Peruth Atukwatse, the program officer in charge of chemical management under National Association of Professional Environments (NAPE) has expressed deep concerned over poor emphasis on enforcing appropriate policies, laws and regulations in Uganda to help on guiding sound management of chemicals and chemicals wastes.
Speaking at a training workshop at Front page hotel in Kampala May 29, Atukwatse said laxity has presented key challenges to both government, the private sector, CSOs and the communities in general.
Atukwatse noted that dangers of chemical such as individuals developing health effects like headaches, skin rashes, eye irritations and cancer, endocrine disruption and birth defects are being experienced in Uganda amidst several policies in place.
She said chemicals can’t be avoided but there are best ways of using them when the population is not affected if well sensitized.
The meeting was aimed at launching a campaign of awareness rising on sound management of chemical and wastes by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) in conjunction with National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has launched a 2 year project aimed at promoting peaceful co-existence and preventing conflicts among the refugees and internally displaced people in Kyangwali Refugee camp, Kigyayo and Rwamutonga IDP camps in Kikuube district.
The project was launched in Kyangwali Refugee Resettlement Camp on June 2, where NAPE also opened a peace hub and also launched guidelines for Local Peace Committees that will help resolve conflicts and promote co-existence in the resettlement camp.
Joan Akiiza, the Project Officer and Legal Officer said the Local Peace Committees will facilitate dialogue, manage conflicts, and promote peaceful co-existences and strengthen social cohesion and resilience of local communities.
She explained that the peace hubs will be used to ensure that the conflicts among the refugees and internally displaced people are solved with the cooperation of local communities, leaders and other stake holders while sheltering victims of Gender based Violence.
“The peace hub is going to be a one stop centre for gender based a violence and natural resources conflict that includes land, clean water and firewood,” Akiiza said
Akiiza added that, “two more Peace hubs will be opened in Rwamutonga and Kijayo respectively and the Local Peace Committees that comprise of community members from these respective camps will help in resolving conflicts through dialogue and mediation,” she said during the launch.
Speaking at the launch, Frank Mulamuzi, the NAPE Executive Director said the project was established after realizing that people in the camps have failed to peacefully coexist and effectively use the natural resources due to differences in nationalities, tribes and norms and culture.
He said the project will help to resolve the conflicts through mediation with the use of local peace committees and local government leaders.
“In areas where there are Natural resources, government and other investors tend to mismanage the indigenous communities hence violation of human rights, displacements with less or no compensations, intimidations by security agencies and other forms of violations and as NAPE we are so much concerned,” said Mr. Muramuzi
He also expressed concern that girls and women are the most vulnerable and the project intends to increase the participation and decision-making of women in conflict prevention processes and responses.
“As NAPE we realised that women, girls and children are the most vulnerable so we have opened a peace hub here to handle all those issues for the betterment of everyone,” he explained.
Kebirungi Jolly, the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement Commandant under the Office of the Prime Minister said there have been conflicts over natural resources between host communities and refugees adding that the project is timely.
Kebirungi noted that Kyangwali settlement has several challenges connected to services offered to the refugees and the host communities and that the NAPE project on conflict prevention is relevant to the issues in the camp.
She added that it’s good that the project is 2 years a period in which the communities will be able to learn and acquire skills for sustainability of the project. She pledged support from the OPM office in ensuring the project objectives are met.
Peter Banura, the LCV chairperson for Kikube said the district is overwhelmed by conflicts over natural resources especially land and gender based violence. He said that it’s good the project is focusing on women who are vulnerable and marginalised in our societies because they also face challenges that range from rape to defilement among others.
He also stated “that Financial literacy should be emphasised to minimise conflicts that arise from mukopero’’ this is Money given to the refugees for upkeep and food from partners and agencies which has increased domestic violence in the camp.
The objective of the project is to increase meaningful participation and decision making of women in conflict prevention processes and responses.
Parents in Kayonza Sub County in Kassanda district have expressed concern over the increasing school drop out of children to tap into gold money in Kitumbi-Kayonza gold mining area.
The parents say drop out has been fuelled by the long holiday due to COVID-19 lockdown which has lured many children into trying gold mining as a lucrative venture of earning a living.
Samuel Mogen, a gold miner and a resident at Kayonza village says despite schools opening, children who are in mining are unbothered about reporting back which deprives them of their bright future.
Mogen explained that several meetings have been held to ensure children are chased away from gold mining area but just because leaders are reluctant, children continue to work in the mines.
However, Musa Nduga, the Kayonza Kitumbi Gold Miners Associations’ site supervisor says efforts to chase children from the mines have failed since these children make quick money.
He says they have introduced a new system of carrying out abrupt operations to chase children out of the mines, which too, has encountered resistance.
Clare Kamagara, the Kasanda District Environment Officer noted that district is not well facilitated to conduct operations and sensitizations in the mines to get children out of the mines.
She says though it’s illegal to use the children in the mines, it goes out of hand due to poor facilitation of the district leaders.
Peruth Atukwatse, the Project Officer for Sound Chemical Management Officer at National Association of Professional Environments (NAPE) explains that much as the local leaders have failed to act accordingly, more efforts will be doubled by NAPE through sensitizing communities and engaging leaders.
Listeners of Community Green radio through their listeners clubs have been argued to embrace environmental conservation and the need to preserve indigenous food species. The call was made by the chairperson of Butimba Sustainability Conservation Association, BUSUCA Reverend Fred Musiimenta during a learning tour by members of radio listeners’ clubs from Kiboga and Kyankwanzi organized by National Association of Professional Environmentalists in September this year.
“Many people consider planting Eucalyptus trees as conserving the environment yet they are equally dangerous since they cannot encourage agro forestry. Therefore it should start with us, let’s promote planting of indigenous trees and seeds for continuity and sustainable food supply,” he said.
The members from Kiboga and Kyankwanzi had gone to visit projects undertaken by BUSUCA with a view of replicating them in their communities. BUSUCA has projects in apiary, tree nursery beds and the indigenous seed bank.
Asuman Ssembatya of Nabidondolo listeners’ club in Kyankwanzi believes the lessons picked for Butimba are easy to replicate.
“We shall now focus on implementation. Our tour of this place has been of immense value and we are now going to act. The radio is now starting to be of great value than before”, narrated Mr. Ssembatya.
Ms. Janat Kengonzi of Lwamata Listeners’ club in Kiboga says the tour has inspired her to empower more women to engage in conservation and farming.
“I have seen women do it in Butimba, why not us?, I am going to work with my fellow women to ensure that we do what these people are doing”, she explained .
Community Green Radio works with listeners through the radio listeners clubs to work on different projects of their choice and interest through to cause positive change. The radio offers a platform for rural communities to share experiences and knowledge on how to run sustainable projects that promote environmental conservations.
Community Green Radio celebrated this year’s World Environmental day by taking part in a cleaning exercise in Kiboga.
The exercise saw public places such as markets, town council headquarters, Taxi Park and different streets in the town cleaned.
On the same day, over 100 trees were planted as one way of conserving the environment.
The trees were planted at the district playground, district and town council headquarters, and others were planted along Hoima Kampala high way for beatification and environment conservations purposes.
The world environment day commemorations attracted other players like Rotary club, World Vision plus schools.
Julius kyamanywa the station manager community green radio explained that NAPE being an environmental organization it can’t sit back and watch as the world is marking the environmental day.
He said taking part in the celebrations is part of Nape’s core mandate and responsibility.
“We are the environment and it’s our mandate to protect it.
Kiboga town council LC III Chairperson Hajji Suleiman Ssekiwunga thanked the organizations for the cleaning and tree planting exercises. He hailed Community Green Radio for the mobilization work that he said made the day a success.
“Community Green radio gave us a talk show and presenters kept mentioning this day. We are really blessed to have you”, Hajji Ssekiwunga explained.
He appealed for more organization operating in Kiboga district to come out and give support towards having the town clean.