solar lighting project

About the project

Goal: To provide increased safety and allow for extended business hours in the community by designing and building solar street lights

  • Electricity grid is unreliable and has periodic outages
  • Approximately 300 solar lights proposed over 4 phases
  • Solar lights will light up the business center, health clinics, and paths to schools
the location: Kikholo, Uganda

Kikholo, Uganda is found in the Budada district of eastern Uganda which has a population of 210,173. Kikholo itself has a daytime population of 2,000 people, and most go back to their villages at night. It has no running water, but a small, polluted river that runs through it. There are three schools in close proximity to the community, along with two medical clinics, and most business involves the selling of basic foods and ingredients.


In Fall 2018, John Wanda reached out to Mines Without Borders to partner with the NGO he co-founded, Arlington Academy of Hope, and his home community, Bumwalukani, to embark on several engineering projects that aim to improve the quality of life for community members. The first project was to implement solar street lights in the marketplace and surrounding areas of Kikholo.

  • With an electricity grid that is unreliable and sees frequent outages, design and install solar-powered street lights
  • Increase general safety with a better-lit community
  • Increase productivity with extended business hours into the evening
Skills Gained / Broader Takeaways
  • Technical exposure to product design
  • Adapting to changing working conditions
  • Working and communicating with a foreign community
  • Perform project administrative work
  • Fundraising and financial experience
  • Learning how to design a project that meets community needs and location

What we’re currently doing

¬†Right now, we are working on becoming an official Engineers Without Borders project. Due to COVID-19, we aren’t able to travel, so support from EWB with remote implementation is crucial. We are currently developing a plan for this remote implementation which can be easily followed by the team already in Uganda. Lastly, we are also working to gain additional funding for the project from grants, donors, and MWB fundraisers.¬†

looking forward

When completed, our hope is that the solar street lights will be installed around the stores in the business center and the surrounding areas, including the paths to the local school and local clinic. Our collaboration will not only provide lights that allows business owners to operate after sunset, but it will also give a sense of security to night-hour workers and early-morning students walking to school.

Project leads

Project Lead: Jordan Hurt (

Social Lead: Paul Slayback (

Technical Lead: Jackson Willner (