Monday, September 25th, 2023 | By
By Precious Naturinda
European Union has applauded National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) for its efforts in combating Gender-Based Violence, improving household income and boosting food security for communities affected by COVID-19 economic shocks and oil and gas extractives in Bunyoro region.
From 2021, NAPE has been implementing a European Funded project “Deepening grassroots women’s rights, participation and economic livelihood opportunities in the era of expanding of oil and gas extraction and COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda” in Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa districts. Under the project NAPE has supported communities in a number of initiatives including establishment of safe spaces to handle cases of gender based violence, provision of farm tools and establishment of gardens to improve food security and income generating initiatives.
During a three days monitoring visit held from 19th to 21st September 2023, Thomas Kamusiime from European Union said he was impressed by the food gardens established, household income generating initiatives for community households such as honey selling, hand craft making, millet packing and the good work done by established safe spaces to combat gender based violence and promote stable families.
Mr. Kamusiime visited Community Green Radio Offices in Kiboga district that amplifies community voices in Kiboga district, and communities of Kaiso, Kabale and Kigaaga in Hoima, Butimba and Kyakatemba in Kikuube district and Kakindo in Buliisa district.
He said that it was a smart idea that NAPE coined the project and implemented it around existing community structures in addition to establishing new ones such as safe and operational spaces that handle issues of GBV. He also applauded the radio for amplifying the voices of local communities and pledged continued partnership.
“I am thrilled to learn from safe space care takers that the work of the safe space in handling GBV, community counseling, conflict identification and mediation both on GBV and land related wrangles is done with close coordination with the Local council system, the family protection units of the Uganda Police and community models of good standing in the community,” said Mr. Kamusiime.
Mr. Kamusiime asked communities to use the good work achieved by the project to take advantage of the good road and other infrastructure being put in place by the oil and other sectors to boost their incomes through product selling, accessing markets and improving on value addition to attract market.
The Communities said the farm tools like the hoes and wheel barrows have been instrumental in enabling them grow food and carry manure to the gardens. They also noted that the space spaces have helped in conflict resolution both in families and communities.
“Gender Based Violence and food insecurity are major challenges at Kaiso fishing village. We largely depend on the Lake and markets for food. But NAPE has supported us to have kitchen gardens which are helping us to improve food security. Besides, over 80 cases have so far been handled at our safe space but the numbers are overwhelming. We would requesting NAPE to support establish more safe spaces and more support as our members have been increasing also need support,” said Kemigisa Slyvia from Kaiso Women’s group, one of the communities’ supported.
Mr. Bwengye Rajab, the Project Coordinator applauded European Union for the support and called for more support. He said the safe spaces are receiving overwhelming numbers of people who need their issues resolved adding that there is need to establish more safe spaces.
According to Bwengye, the most recent spot talley of cases recorded by caretakers at all the 20 established safe spaces in all the 3 operational districts were 1,186 out of which 953 were resolved at safe space sites. He notes that others have been refered to police for further management contributing to a success rate of 80%.
He also noted that the 30 targeted groups have registered increased number of members who need more support with farm tools.