NAPE’S SUSTAINABILITY SCHOOL HOSTS FRIENDS OF THE EARTH AFRICA MEMBER GROUPS FOR A LEARNING EXCHANGE

In December 2018, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) hosted Friends of the Earth Africa Member groups for a learning exchange during annual evaluation meeting for sustainability schools in Uganda that was held at Kakindo sustainability village offices in Buliisa District in Uganda’s Oil region.

The member groups that were from Togo, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania Cameroon and Ghana wanted to learn and have hands on experience of the work of sustainability schools so that it can be replicated back in their countries according to David Kureeba, the FoEA Regional Facilitator.

The meeting drew together all the sustainability school villages including Butimba, Kigaaga and Kaiso-Tonya from Kikuube and Hoima districts, Ngwedo, Kakindo and Muvule from Buliisa district and Kalangala and Buvuma, and Kasese district. The sustainability school members shared experience of sustainability schools work and how they look for solutions to challenges affecting them without necessarily waiting for government.

WE ARE UNITED: AFRICA MEMBER GROUPS WITH SS MEMBBERS

Samuel Kasirye a development partner from Rosa Luxemburg Foundation of East Africa said the progression of sustainability schools in commendable and was happy to see other African countries coming to learn from NAPE.

“I am happy to see other countries coming to learn about sustainability school work. Allan (the sustainability school manager) has also travelled to Canada and Berlin to showcase the work of sustainability school. I pledge continue coming through NAPE, since it has proved to be ROSA’s strategic partner,” Mr. Kasirye said.

Allan Kalangi, the NAPE officer in Charge of Sustainability said Sustainability schools are formed around key thematic areas like land use and food security, oil governance, forests and large plantations. He said NAPE’s role is to empower communities and train sustainability school educators to continue advocacy work in their respective villages.

“The sustainability schools meet every year to evaluate themselves and reflect on what was done in the year and plan together. We also learning from one another and sharing experience,” he explained.

Alice Kazimura, a sustainability school educator for Kakindo Sustainability School said with empowerment from NAPE, the school has been able to tackle issues of land conflicts which were fueled by oil discovery and led to unfair compensation and human rights abuses. She added that they are conserving the environment and promoting indigenous seeds for food sovereignty.

Assem Ekue, from FoE Togo said the sustainability school program was interesting. He said, “I have learnt that it is a space that arouses communities to look for solutions to some of the issues in their communities without waiting for government and this will be replicated back home.”

Sustainability school members also held a mini exhibition showcasing some of the indigenous trees they are planting to conserve the environment and seeds they are reviving by having a group multiplication garden which are then distributed to other members. They also showcased what they are doing to generate income.

NAPE showcased how they are making paper briquettes from paper waste for cooking, where they explained that it helps to save trees, manage wastes and save money.

The visitors also visited a group traditional granary for Kakindo S.S where some seeds are kept and also visited a model garden belonging to one of the members of Kakindo.

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ENVIRONMETAL JUSTICE CAMPAIGNERS CALL FOR PUBLIC AND COMMUNITY-LED RENEWABLE ENERGY TRANSITION

Environmental campaigners across the globe have called for the need for radical energy transition from fossils to renewable energy alternatives that are in public and community led.

They say fundamental challenge facing just energy transition is global fossil fuel dependency; and an energy shift is required by envisioning post petroleum economy and fight against corporate capture of decision makingfor people both in rich and poor countries.

This was during an International Conference on Just Energy Transition that was held in Abuja Nigeria on 2nd and 3rd November to open up 2018 Biannual General Meeting of Friends of the earth International Federation. The conference that brought together environmental campaigners, opinion leaders, and academia and community leaders across the globe was aimed at drawing attention to sustainable energy solutions.

While opening the conference, Nansen Karin, the Chairperson of Friends of the Earth International said climate, energy, food and biodiversity crisis are all as a result of unsustainable and unfair production and consumption systems as well as privatization and devastation of nature for the benefit national elites and transnational corporations whose major aim is profit maximization.

She added that the crisis is already leading to the displacement of people and the devastation of community livelihoods yet they are least responsible for causing the problem.

“The answer is nothing less than system change, system change implies a radical transformation of our energy, food and economic systems and the way we manage forest and biodiversity,” Karin noted.

She also added that, “it requires building people’s power in fighting against offensive and corporate capture in decision making.”

HERE IT IS: Nansen Karin, the Chairperson of Friends of the Earth International International speaking at the Conference on Just Energy Transition in Abuja Nigeria

Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, the Director Environmental Rights Action- which is hosting the 2018 FoEI BGM noted that just transition means moving from fossil fuel to clean, renewable, decentralized and people –controlled energy; that is built on the principal of justice for people and bridging the social disparity gap.

“Africa should start by clear adoption of a new development model to transit from fossil fuel driven economy to renewable energy alternatives. Therefore, it must start by recognizing that oil dependency needs to end and to orient the economy by envisioning a post petroleum economy. This is because, there is life after oil,” she noted.

Hon. Uche Onyeagucha, from Friends of the Earth Nigeria who was one of the lead speakers said a just transition of renewable energy should give power to people not the business corporates.
“A just transition can’t put renewable energy in the hands of big business. We must democratize the transition process. If this transition gives big business control, we have failed. It must be translated to real people’s power,” he explained.

Kureeba David, the NAPE’s project coordinator for Forestry and Biodiversity who is also the Regional Facilitator for FoEI in Africa said there is need to democratize energy solutions by ensuring citizen participation and support local communities with skills and training in renewable energy solutions.

“As NAPE and Africa we are already adopting community led approach in all dimensions. We are already sensitizing people on agro ecology and food sovereignty as real solutions and training communities especially women with clean energy skills like making charcoal briquettes and energy saving stoves,” Kureeba said.

LISTEN: Kureeba David, the NAPE’s project coordinator for Forestry and Biodiversity making a point at the International Conference on Just Energy Transition in Abuja Nigeria 

Samuel Okulony from African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) who was on the panel to discuss prospects on energy transition in Uganda said though government of Uganda introduced Rural Electricity program to enable access to grid electricity in rural communities, the uptake is very low due to high tariffs and communities have been empowered with information and skills to lobby and advocate for clean energy.

Jennifer Amejjer, the Monitoring and Evaluation officer and Precious Naturinda, representing Young Friends of the Earth Uganda are also representing NAPE in the BGM

STORY COMPILED BY PRECIOUS NATURINDA IN ABUJA NIGERIA