COMMUNITY GREEN RADIO/ RADIO KIBOGA GETS APPROVAL FROM UGANDA COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Radio Kiboga limited which hosts Community Green Radio is on the released list of fully licensed radio stations allowed to broadcast by the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission.

In June this year, government ordered all radios to re-apply for licences in order to enable government roll new licences.

The UCC was established under section 4 of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013 with the goal of developing a modern communications sector in Uganda including radios.

The list of radios was released on 20th November (check 175 on the list https://www.ucc.co.ug/list-of-approved-radio-broadcasters/ )

COMMUNITY GREEN RADIO GETS FACELIFT

The Community Green Radio (CGR) based in Kiboga Town has received an all-round facelift aimed at boosting its corporate image and providing a conducive atmosphere for staff to work in and the listeners who are always hosted at the radio.

The CGR was started in 2014 largely with support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation but it was only in 2019 when it managed to get its own home in Kiboga in western side of Uganda. For infrastructure development, the CGR relies on donations from different entities and locally generated revenue.

For this current development, that involves painting the office block and furnishing it, the radio has received support from a NAPE project that is being supported by the European Union (EU). The project aimed at fighting gender-based violence and other human rights abuses is already using the CGR for community mobilization and sensitization.

Mr. Rajab Bwengye the coordinator of the EU Project at NAPE said, “The Community Green Radio is very important for this project. It is helping us to create safe space for victims of gender-based violence to converge and share their experience and then use its airwaves to highlight the problem and seek for solutions”

Allan Kalangi, the NAPE officer in charge of the Community Green Radio welcomed the support. He said that the CGR is committed to being a development partner of the grassroots communities in the region and acting as their mouthpiece in their quest for realization of social and economic justice.

NAPE INITIATES MEDIATION WITH HOIMA SUGAR LIMITED THAT GIVES HOPE TO KIGYAYO EVICTED RESIDENTS IN KIKUUBE DISTRICT

Evicted residents living in Kigyayo camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and Hoima Sugar Limited, a sugar company in Kiziranfumbi Sub County have started the process of resolving the long stand conflict caused by human rights abuses and infringement of the rights to a healthy environment by the company.

This was reached at in a dialogue meeting between the company and effected residents that was organized by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and Kikuube district leaders at the district headquarters on November 11th.

Over 300 families that were evicted by Hoima Sugar limited to pave way for sugarcane growing in 2014 accused the company of allegedly contaminating the water sources, causing air pollution and destroying access roads in their area.

In a meeting, the evicted residents led by Steven Buryahika said they have been treated to inhumane conditions from the time they were evicted from their land in 2015 up to now.

“The water sources have been turned into dumping sites for sugar molasses and bagasse which have percolated into wells and the streams destroying the water. The water has turned black and smells making it unsafe for use. Even communities living near the dumping sites have also been affected by toxic bagasse dust,” said Buryahika during the meeting.

The area village chairperson, Edward Tumusiime said the molasses have also affected the community roads and the residents have no option but to pass through sugarcane plantations which has exposed women and teenage girls to defilement and rape.

“There company sugar workers are engaged in acts of rape, defilement and knocking our people with company cars because they use risky roads that go through the sugarcane plantation,” Tumusiime said

In a meeting, the Company Agro-manager, Rethinasamy Venket pledged that the company would fund the establishment of a police post in Kiswaza Trading centre to handle lawlessness among the workers and the community and also open up a company liaison’s office to strengthen the collaboration.

On rehabilitation of community roads, water sources and solving solution, Venket said the company will hold talks with the local leaders to address them. To this, a four-member committee consisting of the village chairperson, LC111 chairperson, Woman councillor and the District Natural Resources Officer was selected to start the talks with the sugar company and will give a report in two weeks’ time.

Peter Banura, the district Chairperson said the land that was taken was fertile and a food basket and people who lost it need to be heard and empowered to support the company than harassing them. He said dialogue was long overdue urging the company to stick to its commitments.

Joan Akiiza, the NAPE lawyer said the long standing conflict needs to be solved amicably to ensure that the company runs the business without destroying the natural resources and infringing on human rights.

POVERTY AND LACK OF ENOUGH RESOURCES SPARKING DOMESTIC AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN KYANGWALI REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT CAMP

Poverty and lack of enough resources are largely contributing to gender-based violence cases which are largely affecting women and children in Kyangwali Refugee Resettlement camp in Kikuube district.

Jolly Kebirungi, the Refugee Desk Officer that coordinates Kyangwali refugee camp, says the influx of refugees has continuously put pressure on existing natural resources and services, sparking conflicts between the refugees and the host communities.

According to Kebirungi, refugees have increased from 35,000 in 2017 to over 350,000 currently and when they come they are integrated in the host communities leading to competition over resources like land, water and firewood and services like health.

This is witnessed at Kyangwali Local Peace Hub that was put up by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).

According to Alex Kutosi, the Hub Focal Person, the hub has received 18 cases most of which are domestic violence cases in October alone.

He says due to increasing number of refugees, the land given out to refugees is not enough for settlement and growing food and most of the refugees have no other source of livelihood apart from depending on relief aid.

He says as a result, the couples end up fighting with women and children suffering most.

He, however, notes that the hub is helping to resolve the conflicts through mediation and encouraging peaceful co-existence.

Joan Akiiza, the NAPE Senior Gender and Legal Advocacy Officer says the peace hub was put up and a two year project to resolve cases through mediation and dialogue and over 100 cases have so far been registered and solved while others that of capital in nature have been

NAPE CALLS FOR STRICT MEASURES ON LEAD PAINT AS THE INTERNATIONAL LEAD POISONING PREVENTION WEEK OF ACTION IS CELEBRATED

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) is joining the rest of the world to celebrate the 10th International Lead Poisoning Prevention week (ILPPW) that runs from 23rd to 29th October with a call for prevention of citizens against lead poisoning and exposure through passing stringent laws on lead.

This year’s theme is ‘Say no to lead poisoning’ with countries encouraged to take action to prevent lead exposure particularly in children.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1 million people die from lead poisoning whereas millions, many of them children, are exposed to low levels of lead causing lifelong health problems.

To this, NAPE says while many countries have long-established bans on lead paint, no such restriction exists in Uganda.

This is based on a study done in 2017 where NAPE with support from IPEN carried out on lead in solvent based paints for home use in Uganda. The study was aimed at assessing the levels of lead in solvent based paints sold on the Ugandan markets. It was found out that 20 out of 30 analyzed solvent-based paints for home use (67 percent of paints) were lead paints. This means that they contained lead concentrations above 90 parts per million (ppm, dry weight of paint).

Peruth Atukwatse, the Chemicals and Climate Change Officer at NAPE says government and its relevant implementing agencies should move faster to develop laws and regulations that either ban or restrict the use or importation of lead paint pigments.

Zainabu Nakandi, the Senior Environmental Officer for Kiboga District says National Environmental Management Act 2019 talks about management of products containing toxic materials but they need to work with other agencies like Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).

“There is no clear law that governs manufacture, sale and use of lead containing products but we are working with UNBS to ensure that before paint is advertised by the manufacturers, they first measure the lead content to ensure that it’s not beyond the required standards,” Nakandi said.

She, however, encourages the public to be curious to know the amount of lead the products they buy before they purchase.

She also calls for massive tree planting to help in absorption of carbon emissions.

“As the population increases, we need to lay a strategy of planting a tree per the child we produce. This can also help to increase the vegetation cover to work as carbon sinks,” Nakandi added. She said this during a radio talk at the NAPE community Green Radio that was organised to raise awareness on lead poisoning.

Atukwatse says NAPE will continue playing their part of sensitizing the masses especially through the media on the dangers of Lead paint and to engage government to draft an appropriate law and regulation for lead paint.

KIKUUBE DISTRICT LEADERS CALL FOR URGENT REDRESS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES CAUSED BY HOIMA SUGAR LIMITED

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) organised a community dialogue between Hoima sugar limited and evicted residents of Kigyayo camp for Internally Displaced People in Kikuube district leaders.

The meeting aimed at addressing the social and environmental concerns of Kigyayo community mated to them by Hoima sugar limited and create peaceful co-existence.

During a dialogue between Hoima Sugar Ltd, Kikuube district local government leaders and the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), the Muziranduuru Village Chairman, Mr Edward Tumusiime, said that since this year began several cases of defilement and rape committed by Hoima sugar workers have been reported but following them up is hard because culprits are hard to identify and trace.

“Since January this year, I have registered three defilement cases and one of rape. But when we report to police, they tell us that when we see the culprit we report but this is hard. The women and girls are waylaid from the sugarcane plantations in wee hours and since most of the workers are strangers, the victims can’t easily identify them. Our women and girls need protection from these ruthless people,” he said.

Florence Buga, 56 said her daughter in-law was raped while on her way home through the sugarcane plantation by suspected sugarcane workers in 2021 but the case has failed to proceed to court due to lack of money.

“My daughter in-law came back bleeding and weak and she told she has been raped. I went to court but it has not helped me much because I failed to trace the culprits. But Hoima sugar employers are not helping us to save our women and children,” Teary Buga told the leaders during the dialogue.

John Kyosimire 46 said his two daughters disappeared and highly suspects that they were taken by Hoima Sugar workers. He said he reported the matter but nothing has been done.

“My two daughters disappeared a year ago. One came back last month with a child while another is still missing. When I tried to call the person who purportedly took her, he threatened to bring her back dead if I keep following him. I don’t know what to do,” said Kyosimire during a dialogue.

Steven Buryahika, the representative of the evictees, says that the locals have suffered enough with lack of social amenities and blamed the government for abandoning them.

“The roads were spoilt by the sugarcane molasses dumped by Hoima sugar and the only access roads to the camp go through sugarcane cane plantations which make women and girls vulnerable to rape and defilement,” he said

He added, “The water sources have been contaminated with molasses and acid from the Hoima Sugar Limited Factory and it is not safe for home use. The government needs to provide us with safe water.”

Dorothy Ajwang, the Kikuube District Chief Administrative Officer says that she was shocked with the situation she found at the camp and that she did not expect citizens to live in such a situation.

She demanded a dialogue between the evictees and Hoima sugar LTD to get a way of helping the locals to ensure co-existence and promised that the district would get a way of helping the evictees with social amenities.

“I am shocked by the situation I found here. I am also disappointed that Hoima Sugar Limited is acting inhumanly towards the people they found here. Instead of advocating for peaceful co-existence, they are harassing them. We must have a leaders’ dialogue meeting with the proprietors of Hoima sugar limited to ensure that these issues are solved,” said Ajwang.

 The district chairperson, Peter Banura blamed the abuses mated on evicted residents to corruption tendencies by some district leaders. He said Hoima sugar workers listen to specific leaders at the districts who have been silenced by bribes from Hoima Sugar Limited to keep mute on issues affecting the local communities.

“We are having a challenge that the Hoima sugar employers have become unruly because they only listen to a click of leaders and disrespect others. That’s why they failed to show up in this dialogue meeting and just sent their Public Relations Officer,” Banura said.

Richard Basemera, the Assistant Public Relations Officer promised to submit the concerns of the local to the company management to have a way forward.

Joan Akiiza, Ms Joan Akiza, a NAPE Legal and Policy Officer said that the leaders were able to come on ground to interface with the affected communities to find a solution to the challenges and co-exist peacefully.

She said developments are good but they should benefit the host communities and is hopeful that the leaders will take action on the issues raised.

NAPE WELCOMES EU RESOLUTION ON EACOP

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has welcomed the European Union Resolution on East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

On 15th September, the EU parliament passed a resolution expressing concerns about numerous social and environmental risks posed by both Tilenga and EACOP oil and gas projects in Uganda and Tanzania.

The EU’s resolution called for a temporary halt of the projects for at least one year re-thinking the best option to address the concerns.

NAPE Executive Director, Frank Muramuzi says the government should study the issues raised by the EU and respect the voices of the citizens since the concerns raised affect their livelihoods if not addressed now and for future.

Muramuzi also called up the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to recall the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) issued to oil developers and ensure that the issues raised by the EU are enshrined in the revised permit.

Follow the link to get a full press statement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PICljqW7zsU&t=9s

Women-led advocacy drama educating local communities on environmental conservation in the Oil rich region of Uganda

Communities organised through Community Green Radio listeners clubs in Kigaaga village in Hoima district are using drama to address the extensive ecosystem degradation and increasing urbanization that is altering human relationship with nature.

The listeners are educating the masses by composing advocacy drama with messages encouraging communities to plant more trees and save the remaining forests to avert the impacts of climate change.

Kigaaga village is adjacent to Uganda’s proposed oil refinery land and the second international airport- Kabaale International Airport, that is currently under construction.

Joram Basiima, the chairperson of Kigaaga listeners club says the developments have led to flock of people to the area thus putting pressure on the available natural resources.

He explains that trees are being cut and land being divided into small portions due to increasing urbanizations.

“People have cut down trees and this place is being upgraded into urban set up and attracting many people,” said Joram.

Vastina Tumwebaze says club members are currently conveying their messages of environmental conservation through advocacy drama.

While meeting the radio staff Tuesday, the listeners’ club members said the drama attracts people who then learn through edutainment and put into action what they have learnt.

Adolf Mbaine, the Makerere university lecture who visited the listeners clubs said he was happy that the communities are actively participating in environmental conservation through edutainment.

He said they should use the radio to get more information on what is taking place in the country

Allan Kalangi, the overall manager for sustainability school asked the listeners clubs to encourage more members to join the club so that they can learn and listen together.

NAPE LAUNCHES COMMUNITY BASED SAFE SPACES TO HANDLE CASES OF GENDER BASED VIOLENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has launched 20 Community Based safe spaces to handle cases of gender-based violence and human rights abuses in Kiboga, Buliisa, Hoima and Kikuube districts.

The safe spaces will enable victims of gender based violence, human rights abuses facing stigma get psycho social support, counselling, referrals and legal information under community caretakers who were identified and trained by NAPE in conflict resolution, counselling, gender equality and peace building.

The safe spaces were on 21st July launched in Kiboga, the NAPE’s Community Green Radio which is the mouthpiece of NAPE’s work will also have a safe space for victims from Kiboga district.

While speaking at the function, Rajab Bwengye the coordinator of projects at NAPE said the idea of setting up safe spaces was as a result of increasing gender-based violence cases and human rights abuses as a result of COVID-19, oil extractives and food insecurity.

Frank Muramuzi, the NAPE executive director said the environment cannot be well protected if the community is unhealthy with high level of violence and food insecurity and called for concerted efforts to end violence.

The Deputy RDC for Kiboga, Mathius Lutwama called for other means of solving domestic issues other than fighting. He said women can find a way of handling their spouses without using violence and also men.

OIL REFINERY RESIDENTS IN HOIMA SHARE COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION EXPERIENCE WITH NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS (NAPE)

Oil refinery residents organized under Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA) in Hoima district, western Uganda have conducted a training to share their experiences on how to carry out community mobilization with National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).

The meeting held on 14th June, was attended by NAPE staff together with oil refinery affected residents in Hoima district. The training focused on youth, persons living with HIV, PWDs as the most vulnerable persons who are left out in the development processes thus escalating conflicts and discrimination.

ORRA has been at the forefront of the fight against conflicts and human rights violations caused by the oil refinery development since 2012. They have been pushing for fair compensation and improved standards of living after they were evicted from their land by government to pave way for oil refinery.

Ms.Abigaba Esther, the community mobilizer under ORRA says mobilizing communities to fight against government decisions that oppress them requires courage and team work by the community representatives for the voices to be amplified and heard. She noted that women are the majority in communities and they need to be involved and organized in groups to be able to support each other and be confident.

Ms. Abigaba notes that women groups, local leaders, religious leaders, village health teams and radio have become best channels through which the communities are mobilized.

“As leaders we were receiving threats from government but we did not bow to pressure. The government would come with predetermined decisions but we would stand on our feet and refuse. In the long run, this would motivate the communities we are representing,” said Ms.Abigaba.

Eric Tukamuhabwa, the chairperson of the elderly in Kigaaga village in Kabaale Sub County said the elderly and the people living with HIV/AIDS are still discriminated when it comes to community mobilization. He explained that they need to be brought on board through leaders of special interest groups who can easily talk to them and understand their needs.

Gad Ambrose, the Hoima district Chairperson for People Living with Disabilities said there is a need to fight against the barriers of people with disability in development such as discrimination and segregation to be able to fully involve them.

Joan Akiiza, the NAPE Legal Officer said the engagement was full of learning and sharing experiences which can be adopted to help NAPE as an organization to mobilize local communities and reduce conflicts.