Jun 21, 2021

March - June 2021 progress report and updates

Community Air Quality Champions training event
Community Air Quality Champions training event

Donor appreciation and past events.

The entire team at Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives (Autosafety - Uganda program) running the Kampala Clean Air drive is thankful and appreciative to all individuals and organizations who have contributed towards our project through this second quarter. 

This has so far been our best fundraising period yet especially through the March Little-by-Little and April Climate Action campaigns. Over $5,200 was raised thanks to GlobalGiving's matching events. 

The funds helped us order for a few more handheld air quality testers to be given to community leaders entrusted with sensitizing others; we got some office supplies to get started with in the new fiscal year, paid utility bills plus some facilitation for the local team and also extended our nonprofit work permit for another 5 years.

Renewing an NGO permit in Uganda is quite a complex and lengthy process especially for our kind that hasn’t received grant funding yet.

We sent thank you notes to donors but we are not certain if they were received by those who chose to give anonymously. We hope that through this report they will notice our appreciation of their generosity. Many thanks to everybody who contributed; it’s because of those sacrifices that we are staying afloat as week seek grants.

Since our only source of funding at the moment is through GlobalGiving while we seek grants; we still have challenges that limit our scaled community outreach and right now Uganda is going through a second wave of COVID - 19 surge that is worse than last year'. A total lockdown has been re-imposed in the country effective June 18.

So far in this quarter we have been able to make progress with the clean air project as follows:

  1. Through Partnership with a local organization named ACTogether and led by Makerere University's AirQo air quality monitoring project, we were able to train and equip 55 local Air Quality champions in Kawempe; one of the 5 divisions that Make Kampala City. It started with mass focus-group discussions in 3 different parishes within the division that involved over 400 residents among which the AQ champions were selected during the month of March 2021.These are continuing to collect and report data while training households within their respective parishes and zones on how to achieve and maintain clean air environments around them. It's a 6-month pilot that will be replicated in other divisions upon evaluating its impact.
  2. We held 3 mini training workshops with local vehicle mechanics on how to enhance tailpipe emission control; during the month of April and 3 more during the air quality awareness week from 3rd - 7th May 2021 that saw total of 27 mechanics having their skills improved towards sustainability. During these mechanic trainings, we introduce to them the idea of electro-mobility and many of them will be further trained on how to do electric vehicle (EV) conversions once we gain capacity to accomplish and showcase our EV conversion pilot project. Kampala Metropolitan has over 50,000 mechanics of whom over 85% lack capacity to carry out sustainable vehicle maintenance. Our target is to train and equip over 20,000 by end of this project.
  3. We partnered with and signed a memorandum of understanding with another local research organization named African Center for Clean Air; with which we are going to carry out further research on how heavy reliance on fossil fuels in transport and industry is affecting air quality in Uganda and Africa at large. Our policy engagements are to be done jointly with this organization. We are still formulating our first project together but most likely we can be able to effectively make use of the partnership once we have gained some reasonable funding in form of a small grant.

The Way forward

Our fiscal year 2021 – 2022 begins on 1 July 2021 and within the same month we planned a 3 to 5-day training session with at least 300 local mechanics on enhancing tail pipe emission control. We highly emphasize training these mechanics because road transport is Uganda’s leading driver of air pollution and to a large extent because of poor maintenance. Uganda imports over 50,000 vehicles annually of which over 80% are used imports, all powered by fossil fuels. They operate on an underdeveloped road network and maintained mostly by mechanics that never received any form of formal training in their lines of specialty. This significantly increases the rate of exhaust emissions as systems that are meant to counter emissions toxicity are easily compromised by mechanics without any knowledge on how to maintain system integrity or even a slight understanding of how these systems work.

The training sessions were meant to be physically community-based and so far, we registered 307 mechanics for the event but due to COVID – 19 restrictions we cannot hold any gatherings until restrictions are lifted. Essential service vehicles are still operating and highly polluting so we cannot wait for the pandemic to end before we can resume operations. We have opted to take the trainings online for the time being but the challenge is that even though many mechanics have access to smartphones they could use to attend the workshops, they need data access facilitation which overshoots our intended budget for the event. We anticipate about 120 mechanics to attend, most of those we registered do not have access to smartphones or computers and even for those that have need technical guidance on how to attend online meetings or classes. Two of our team members have been tasked to connect with them one by one at shorter walkable or cyclable distances while observing COVID – 19 standard operating procedure yet by Uganda’s ministry of health. The point here is to prepare them to attend the trainings online.

As for the general community air quality awareness raising, we won’t hold any activity in July because physical presence is key here. We would use television and radio but we cannot afford to pay for media air at the moment. Once we have run several activities and impact observed, we could earn free media air from local media houses.

We need to raise at least $10,000 - $15,000 between now and mid-July.

We appeal to past donors to continue giving us a hand.

This will help us meet the goal of training 300 mechanics, acquiring a portable exhaust gas analyzer to help us collect vehicle emission data that we need for our research paper publication at MDPI. We received a stationery 5-gas analyzer with a dynamometer as a donation from a well-wisher in Texas, USA; but due to resource constraints it hasn’t been shipped to Uganda yet and could take a few more months. We urgently need to start collecting emissions data. 

The Publication will help legitimize our approach towards reducing vehicular and other emissions associated with use of fossil fuels.

By the last quarter of 2021, we expect to have acquired our first grant because we are actively seeking for opportunities both locally and overseas. 

Our team of project supporters is not only through donations at GlobalGiving, some individuals and organizations are offering their expertise and time to help us manage and refine the project for near future impact. Some are giving both funds and time. 

Part of the overseas team can be seen here on gyghubhttps://www.gyghub.com/go/autosafety-uganda/kampalacleanair a Sweden-based network of volunteers.

Our basic website will also be upgraded soon to be displaying latest updates on activities.

We highly appreciate everybody who’s helping us transform our communities.

This report came in late due to unprecedented constraints but we are striving to improve on the overall functionality of our organization including project reporting.

With local mechanics during AQ awareness week 2021
With local mechanics during AQ awareness week 2021
Community AQ champions
Community AQ champions

Links:

Feb 5, 2021

September 2020 - January 2021 progress report

Amidst limited resources, the Kampala clean air drive project is still going on but at a minimal scale.

We have engaged more local partnerships that include one higher learning institution that offered us access to a number of their resources including a venue for community traning workshops that are prepared within its vicinity; in return to involving some of their students undergoing automotive technology training so we can build their technical capacity for maintenance and enhancement of emission control systems. The topic has never been part of their curriculum but now they are able to learn sustainability while in school.

The project has also gained interantional technical support from different countries including United Kingdom, USA, Sweden, India, Germany and many others from where different people are coming in to offer  valuable technical advise on how best to achieve project goals.

It is also being hosted on gyghub, a Sweden-based online platform hosting various projects that make community-driven impacts around the world. People from various parts of the world are able to directly contribute to these projects as volunteers in different disciplines. Our project donation link on the platform leads to our project page here at GlobalGiving.

Our website has also received some improtant updates that are worth checking out. Other related projects by Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives (WAI) under the Autosafety - Uganda program have been added too. And also the donation button has been linked to GlobalGiving platform so that any well-wishing site visitor can donate directly without having to first go throught the project discription page at GlobalGiving.

Our resources are still very limited yet we have a very long way to go. We did not perform well in the little-by-little campaign at GlobalGiving in September and during giving Tuesday on 2nd December. I suppose it was an issue of networking as some of our members were very engaged in other activities within the nonprofit that they could not connect with potential online donors in time.

We still haven't received any grant yet but actively seeking. As of now we are still depending on the generosity of our individual donors to stay afloat, and we see progress as communities are getting impacted. Local council 1 zones within the vicinity of our offices are already seeing project impact as many of them have learnt best practices that reduce air pollution and through the monitoring platforms and use of handheld air quality testors, we see improvements. We are able to reach fewer communities because available resources cannot allow us to go beyond as mobilization alone is hard without funding support.

We are looking forward to particpating again in the little-by-little fundraising accelerator this coming March to we can scale up on some activities as we seek our first grant.

Anyone with questions about Kampala Clean Air drive or related projects can contact the program team leader via michael@autosafety-ug.org or call/whatsapp +256 782 082 467 or check our website for more contact details.

All our supporters through GlobalGiving and other avenues are highly appreciated. They are helping us reshape our communities for the good of our health and our planet.

Links:

Sep 8, 2020

Last quarter of 2020 project activity preparations

One of the air quality detectors we acquired
One of the air quality detectors we acquired

Dear friends!

We hope that you are all well and safe amidst these most challenging times in the history of man.

We are incredibly thankful for you and all other donors that gave generously towards this project that we managed to raise a total of $1,226 during the June accelerator; and for GlobalGiving to give us an awesome opportunity to continue fundrasing on the platform even though we didnt meet the minimum $5,000 target. For a startup nonprofit fundraising the first time without many connections in its networks, that was great and it proved your love for all humanity and nature. Some of you went ahead and offered us invaluable advice to help improve project strategies. We were encouraged by your involvement.

The funds helped us secure rent for our simple office premises for another four(4) months including utilities starting August - December 2020 and we purchased two(2) low cost air quality detectors used while creating awareness on air pollution to the communities. .

We are making preparations to scale project activities for the last quarter of 2020 and great performance is expected which will yield positive impacts in the near future. Arrangements are already underway to partner with more local NGOs like the African Centre for Clean Air and Makerere university's AirQo project; plus government agencies like NEMA and KCCA for the effectiveness of the project. Since our project is taking a first of its kind technical approach to tackle air pollution in Uganda alot of resources are required but teaming up with other agencies will help us gain visibility and access more funding for sustainabilty.

However, while we work on the partnerships we are still very limited in terms of equipment and other resources to continue with the project throughout the year. In our region, it's always towards end of year that air pollution is intense and related illnesses increase. Through the forthcoming accelerator of this september, we need to raise funds to attain critical equipment like the exhaust gas analyzer, more pollution detectors and to meet other running costs so we can continue raising awareness and building capacity of communities to reduce air pollution for improved environmental and public health more especially for the children whose sickening rate is too high due to poor air quality around them. Due to restrictions put in place to slow down the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, some of our activities will have to be done through airing on radio stations and maybe television if capacity allows, then engage local technicians in fewer numbers at a time; which calls for more resouces. We are believing for a much better engagement in the forthcoming fundraising event.

Thank you for taking part to support our community-based change and we are looking forward to more of your support in any manner into the september accelerator. This time round, all donations upto $50 will be matched by GlobalGiving, adding more weight to your giving.

Stay well and safe,

Michael Wanyama.

Exec. Director.

Links:

 
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