a sea of energy-free, clean energy. It is all out there waiting for us to set sail upon it,” Zziwa Yusuf, indeed set sail upon the sea of energy by coming up with Ebenezer Energy Saving Stoves Limited.
Ebenezer Saving Stoves Limited is a clean energy enterprise that manufactures, fabricates and supplies energy saving cook stoves. These are both domestic and commercial cook stoves that use volcanic rocks, aided by charcoal particles and connected to a complete solar system. Ebenezer also offers lighting solutions for home and commercial use, and supplies volcanic rocks to homes and educational institutions.
The enterprise has been in operation for 4 years employs and 25 people. But Ebenezer Saving Stoves started small, fabricating a few stoves from Mukono. Later, Zziwa and his team identified a bigger space for their sales office in Nakulabye and a workshop space in Kabojja, Kyengera town council.
“We were inspired to start this business because of the plight of women in rural areas that use firewood to cook. The health hazards suffered by these girls and women, and the need to reduce on destruction of forests, moved inspired us to start an enterprise that saves and conserves the environment,” Zziwa narrates.
Ebenezer contributes to environmental preservation by reducing the pressure on forests and thereby mitigating climate change. Its operations have also a social impact on the community through job and market creation. “We employ youth and relieve the young girls from domestic work such as colleting firewood and instead go to school. This also in turn reduces on a family’s fuel expenditure,” Zziwa explains.
In the past, access to finance was a challenge to the enterprise, given the high rates charged by the financial institutions, high collateral requirements and harsh recovery measures. Zziwa affirms that UGEFA has positively improved the status of their business by exposing them to a network of enterprises from different sectors and training them on producing exceptional business plans, marketing strategies and loan acquisition preparations.
In the next five years, Zziwa envisions Ebenezer Energy Saving Stoves Limited as a big brand in the energy sector, with highly skilled employees, and a fully mechanised workshop producing high quality products. “Our goal for the future is to have more than one million households in Uganda adopt the use of clean, efficient energy stoves and fuel by 2030,” he says.