Members of Community Green Radio listener’s clubs in Bunyoro oil-rich districts have been urged to lead by example in raising their voices against human rights violations by government and oil-companies as they intensify oil developments in the region.
During their visit to learn how sustainability school and radio listeners clubs work in promoting the rights of communities in Bunyoro region, Malcom Mpamizo from Civic Source Africa and the Greg Regagnon from Wellspring, who are also friends to National Association of Professional Environmentalists, said communities have a right to prior and fair compensation, prior informed consent and right to a clean and health environment.
During their visit to Kigaaga listeners’ club in Buseruka Sub County Hoima district and Butimba sustainability school in Kikuube district, Greg said the members need to work as a team and stay strong in engaging and challenging government on human rights violations.
“These oil companies do not have the right to profit from communities’ human rights violations. You have a right to say no and you should not bow to poor compensation,” Greg noted
His comments followed concerns that were raised by members of poor and delayed compensation to residents affected by pipeline and road projects in the districts.
“We have challenges as a result of oil developments but as empowered members of community, we are mobilizing others to ensure that these issues are solved. We have already prepared our petition on poor compensation on road project and it awaiting hand over to our member of parliament,” Rev. Fred Musimenta, a chairperson of Butimba sustainability Conservation Association noted.
Musimenta said NAPE has greatly empowered them to stand up and fight against injustices, resist land grabbers and lead the environmental protection campaign and restoring indigenous seeds.
“Before NAPE came, we could not stand up and oppose any government leader. But they have trained us to act; it has been so good to us. Now we are on the campaign against Bugoma forest giveaway to sugarcane growers, promoting indigenous seeds and fighting against human rights violations by oil companies,” he said.
Greg commended NAPE for supporting communities and urged it to continue advocating for the rights of communities.
Kigaaga sustainability school has stepped up efforts to plant indigenous trees to conserve the environment and ensure sustainable agriculture ahead of oil boom.
Joram Basiima, one of the Community Educators says Kigaaga village- which is adjacent to the future oil refinery and Hoima International airport in oil-rich Hoima district- has been massively affected by high rate of deforestation as a result of oil developments and influx of displaced people in area.
He says the school also known as Kigaaga Oil Refinery Women Development Association (KORECWODA) has partnered with SBC- a company that is constructing the airport ,to distribute indigenous tree seedlings to communities and also monitor and supervise those who receive the seedlings so that they can be planted.
“Because we are known for planting and nurturing tree seedlings of indigenous seeds, we were selected by SBC to be in charge of distributing indigenous tree seeds, supervising those who receive them,” he says.
He explains that over 2,000 indigenous trees have so far been planted and distributed.
“So far 1842Musizi and 910 Musisa trees seedlings have already been distributed to community members,” he adds
Basiima who is also the chairperson of Kigaaga Community Radio listeners club says they are reinforcing lessons from the radio to ensure natural resource management by increasing forest cover and sustainable agriculture by planting indigenous trees which encourage agro-forestry.
“Community Green radio has also contributed a lot in creating awareness about environmental issues which has prompted communities to practice activities like tree planting,” he says
Peninah Ruhindi, the chairperson of KORECWODA says they have also started a campaign to plant trees along river lines and protected water sources.
“We are encouraging more people to plant trees as we lead by example. We have planted along Kanywabarogo river line and also on two protected springs,” she explains.
With support from National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), community members are raising indigenous tree seedlings to conserve the environment.