New members of Community Green Radio listener clubs in Kyankwanzi and kiboga Districts have been enticed to engage in activities that promote environmental conservation and improved livelihoods.
During a meeting between Community Green Radio staff and Listeners from Lwamata, and Nabidondolo villages, the listeners said they are motivated to do more to conserve the environment and change their lives economically.
“Most of us were not aware of the values of conserving the environment and now the radio is opening our eyes to some of these things”, explained Joseph Kisuule a member of Lwamata listeners’ club.
Ms. Janat Kengonzi, the mobilize of Lwamata Listeners’ club says that apart from raising indigenous plant and tree seedlings, as a club they have also established a poultry project that has 15 active members.
“We are more than 15 members and every member has to bring a local breed of chicken to be considered active”, she explained to a Community Green radio reporter.
Asuman Ssembatya from Nabidondolo listeners’ club says the radio has mobilized communities towards working together. He believes working as group will quickly transform communities.
National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) through the various Community Green Radio programs encourages communities to engage in schemes that aid Environmental Conservation and activities that improve their household income and conserve the environment.
Richard Mugisha, the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, OSIEA Country Director for Uganda has applauded the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE for the efforts exhibited towards empowering communities to conserve the Environment and ensure food security.
“I thank NAPE for empowering the communities in promoting food security through planting indigenous food crops and undertaking activities that help conserve the surrounding”, said Mugisha.
Mr. Mugisha made the remarks during the official opening of Butimba sustainability Conservation Association, BUSUCA’s offices earl August this year. The offices are in Butimba village, Kidoma parish in Kiziranfumbi sub-county Kikuube district.
Mugisha explained that the idea of engaging communities in cultivation of indigenous species of cassava, beans and maize, that are resistant to harsh climatic conditions, is the best for conservation purposes as well as storage to curb food crises.
At the launch of the offices, other sustainability School Village members who were present included Kabaale “Tugare E’byobuhangwa” Women’s group and Kigaaga Oil Region Women’s Drama Association (KORICWODA).
The communities have been facing significant negative impacts of oil and other related activities on food because of oil discovery in the region. There has been increased demand for food more than what the ecosystem can support yet the region has seen a large influx of many land grabbers.
Rev.Fredrick Musimenta, the Chairperson for BUSUCA explained that farming activities carried out by the association like Apiary, crop cultivation and forestry have not only helped in promoting food security and Environmental conservation but also improving household income.
“Apart from seed multiplication gardens we established as a group to aid indigenous types of plants, we also have natural tree nursery bed seedlings that can be planted to mark boundaries” explained Rev. Musimenta.
Meanwhile, Ms. Annet Kasoro the chairperson Kabaale “Tugare E’byobuhangwa” Women Association, a group that promotes indigenous seed restoration, revealed that the association is focused on reviving traditional millet, sesame, beans and maize and ensuring that every member has a granary.
“We predict the weather to ascertain whether or not it favors farming before we plant and after harvest, we preserve the seeds with ash and red pepper to keep them free from weevils then store them in the granary season to avoid hunger”, Ms. Kasoro explained.
Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director of NAPE thanked the communities for being adherent to matters concerning the Environment and cultivate food for home consumption and called on them to use the radio for further conservation.
“I encourage you to continue using Community Green Radio-Kiboga to air out the issues affecting your community and continue practicing bee keeping, tree planting cultivating indigenous food species that aid conservation” said Mr. Muramuzi.
NAPE’s Sustainability School Program Manager Allan Kalangi explained the need for the communities to engage in sustainable activities that improve their livelihood, household income and practice what they are empowered to do through borrowing ideas shared during exchange visits.
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.
Community Green Radio celebrated this year’s World Environmental day by taking part in a cleaning exercise in Kiboga.
The exercise saw public places such as markets, town council headquarters, Taxi Park and different streets in the town cleaned.
On the same day, over 100 trees were planted as one way of conserving the environment.
The trees were planted at the district playground, district and town council headquarters, and others were planted along Hoima Kampala high way for beatification and environment conservations purposes.
The world environment day commemorations attracted other players like Rotary club, World Vision plus schools.
Julius kyamanywa the station manager community green radio explained that NAPE being an environmental organization it can’t sit back and watch as the world is marking the environmental day.
He said taking part in the celebrations is part of Nape’s core mandate and responsibility.
“We are the environment and it’s our mandate to protect it.
Kiboga town council LC III Chairperson Hajji Suleiman Ssekiwunga thanked the organizations for the cleaning and tree planting exercises. He hailed Community Green Radio for the mobilization work that he said made the day a success.
“Community Green radio gave us a talk show and presenters kept mentioning this day. We are really blessed to have you”, Hajji Ssekiwunga explained.
He appealed for more organization operating in Kiboga district to come out and give support towards having the town clean.