The Kyangwali Refugee Settlement

Emergency response to deforestation: A project implemented by SolarSack, Caritas Denmark and Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI).

Scope: Emergency Response to the Deforestation Crisis of the Kyangwali Settlement​ in Uganda

The Kyangwali Refugee Settlement located in Western Uganda was established in the 1960s to accommodate Rwandan refugees. In the last few years the settlement has experienced a huge influx of refugees from the Congo which has put an enormous pressure on the delivery of basic services, such as access to clean water and sanitation. The influx has further increased the demand for wood fuel which is the primary source for cooking and boiling water. This has led to a higher deforestation rate and increased CO2 emissions.

The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals

The Solution

SolarSack combats both the challenge of safe water access and deforestation by providing beneficiaries with an alternative water purification method. SolarSack technology only requires the power of the sun to remove dangerous pathogens making water safe to drink without burning fossil fuels.

Each SolarSack supplied provides a year’s worth of clean water to the beneficiary. When substituting the use of wood fuel for boiling water, it saves the equivalent of cutting down two trees and 500 kg of CO2 emissions.

The project implementation has been guided by UNHCR and Oxfam who are the key stakeholders within water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the settlement.

The Impact of SolarSack so far

How we did it

In person training on product usage and safe water practices was given to SolarSack agents who passed on the information to the beneficiaries. The training and education empowers households to make informed decisions relating to safe water practices in the future, ensuring a long lasting impact.

"I save money and no longer spend money on drugs for my family"

"I save money and no longer spend money on drugs for my family"​

The team working for SolarSack engaged local community leaders in the settlement to create trust in the product within the community. Community leaders are a vital part of the SolarSack project infrastructure, informing it’s facilitation, distribution and continued support of communication between the beneficiaries and the SolarSack team. The high level of community involvement also ensures local ownership of the project, true to SolarSack’s user-centered approach.

The efficacy of the entire project’s implementation benefitted from synergies between the various projects and activities led by different NGOs in the settlement.The WASH community was instrumental in facilitating contact between the SolarSack team and local leaders helping us lay the initial foundations of trust. OXFAM’s work testing local water sources enabled the SolarSack team to streamline operations by prioritising distribution to the most at risk areas.

“I no longer buy medicine for my kids and l don’t spend much since I ever started using solar sack”​

SolarSack and its project partners have entered into a collaboration with CARE Denmark who has a mission to create the first sustainable refugee settlement in the world. CARE Denmark will collect used SolarSacks and upcycle them into useful products such as building materials. The SolarSacks in circulation will then become a part of the settlement’s circular economy rather than ending its life as waste.

The project has been monitored closely to ensure that impact objectives are met and potential challenges are addressed. User testing has informed the SolarSack implementation strategy as well as the product design. The team continues to collect data from the beneficiaries monitoring the progress of the project.

“I no longer buy medicine for my kids and l don’t spend much since I ever started using solar sack”​


Mathilde Thorup

Project Manager (SolarSack)

Mathilde has spearheaded the overall implementation of the Kyangwali project and has led the onsite monitoring and evaluation of the project. 

Benjamin Otengo

Project Manager (SolarSack)

Benjamin has assisted locally in the design of the project and supported the logistics.


Project Officer (CIDI)

Philip has led the day to day implementation of the project and has executed activities together with the SolarSack agents. 

Our project managers will email your personal project guide and a free SolarSack.

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