In February and March 2017, two students from the University of Emden/Germany visited Lake Bunyonyi/Uganda to kick off their research to design the future solar ferry. Henrik Richter-Alten and Christian Arriens - who also both work on the Solar Boat Race Team of their university - spent a total of three weeks in Uganda to investigate the local conditions and look for potential suppliers for the solar ferry. While not all questions have been answered yet, their main conclusion is that the solar ferry can be built locally and makes economic sense. Of course they also brought home a lot of impressions from the country and the community living around the school!
Under the leadership of Denis Maniragabe, the "Lake Bunyonyi Community and Island Schools Association" was founded in January 2017. This was a prerequisite for the German authorities from the Ministry of Finance to accept the Islandschool Uganda e.V. as a charitable/non-profit association ("Gemeinnützigkeit") in Germany. From the setup, we have now two associations working hand in hand:
- Islandschool Uganda Association located in Boeblingen, Germany - this association will initiate donation activities and collect funds to build the solar ferry and help the Island school in other means
- Lake Bunyoni Community and Island School Associationlocated in Bwarma, Uganda - this association will be the main recipient of the funds collected by the Islandschool Association and will then also be responsible to run and maintain the solar ferry
Based on an older model, Henrik Richter-Alten - the student from the University of Emden in charge of the main design of the ferry - delivered a working prototype for the solar ferry. It currently runs on sunshine only and will mainly be used to promote the project at conferences, events, etc.
ISLANDSCHOOL UGANDA ASSOCIATION FOUNDED
As a institutionalized means to support the Lake Bunyonyi Secondary School in Uganda, current and former employees from Hewlett Packard (now Hewlett Packard Enterrpise and Hewlett Packard Inc.) held their first association meeting to found the Islandschool Uganda Association in Germany (there it is called “Inselschule Uganda e.V.”). With unanimous votes, the following positions where confirmed (details here):
- President: Gerfried Kroeger
- Vice President: Sabine Single
- Treasurer: Volker Jaksch
- Secretary: Cecile Giraud-Jacquet