NAPE’S SUSTAINABILITY SCHOOL VILLAGES CLOSES 2021 WITH ADVOCACY DRAMA EXHIBITION

Every year, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) under Sustainability school program holds evaluation meeting with its sub grantees and Community Green Radio listeners clubs.

This year, the evaluation was held in Butimba village in Kikuube district in a learning exchange that was attended by sustainability school members from Hoima, Kikuube, Buliisa, Kiboga, Kalangala and Kyankwanzi districts in November.

The exchange was aimed at evaluating the activities undertaken by the sustainability schools, and sharing experiences and learning by members. It was mainly focusing on drama and food exhibition where the members showcased food they are growing to promote food sovereignty and conveyed their challenges through advocacy drama.

Rev. Fred Musimenta, the chairperson of Butimba Sustainability Conservation Association said the host communities are faced with violation of their rights related to no or poor compensation of their lost property to developments, high cost of living, environmental degradation and land grabbing which the communities need to fight against.

He said NAPE has played a big role in organizing communities into sustainability villages and strengthening them to stand up for their rights through capacity building and empowerment.

He said a lot needs to be done now that the challenges related to oil infrastructure development are surging and called on NAPE for continued support.

Kemigisha Sylvia, the chairperson of Kaiso Women’s Groupsaid the group uses advocacy drama to convey the challenges the women go through and how to overcome them.

She explains that through advocacy drama, they have been able to have their voices amplified by acting at public functions such as Independency day, women’s’ day and it has attracted government attention.

Kemigisha noted that the group has embarked on vegetable gardening after COVI-19, floods, poor fishing methods in addition to the effects of oil exploration affected fish catch leaving women with no other source of livelihood.

Joram Basiima, a member of Kigaaga Oil Refinery Women Development Association says the the group was formed in 2016 with support from NAPE. He said being near the oil refinery, they are the most affected by the developments.

 He explained that the oil companies and government are frustrating the host communities with unfair compensation, loss of livelihoods and difficulty in accessing land titles.

He said the group is using drama as a tool of expression since it has an emotional attachment in changing people’s life style.

They said whenever opportunity comes in to meet government officials and other stake holders at both district and national level, they do express their grievance, challenges, achievements and their requests through music dance and drama.

Kasirye Sam, from ROSA Luxemburg said he was happy that the groups that were formed 10 years back were vibrant and working towards promoting human rights and environmental conservation and that the groups were breading community leaders and activist.

He said though donors have been greatly affected by COVID-19 leading to reduced funds, ROSA commits to continued support for the groups and their activities. Allan Kalangi, the sustainability school manager the day’s evaluation was done through advocacy drama and exhibition as a way of sharing experience.

EACOP PAPs CONDEMN THE DISAPPOINTING AND DELAYED COMPENSATION PROCESS

Persons affected by the oil pipeline have condemned what they term as tiresome and delayed compensation process that has kept them waiting for long.

This was revealed during information sharing meeting on East African Crude Oil Pipeline(EACOP) held at ATKON hotel Kiboga on 25th November 2021 organized by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).

The people affected by the EACOP and Hoima-Kampala Refined Petroleum Products Pipeline  from districts of Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Kikuube and Hoima who attended the meeting said that the setback arose from disagreement between the property valuers and some of the PAPs who did not consent with the set rates hence being left out.

The PAPs from Rwanda in Kibiga Sub County Kiboga district said that the delayed compensation has left them with limited food because they were directed not to plant crops on the valued land yet if they had been compensated, they would have acquired land for cultivation.

Lucy Mbuubi, the secretary of Butimba sustainability Conservation Association (BUSUCA) in Kiziranfumbi sub county, Kikuube district, said that due to the delayed compensation, the residents have faced challenges with their spouses who cannot standthe poverty they go through.

Meanwhile, PAPs from Kyankwanzi testified to have faced information gap between them and the Government because the communities were not informed about the land surveying and valuation process which brought in inconsistencies.

“I feel the compensation money has been delayed because there were inconsistencies during valuing of the properties since other properties were having smaller rates and others higher and government is still assessing when to pay says Kyankwanzi PAP Avestina Twebaze.

Allan Kalangi the Sustainability School Manager revealed that the sole aim of meeting the various Project Affected persons was to find the progress of the pipeline and how the affected persons are being compensation and any other developments.

“Non-Governmental organizations like National Association of Professional Environmentalists -NAPE and Civic Response on Environment and Development (CRED) are working together to guide and empower the PAPs on all injustices like delayed compensation” Kalangi explains.

The EACOP project covers 10 Ugandan districts including Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Gomba, Mubende, Rakai, Kyotera, Lwengo and Sembabule involving 200 households and 3,792 PAPs on 2,740 hectares of land out of the 1443 Km square.

GRASSROOT WOMEN MOBILISE COLLECTIVE POWER TO DEMAND FOR LAND AND CLIMATE JUSTICE AS NAPE HOLDS A FEMINIST SCHOOL IN NORTHERN UGANDA

Rural women have called for climate justice and protection of land- which is central to their livelihood. This was during a feminist school for rural women in the Northern Uganda that was organized by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) between 14th and 18th November, last year.

According  to rural women, land rights for rural communities, specifically women, are being undermined by the recent wave of land rush by investors who are purchasing or leasing land for mining, monoculture or mega infrastructure development aimed at profit maximization.

MelaChaponda, an inspiring feminist from Zimbabwe joined a feminist school virtually said the development model based on capitalism has robbed rural communities of their livelihoods, their sustainable food systems and their climate justice.

She said there is need for women to challenge the oppressive religions, cultures and capitalistic systems that have degraded women and robbed them of their rights to natural resources and their livelihood.

“Women should ask themselves why they end up being treated as second class citizens yet both men and women used to depend on land and other natural resources happily with little gender variation; ask themselves how people ended up using culture, religion and globalization to manipulate and leave the women behind; and also ask themselves why women do much of work to sustain life like breastfeeding, producing food and cooking but the work is not appreciated. All these are happening because capitalism continues to dominate in the way people think and behave. The love for profit maximization which is fronted by men has led to exploitation of natural resources that women have lived on for ages hence degrading women,” MelaChaponda said.

She said women should say no to food systems that undermine sustainable traditional food sovereignty systems.

“Start rethinking of community based solutions to climate crisis and let communities know that climate crisis is real. Stop using pesticides, Genetically Modified Organisms are not solutions to climate change. Let us promote traditional seeds and ensure that the communities stick to that. Let’s take alternatives like agro ecology that does not destroy the ecosystem.  Let us not allow our food production systems be driven by capitalists needs but our own needs,” she said.

The women said it’s high time they challenged the systems that undermine their rights and mobilized to change the status quo and demanded for land and climate justice by building a collective power.

There is power in numbers to challenge what is happening. Let’s look at solutions not challenges,” Lilian Tamale, the Chief Executive Officer, CivSource Africa, a partner to NAPE.

They are demanding that strategies to address the systematic crises caused by extractive development models recognize the disproportionate burden on rural women and also need people-driven solutions and eco-feminist development alternatives.

“The government is doing nothing! A lot of nothing! When they were constructing Karuma dam, the government promised to build a good hospital as part of corporate social responsibility to communities but they just put a building with nothing in it and even people are suffering with electricity black outs. That’s why we need to mobilize a critical mass to fight these injustices,” said Connie Atoo from Lango

During the school, the women vowed to stand up and speak loudly about the injustices caused by capitalistic development models fronted by investors in mining, monoculture and mega infrastructure.

They vowed to form a collective power to fight for food sovereignty, eco-feminist development alternatives that ensure sustainability of natural resources, access to land, recognition of women’s roles and rights in agriculture and farmer’s control to indigenous food.

“We need to come together as one, our voices need to be heard and this can only be achieved through building a women’s movement. Let’s rethink of how the society has degraded our women and we work together to look for solutions ourselves,” said Harriet Apiyo, an activist from Northern Uganda.

SostineNamanya, a gender and food security officer from NAPE said the feminist school was aimed at creating an enabling environment for feminist engagement, strengthening women leadership and enhancing eco-feminist movement in Uganda.

The feminist school was organized by NAPE with support from CivFund

NAPE TRAINS WOMEN IN IDPs AND REFUGEE CAMPS ENTREPRENUERSHIP SKILLS TO ENHANCE SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS AND FIGHT AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

Angelic Mbisemenshe, a refugee living in Kyangwali refugee camp in Hoima district has often found herself frustrated with lack of suitable sustainable income generating activity for her livelihood.

For about 25 years she has lived in the camp, Mbisemenshe, a married woman with 4 children says she has largely depended on a monthly relief assistance from World Food Program (WFP) in form of food or cash to meet her basic food needs. However, she explains that the relief has always been not enough to cater for her family’s basic needs and this has always sparked conflicts on sharing the little relief received with her family.

She is among over 30 women from Kigyayo and RwamutongaInternally Displaced Camps and Kyangwali refugee camp in Kikuube district that have benefited from the ongoing entrepreneurship skills training organized by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).

Mbisemeshe is optimistic that learning skills will help her get an income generating activity rather than entirely depending on relief assistance and hand- outs from organizations and government.

“I am currently learning crocheting and I will start making bags and dresses for sell. As a refugee, I don’t have land for cultivation in the camp and my education background is limited. This means my opportunities to get income are limited. And this has led to over dependency on my husband and relief assistance sparking conflicts,” says Mbisemenshe.

Joan Akiiza, the head of the project to reduce conflicts in the camps says the women are being trained in beading and crocheting livelihood options as part of the broader NAPE’s program to reduce gender-based violence, increase household income and promoting self-reliance to protect women and children.

Akiiza says people who flee their homes to the camps often lose their livelihoods and this in addition to lack of resources in the camp like land for cultivation lead to conflicts.

She says the program is targeting women because they are the ones mostly affected by gender based violence and access to income generating activities will enable them to become self-sufficient and be able to meet basic needs without necessarily depending on any one.

The program that started with a two-days training in crocheting and beading in December will continue until the women are competent enough to become trainers of other women in the camps according to Akiiza.

She also says that they will be given materials as startups.

HOIMA COMMUNITIES CALL FOR MORE SUPPORT IN CONSERVATION OF KIHAGYA CULTURAL FOREST; A SACRED NATURAL SITE FOR ABAHAGYA CLAN

On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon characterized by scotching sun, fresh air, slightly cold breeze and singing birds, the members of Abahangya clan scattered under tree shades near Kihagya natural forest as they welcomed a team from National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and a visitor from African Biodiversity Network (ABN). One could tell that the communities were enjoying the natural beauty that they would want to conserve for their generations to come.

Located in Kakindo village in Kyabigambire Sub County Hoima district, Kihagya forest, is a sacred natural site for Abahagya clan members. It is about 100 meters away from the homesteads of Abahagya clan. The forest which is seated on about 3 acres of land is characterized by thick forest with overgrown trees; some of which have dried up, and thick shrubs.

However, the forest has been faced with increasing threats of destruction with people clearing land for cultivation, cutting down trees and fetching firewood which questions its future existence for future generations to benefit from its cultural and biodiversity importance.

Suluman Bahugana, who is the chief custodian of the natural site in his 90s says the forest is highly respected due to its cultural importance and they use cultural beliefs which were left by their forefathers to protect the forest. He attributes the massive encroachment to eroding away of traditional religion and culture by introduction of Christianity and lack of sensitization of the young generation.

During the meeting that was held on November 10, Bahugana called for more efforts from National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and partners to continue supporting the communities to save the remaining forest.

“The forest was a no-go zone for any other activities apart from cultural activities. “No one would go to this forest to collect firewood, dig, cut a tree or do any other activity because it was considered as a holy place.”

Perez Nyangabyaki says NAPE has helped in saving the forest that was once about five acres from further encroachment by fencing it. He says a lot needs to be done especially engaging the youth intergenerational learning for the youth to understand and appreciate its importance rooted on culture and using the forest for livelihood improvement by promoting beekeeping and adding value to the herbal medicine collected from the forest.

“People’s faith on indigenous taboos based on cultural and spiritual faith is being lost and the traditional conservation practice is weakening because the young generation is busy encroaching on the sacred natural sites because they are not sensitized,” said Nyangabyaki

He added, “I call upon NAPE to help us to facilitate intergeneration learning so that we the elder people can transfer the knowledge to the young generation and also show them that besides cutting down trees, they can still earn a living by adding value to the herbal medicine and other non-timber products like beekeeping.”

Addressing the communities, Ventor Mwongela, the ABN Communications and partnership officer said she was happy that the communities are determined protect the ecosystem due to its cultural and ecological importance. He said the elders are the custodians of indigenous knowledge and need to transfer it to young generations.

She said ABN will partner with NAPE to continue strengthening the community cultural governance systems so that the communities can protect their cultural heritage.

“I am happy that you are determined to conserve the biodiversity and you have both women, elderly and youth on board which promotes intergenerational learning. I have taken note of your needs ad ABN will continue partnering with NAPE to ensure that the ecosystem is conserved and knowledge is transferred to generations,” Mwongela said.

NAPE SUPPORTING SMALL HOLDER FARMERS TO PROMOTE TRADIONAL APPROACHES TO FOOD SECURITY

Though weather patterns have changed tremendously due to effects of climate change, planting seasons in Uganda are known to begin in March and August of every year respectively. Towards that time, farmers are busy preparing gardens and seeds for planting.

Women are mainly at the centre of seed selection for planting and preservation due to their primary responsibility of household food security. Traditionally, women were crucial to seed conservation efforts to keep their families endowed with food throughout the cycle.

Jesca Buteraba, a resident of Butimba village in Kikuube district says using her indigenous knowledge, she would know which seeds are suitable for the changing climatic conditions, nutritious and high-yielding; and which methods are best applied to protect the crops from weeds and how to control pests and diseases after harvesting.

Annet Kasolo says the elders would follow the weather patterns using the indigenous knowledge and would as well use traditional methods like mixing seeds with ash to protect them from pests and diseases and also use traditional granaries in conserving the seeds for the next planting season and to ensure food security. “The elders would tell the beginning of rainy season by the direction of wind and changes in plants,” she says.

Using the indigenous knowledge to solve food shortage has been the powerful means of sustaining household food security in rural areas; a role that was mainly played by women. With this knowledge that was shared from generations to generations, the indigenous varieties have played a very important role in securing households against food insecurity.

However, with the introduction of ‘high yielding’ varieties and use of chemicals, farmers have moved away from the practice of saving and exchanging seeds and resorted to buying from seed giants. Because of this, the diversity of indigenous seeds has been eroded and the farmers’ indigenous knowledge systems related to farming and seed saving has slowly been lost.

Through working in groups, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) is supporting small holder farmers to trace and share seeds that are facing extinct and planting for multiplication with the help of elders, mostly women, who are the custodians of seeds in communities.

During a visit to small holder farmers, NAPE and its partner from African Biodiversity Network, the farmers showcased indigenous varieties of cassava, millet, sweat potatoes, simsim, ground nuts and beans that they are trying to save from extinction.

Rev. Fred Musimenta of Butimba in Kikuube District says the groups are reviving the indigenous crop varieties using the indigenous knowledge and methods that have been neglected in ensuring food security and enhancing the resilience of communities in fighting climate change.

During the visit, Ventor Mwongela from African Biodiversity Network said she is happy that the groups use indigenous knowledge to improve food security. She said the power is in their hands to resist any development that brings destruction to food insecurity and pledged for support through NAPE.

AFRICAN BIODIVERSITY NETWORK (ABN) TO PARTNER WITH NAPE TO PROMOTE TRADITIONAL APPROACHES FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND FOOD SOVEREIGNITY

African Biodiversity Network (ABN) has pledged to partner with National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) to promote indigenous seed governance for improved livelihoods and food sovereignty and strengthen cultural governance systems to conserve the ecosystems.

This was after the ABN Communication, Partnership and Advocacy Coordinator, Venter Mwongela, visited Hoima and Kikuube districts to understand NAPE activities in communities in relation to seed sovereignty and biodiversity conservation on November 10.

The field visit was conducted in Kyabigambire Sub County in Hoima where the communities Kihagya cultural forest, a sacred natural site for Abahagya clan, using cultural governance systems, Butimba village in Kukuube district where the communities are promoting indigenous seeds for improved livelihoods and a community indigenous seed bank at Community Green Radio Kiboga.

During the visit in Kihagya, the chief custodian of Kihagya cultural forest, Suluman Bahugana said the forest is highly respected as a place of rich and diverse nature that has special significance to the communities and the environment.

He said it was believed that a calamity would hit one upon entering the forest illegally to collect firewood, fetch water and cut down trees. He noted that it would only be accessed by the custodian to get herbs for blessings and luck to his people or be accessed by someone with the permission from the custodian.

“As Abahagya clan, this forest is highly respected for its riches and blessings. I use herbs from this forest to give blessings and luck to my people. It also helped in protecting our families from domestic violence and break ups, we would bring our women here, bathe with water in this forest and they would never divorce or quarrel” he explained.

Perez Nyangabyaki, the Deputy custodian said they have for long protected the forest against destruction until recently when people, especially youths have encroached on it for agricultural activities, collecting firewood and cutting down trees. He called upon NAPE for continuous support in ensuring that the forest is restored and also in adding value to the herbal medicine from the forest.

“People’s faith in indigenous taboos based on cultural and spiritual faith is being lost and the traditional conservation practice is weakening and the young generation is busy encroaching on the sacred natural sites because they are not sensitized. I thank NAPE for having supported us to fence it and also call for more support.”

In Butimba, the small holder farmer groups that converged from Kigaaga and Kabaale villages in Hoima district and Butimba in Kikuube district showcased the indigenous seeds they are conserving with the use of seed multiplication gardens and traditional seed storage facilities. Some of the seeds that were showcased include local beans, maize, pumpkins, millet, peas and sorghum.

Jesca Buteraba, a member of Butimba Sustainability Conservation said however much government is putting much emphasis on imported seeds that are only accessed in markets, indigenous seeds still prove to be resilient and sustainable in promoting food security. She noted that it’s the reason why they are using traditional approaches of indigenous seed storage and multiplication to ensure that the seeds are protected.

Buteraba also notes that the indigenous seeds are deeply rooted in culture and that’s why they need to be protected from extinction.

“Sorghum is highly used among Bakiga in bonding relationships. When you visit someone’s home, they have to prepare porridge (Obushera) to welcome you. When a child is born, they prepare it too in form of celebration. So what happens when it disappears?” said Buteraba.

At Community Green Radio, Mwongela visited the community seed bank. Julius Kyamanywa, the station manager said the seeds are collected through community green radio and shared with listeners for multiplication.

Vinter Mwongela said she was happy with the work done by NAPE in promoting indigenous knowledge by local communities and strengthening their capacity to promote biodiversity conservation, ecosystem resilience and livelihood improvement.

Addressing the communities, Mwongela said local people are the knowledge hubs and know how the ecosystems can best be conserved and food systems protected. She said the power is in their hands to resist any development that brings destruction to ecosystem services and food insecurity but this can only be achieved when they speak one voice.

She said ABN is ready to support them through NAPE but urged them to stay stronger in resisting whatever is eroding away their rights.

Women standing up to save the ecosystems as expansion of extractive industries takes shape in the Albertine Rift

The rapid growth of extractive industry in Uganda’s Albertine graben is at the same time rapidly affecting the ecosystems and communities previously intact. The activities of oil companies have displaced the fertile farmlands and green vegetation making agriculture increasingly unviable to the host communities.

In Hoima’s Buseruka Sub County where oil refinery is set to be constructed, it is visibly seen that the community land, rivers and ecosystems are being despoiled by extractive activities at an alarming rate. The green vegetation and farmlands can never return to their original state as they have been covered up for construction of Kabale International Airport, expansion of roads and oil pipeline development.

But ranged against this is a network of small holder farmers who are raising against the destruction of natural environment. By reducing the amount of fertile land and destroying the ecosystems, they heavily depend on the favorable climate for agriculture, the host communities are already envisaging reduction of capacity for food production and denying them hope of food sovereignty; which they are resisting.

A few kilometers from the oil refinery area, women small holder farmers organized under Tugarre Ebyobuhangwa women’s group literally meaning ‘Lets save the environment’ have been battling with the leaders and oil companies over the massive destruction of indigenous trees as a result of oil activities.

They accuse the government of fronting the needs of oil companies at the expense of community needs.

“In 2017, our group petitioned Hoima district local government over massive destruction of our natural resources due to infrastructural development for the oil industry like roads. We demanded that government should replace the indigenous trees that have been cut down due to oil activities, protect the communities’ land by issuing land titles and also protect the buffer zones of water bodies,” said Annet Kasolo the group chairperson.

Kasolo says the petition has yielded results. “After the petition, the government is now distributing indigenous trees to farmers to promote agro ecology. So far, I have already received over 1000 indigenous tree species from Hoima district local government and SBC Company that is working on the airport. The government has also promised to issue land certificates and people are currently being evicted from the buffer zones near major streams in this area and swamps,” said Kasolo.

The women are working to raise awareness, share knowledge, and directly resist the destruction of the environment to steward the larger ecosystems on which agriculture depends.

In Kigaaga village, which is in the outskirts of the refinery area, women under Kigaaga Oil Refinery Women Development Association (KORECWODA) are engaged in establishment of indigenous tree nurseries to reforest the area currently destructed by oil developments.

Penina Ruhindi, the group chairperson says as she was growing up, she loved the way her area was forested with dense canopy and indigenous trees. However, as mining extractives take shape, the forests are disappearing and this has a great impact on small holder farmers.

“We decided to start establishing tree nursery beds of indigenous and fruit trees and distributing among members. We encourage boundary tree planting to protect our land from grabbers as we increase the forest cover,” she says.

“With the training from National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), the members are engaged in alternative livelihoods such as beekeeping to reduce their dependency on unsustainable forest practices,” Ruhindi adds.

According to the farmers, the continued forest destruction has contributed to change in seasons which is already affecting farmers. Jesca Buteraba, a member of Butimba Sustainability Conservation Association (BUSUCA) says the farmers are already affected by the long dry spells and heavy rain fall which has threatened food security. According to Buteraba indigenous seeds still prove to be resistant to climate change effects and promoting them would promote food security.

Women are generally the primary custodians of seed diversity and wild biodiversity and therefore play a critical role in maintaining the health and resilience of local ecosystems. She says they are using traditional approaches of indigenous seed storage and multiplication to ensure that the seeds are protected.

NAPE CALLS FOR TOTAL BAN ON LEAD PAINT AS THE WORLD MARKS THE INTERNATIONAL LEAD POISONING PREVENTION WEEK OF ACTION

Press Statement

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has joined the rest of the World to mark the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (24th-30th October) with a call on the Ugandan Government to impose a total ban on the use of lead paint.

This week of action is an initiative of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (the Lead Paint Alliance), which is jointly led by the UN Environment Programme and WHO.  

With this year’s theme, “Working together for a world without lead,” NAPE has partnered with local leaders to create awareness using Uganda Community Green Radio about the harmful effects of Lead poison and its exposure pathways including paints, batteries, lead contaminated toys and lead contaminated dust.

Peruth Atukwatse, the Project Manager for Chemicals management and climate change at NAPE says though World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified Lead in particular lead paint as one the chemicals of major public health concern, the government of Uganda has given little attention to its regulation and raising awareness about its effects to the public.

She explains that there is need to draft a regulation to ban the manufacturing and production of lead paint that exceeds lead concentration of 90 parts per million (ppm), increase on awareness campaigns and assess the quantity of lead put in paints by manufacturers.

Medih Kyakonye, the Kasanda District Environmental Officer and a student of PHD in Environmental Chemistry explains that Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects brain, liver, kidney and bones. He says lead can affect a child’s brain development and nervous system and also causes anaemia, hypertension and toxicity of the reproductive organs.

He, however, notes that people are innocently exposed to lead poisoning because they are not sensitized enough to know the effects.

“The paint manufacturers add Lead in their paint to make it easy for the paint to dry quickly. These days almost every house is painted and that means every person in a painted house is exposed to Lead. Lead paint is worse in a newly painted house that is not dry as well as an old house with paint dust. But people are not aware of these dangers,” Kyakonye explains.

According to Kyakonye, the government has not done enough to protect the citizens. He said there should be clear laws to regulate toxic chemicals from flowing into the market for the safety of Ugandans.  He says the local governments are not facilitated enough to raise awareness on lead poison yet the public needs to be protected.

“Like for us in Kassanda, our sensitization is focused much on mercury use  since it its largely used in the gold mines but there is need to increase the district budget so that the public especially town dwellers who live in painted houses are sensitized on dangers of other harmful chemicals like Lead,” adds Kyakonye. 

The Kiboga district Senior Environment Officer, Zaina Nakandi said the district is underfunded to carry out awareness campaigns on lead poison for public health. She also notes that lead poison is an issue that has not been given much attention because of the long term that  effects take  to manifest. She noted that people especially children who are most vulnerable since their bodies are still developing, need to be protected and this can only be done when parents are sensitized about the effects of Lead and its pathways.

“We need to sensitize the public because lead poisoning is a major public health concern but as the district, our hands are tied. That’s why we appreciate the efforts of NAPE for giving us the platform to sensitize people,” said Nakandi.

In 2017, NAPE with support from IPEN carried out a study on lead in solvent based paints for home use in Uganda aimed at assessing the levels of lead in paint produced in Uganda. It was found out that 20 out of 30 analysed solvent-based paints for home use (67% of paints) were lead paints. This means they contain lead concentrations above 90 parts per million.

Frank Muramuzi, the NAPE Executive Director, called upon the government of Uganda to join efforts with the rest of the world to eliminate lead paint by enforcing lead paint regulations and increasing public awareness campaigns about the health effects of lead exposure.

RELEASED BY NAPE’S CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME

MINISTER COMMENDS COMMUNITY GREEN RADIO FOR THE EFFORTS IN THE FIGHTAGAINST COVID 19

Ugandan Minister of state for Information Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance Mrs. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo has commended Community Green radio for its efforts in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic that attached the country early last year.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank this radio for helping government by passing on the message of hard work, encouraging masses to conserve the environment and most importantly mobilizing citizens to fight COVID-19”, the minister said.

The minister’s comments were aired last Friday when she visited the Radio in Kiboga District. The visit by the minister was part of her routine checks to assess how government departments are using the free airtime that media houses were instructed to offer.

During the visit of the radio, the minister was accompanied by the District Chief Administrative Offer, CAO Mr. Edward Musingye, the District vice chairperson Mr. Moses Ssenjogera and the Resident District Commissioner, Badru Ssebyala.

While at the radio, the minister held a radio talk to mobilize the masses to embrace government programs, especially the ongoing vaccination against COVID-19 in the country.

“I want to appeal to all the people listening to me now that let’s all embrace the ongoing vaccination. It is for the good of all us as a country,” said the minister while in the studio of 103.9 FM.

The minister called on the community members to embrace all available economic empowerment programmes introduced by the government.

“Let’s all welcome and engage in the available poverty eradication programs like the Parish Development Model and other programs that target youth and women,” explained Mrs. Ssebugwawo.

Uganda Communication regulator, Uganda Communications Commission, UCC in April 2014 directed media houses countrywide to offer free airtime for government to mobilize citizens for development.