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/ )

NAPE RELEASES BASELINE REPORT FOR ITS EU SUPPORTED PROJECT

The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has released a baseline report on which interventions for its European Union supported project are hinged on.  The two-year project (2022-2023) runs under the codename, “Deepening grassroots women rights, participation and economic livelihood opportunities in the era of expanding oil and gas extraction and the Covid-19 pandemic in Uganda”; The case of Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa Districts https://www.greenradio.ug/downloads/?cp_306=2

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.

OIL REFINERY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION (ORRA) AND NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS (NAPE) BUILD EACH OTHER’S CAPACITY THROUGH PEER LEARNING

Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA) and National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) conducted capacity building trainings under the Women have wings/peer learning project. The project was an award recognising the excellent work of women; including young women and peacebuilders working on humanitarian issues to support peer learning among their organizations. The award was funded by the Women Peace Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) through an innovative partnership with and the generous support of Women Have Wings. The awardees were Miss Joan Akiiza (NAPE) & Miss Nyamahunge Milieus (ORRA) as Women leader activists for their contribution to gender equality, peace and/or crisis response with a focus on youth.

The project created a peer learning relationship that aimed at exchanging experience and knowledge as well as supporting and collaborating with the other CSO to help each other grow with new skills and experience to benefit institutional capacity. Through the peer learnings conducted NAPE & ORRA gained skills that include effective communications skills, networking skills, resources mobilization skills, social media content creation skills, Improved knowledge on mobilization of Persons with disabilities (PWDS), persons living with HIV and youth was acquired such as using religious leaders, radio announcements, public announcements, use of posters ,use of persuasive language in mobilizing the youth and targeting holiday times for some activities, Improved interaction with persons living with HIV and the use of Village Health teams as a mobilization strategy for this group of people was also acquired. The lessons learnt were applicable in the context of the CSOs work as community movements or organizations defending people’s rights amidst the oil & gas developments taking place within the Albertine region. The trainings brought along representatives of vulnerable persons such as PWDS, Persons living with HIV, youth, and women which was of an added advantage because participants were learning from persons who were speaking from experience.

There was improved community advocacy especially on how to organize an effective and goal oriented exchange learning visit, and how to carry out visibility social media campaigns, how to engage with the audience on social media among others. Conclusively individual capacity of the awardees and organizational capacity was built through the trainings conducted under the project.

STORY BY JOAN AKIIZA – PEER AWARDEE

NAPE TRAINS OIL REFINERY AFFECTED PEOPLE ON HOW TO EFFECTIVELY CONDUCT EXCHANGE VISITS TO ACQUIRE SKILLS AND SHARE EXPERIENCES ON ISSUES AFFECTING THEM

The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) with support from UNWOMEN, Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) in recognizing the contributions and promoting peer learning between CSOs working on Women, youth, peace and humanitarian issues conducted capacity building trainings with ORRA.

 The two-day training that involved the Oil refinery project affected persons under their association “Oil Refinery Residents Association”-ORRA conducted in Kyakaboga village, Buseruka subcounty in Hoima district aimed at equipping them with skills and knowledge on how to conduct exchange visits.

ORRA is a women led community-based organization which started in 2012 as a pressure group to protect the rights of the refinery project affected persons, especially women and youth, formed following a community outcry over 29 sq. Km of land that displaced 7,118 people from 13 villages in Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub county.

Joan Akiiza, the NAPE Legal Officer revealed that the training is intended to enable the Oil Refinery Residents Association-ORRA participants to acquire the necessary skills on how to conduct exchange learning visits and improve their visibility while conducting advocacy.

“This training by NAPE and particularly involving Oil Refinery Residents Association-ORRA is being conducted as a strategy of sharing knowledge, experiences, lessons and challenges about common issues affecting the communities” elaborates Akiiza.

While sharing the whole overview of the training, the group Chairperson Millius Nyamahunge said that the training is important for ORRA because it helps them to explain the achievements and successes achieved.

“The Association can now share their current life time experiences because the challenges they faced and the lessons they learnt can be shared practically after carrying out an exchange visit if they all have common problems or challenges” says Nyamahunge.

According to Innocent Tumwebaze, the ORRA vice chairperson and youth representative, such trainings are good to help in empowering the communities affected by such government projects because they can ably fight for their rights.

Meanwhile, Gard Andionzi, the Persons with disability representative in the association also said that the exercise helps the vulnerable groups to advocate for their rights since learning how to share their experiences can make them openly share what they have been subjected to.

Christopher Opio, the executive secretary of ORRA also said that the training by NAPE helps all the vulnerable groups including the Women, PWDs, and Persons living with HIV/AIDs and the youths to learn what issues and experiences they can share and how they can do it.

“The training also empowers us to use social media to communicate to our audience on the issues affecting us through use of platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and twitter”, said Opio.

Opio explained that the move to have trainings on sharing experiences, lessons and challenges is important to make them prosper wide and far due to the fact that they are a young association trying to thrive.

NAPE CALLS FOR UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF STUDENTS DETAINED FOR HOLDING A PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION IN SUPPORT OF THE RECENT EUROPEAN UNION RESOLUTION ON THE EAST AFRICAN CRUDE OIL PIPELINE (EACOP)

On Wednesday 5th October 2022, nine (9) students from various Universities in Uganda were remanded to Luzira prison over allegations that they participated in a demonstration in support of the recent European Union Parliament resolution seeking to delay the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) citing human rights and environmental abuse concerns.

NAPE is greatly concerned about the harsh manner in which the students were arrested by the police and the charge of “common nuisance” that was levelled against them before being remanded to Luzira prison. NAPE is convinced that the detention of these students is in contravention of the Ugandan Constitution which provides for freedom to assemble and demonstrate together with others under Article 29 (1) (d). NAPE calls for unconditional and immediate release of the students.  Click here for the full statement from NAPE.

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