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
Members of Oil watch Africa, on September 7 2022, paid a courtesy visit to Community Green radio at the radio’s head offices in Kiboga District, central Uganda.
The team that visited the radio comprised of Mr. Joram Iuseb, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), Namibia, Ms. Thuli Makama, Oil Change International (OCI), Swaziland, Ms. Makoma Lekalakala, Earth life Africa, South Africa, Ms. OduduAbasi Asuquo, Oilwatch Africa, Nigeria, Mrs. Salome Nduta, Coordinator Oilwatch Africa, Kenya and Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nigeria.
They appreciated the radio’s work in promoting and supporting communities from the oil and gas region in Uganda to protect their environment, land and human rights against oil, gas and other related projects abuses.
“we are delighted to see the work the radio is doing to conserve nature and we encourage you to continue with the job,” said Mr. Nnimmo Bassey who led the team.
They also visited other organizations working on environmental conservation and those fighting to protect mother nature.
On 16th September 2022, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) held its Annual General Meeting at Community Green Radio Kiboga offices to reflect on performance for the previous years and plan for the coming years.
The meeting was attended by members of general assembly, Board members, and communities working at grassroots, NAPE secretariat and Community Green Radio staff.
Before the meeting, the team held a field visit to a group of women supported by NAPE in millet value addition. Kamu Kamu women’s group in Kasomoro village in Kyabigambire Sub County Hoima district that is currently packing millet was supported with trainings in millet value addition and given a millet milling machine.
Ephraim Lemmy Nuwagaba, the NAPE Board chairperson hailed NAPE for its sustained efforts in lobby and advocacy and impacting change at the grassroots level.
He said NAPE’s presence on ground is felt and the strategic decision to work with community groups bearing results as many empowered groups have been formed and income generating and environmentally friendly projects.
Frank Muramuzi, the NAPE Executive Director said the organization works hand in hand with government to ensure that the environment is conserved and human rights observed. Some of the NAPE community members appreciated NAPE for amplifying their voices in realizing their rights.
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.
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 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.
Journalists from the Albertine region under their umbrella Albertine Journalists’ Platform (AJOP) together with Community Green Radio listeners’ club members from the areas affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project have been equipped with basic skills in community Journalism.
Albertine Journalists’ Platform (AJOP), formed under the auspice and guardianship of the Sustainability school project, brings together all journalists from different media houses in the Oil region with an aim of imparting knowledge and skills to enhance their capacity to report on issues that affect the communities they serve.
The training that took place at ATKON hotel in Kiboga town council in May this year attracted journalists from media houses from the districts of Hoima, Kakumiro, Kibaale, Kiboga, Buliisa and Kyankwanzi. It also attracted Community Green Radio listeners’ representatives and the Project affected persons from Luanda, Kibiga sub-county in Kiboga distrct and areas of Nabidondolo, Gayaza all in Kyankwanzi district.
The training that dwelled on imparting knowledge on the issues that need coverage in the community and building the capacity of the journalists was facilitated by Prof. Adolf Mbainefrom Makerere Universitydepartment of mass Communication. Prof. Mbaine called upon the Journalists and Community members to embrace the skills enhancement for the wellbeing of the communities.
“The purpose of imparting the basic community reporting skills is to enable the journalists and the community reporters to enhance your skills in reporting about the vast issues affecting the community” Prof. Mbaine elaborated.
Prof. Mbaine said that most journalists have not taken keen interest in acquiring basic skills that enable them to multi-task yet Journalism is a very sensitive profession that is affected whenever the economy and other factors change.
Julius Kyamanywa, the station manager -Community Green Radio station said that the aim of convening the Journalists under the Albertine Journalists’ platform is meant to create avenue for reviewing how different media houses carry on their profession given the acquired skills.
“The platform creates an avenue through which journalists from the different media houses can come together and share knowledge on professionalisms based on different issues that affect the community” said Kyamanywa.
Meanwhile the Community Green Radio listeners’ clubs members from Kiboga and Kyankwanzi also revealed that being involved in a capacity building meeting with professions like Journalists exposes them to sharing ideas that help them improve their livelihood, conserve the environment better and other key areas of life.
Asuman Ssembatya, the chairperson for Bwakedde Butya listeners’ club in Nabidondolo parish-Kyankwanzi district also expressed gratitude for being considered as important community members by NAPE under the sustainability school project.
Allan Kalangi, the Sustainability school project manager revealed that the all avenues have been created for the Journalists and the community members to learn more about what is required of them to practice good journalism but they should embrace the skills to move to a greater level.
National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has been hailed for creating mechanisms to solve conflicts between refugees and host communities in Kyangwali refugee resettlement camp in Kikuube district.
Jolly Kebirungi, the Refugee Desk Officer that coordinates Kyangwali and Kiryadongo refugee camps with the district officers, says the influx of refugees has continuously put pressure on existing natural resources and services, sparking conflicts between the refugees and the host communities.
“The 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 services,” says Kebirugi.
Kebirungi, however, notes that the formation of Local Peace Committees and building the capacity of its members has played a big role in bringing both the host communities and refugees to solve conflicts through dialogue and mediation.
“When they sit together, the host communities appreciate that the refugees need to be accommodated and the issues are mediated; not only with the host communities but also conflict arising from the refugees himself,”Kebirugi said.
She also appreciated the involvement of women in peace building since they are the most affected by the conflicts.
“Women involvement in peace building is helping to build women’s confidence in mediating and also reporting the cases,” she added.
Nelson Atich, the Bugambe sub county speaker in Kikuube district also noted that the Local Peace Committee in Rwamutonga has helped communities report the cases at no cost.
“When one reports a case at the LC1, they charge you some fee for committee members and it’s always bribery at play. So many people end up abandoning cases due to lack of money. However, with the LPC, people are getting their cases resolved at no cost,” Atich says.
The local area leader for Kijayo village that hosts Kijayo IDP, Edward Tumusiime, says the LPC has engaged Hoima Sugar company leaders in dialogue over pollution of water and poor roads and they are positively responding to their challenges.
The government of Uganda has handed over 127 land titles to persons affected by the Oil refinery project in Hoima district western Uganda. These are part of the 133 titles that are supposed to be issued to the oil refinery project affected persons-PAPs.
In 2012 the government of Uganda acquired 29 square kilometres of land for the construction of the Oil refinery in 13 villages in Kabaale parish in Buseruka sub-county in Hoima District western Uganda. More than 7,000 people were displaced and some of them resettled to Kyakaboga village in Buseruka sub-county where the government acquired 533 acres of land and constructed permanent houses.
However, since then, the project-affected persons -PAPs have been demanding their land titles in vain despite the government committing itself that the titles would be issued before they are resettled.
The titles were on May 19 given to the Oil Refinery Project Affected Persons-PAPs in Kyakaboga village in Buseruka sub-county by Peter Lokeris, the State Minister for Energy and Mineral Development.
Lokeris said the processed titles are a guarantee to the PAPs to genuinely own their land without interference. He added that the handover of the titles is yet another key achievement made in the implementation of the Refinery Resettlement Action Plan- RAP.
The minister cautioned the beneficiaries to take the titles very crucial and warned them from the sale of their land.
Innocent Tumebwaze, the chairperson of Kyakaboga sustainability school under National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) attributed their activism to pursue the land titles to empowerment and amplification of their voices from NAPE.
“Some of us who were actively following up the issue of land titles have been the target of persecution from government. They always wanted to intimidate and silence us but NAPE kept amplifying our voices through the radio and video documentaries and empowering us through trainings,” said Tumwebaze.
He, however, noted that there are still irregularities where some PAPs did not get the land titles because they did not sign the transfer forms while others got titles for only the house but not their entire land. He said they will continue to push for it.
Grace Gipatho one of the project-affected persons said her title will give a big boost to the protection of her land.
“We ran away from conflicts in Democratic Republic of Congo so we need sanity and peaceful co-existence here in a refugee camp,” said Maria Godance, the Vice chairperson of Local Peace Committee in Kyangwali Refugee camp in Kikuube district after resolving a land conflict case.
The case was reported by Maombe Esther a 26 year old mother of three who claimed that her small plot of land given to her by the Office of the Prime Minister was grabbed by her neighbor, Wimana Thereza. The long standing feud between the two parties began in 2017, when Maombe was hospitalized at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital for three months. Upon her return, she found when Wiman was already cultivating her land.
However, Maombe’s efforts to seek assistance from their local leaders at Refugee Welfare Council One (RWC1) yielded no results as the leaders constantly demanded her money to solve her case which she did not have. The conflict was resolved and the two reunited in April this year after the intervention of the Local Peace Committee established by National Association of professional Environmentalists (NAPE).
According to Maria Godance, the trauma of violence, loss and displacement that was experienced by the refugees back in their countries was felt by many and people’s needs in the camp make them easily irritated.
The case that was resolved is among over 50 cases that have been reported to LPC members; some of which have been resolved, others referred while others pending hearing.
According to the Local Peace Committee members, most conflicts are related to poverty, fetching water at water points, inadequate land for cultivation and domestic violence which are affecting women and girls.
Fredrick Buankela, one of the Committee member says Local Peace Committees is one of the mechanisms where such conflicts and tension in the camp are resolved.
The LPC consists of men and women who serve as mediators and spread messages of peaceful co-existence and use of non-violent conflict solving.
“Back home, before the war, life between men and women was better, our husbands had money and could take care of families. After we lost everything, things became difficult in the families. Through the local peace committees, men and women learn about forgiveness and being patient,” said Buankela while counselling couples who had reported a case of domestic violence.
Nyegenya Vincent, the NAPE’s Kyangwali Peace Hub focal person says Local peace committee also works with police in handling cases that go beyond the structure of local peace committees.
He also notes that peace-building work needs to ensure that refugees can live in dignity and look beyond merely serving the next day and for this case income generating activities such as knitting are part of the project.
“Women are engaged in knitting and basketry so that they can get income and reduce the conflicts,” says Nyegenya.