CSOs in the Albertine region pledge to use Community Green radio to fight poverty

Civil society organizations in the Albertine region of western Uganda are ready and willing to partner with the community Green radio platform to fight the biting poverty in the rural areas. The activists believe the radio is best suited to deliver the message of positive change to the ordinary people.


 “Community Green radio shall be a good avenue in our protracted crusade against corruption and poverty in communities. We shall use the radio to mobilize citizens to shun corruption tendencies and to work to eradicate poverty”, explained Mr. Michael Businge, the Coordinator at Bunyoro Albertine Petroleum Network on Environmental Conservation, BAPENECO. Mr. Businge made the remarks last Friday while appearing on Community Green radio weekly topical show, Orukurato (meeting). He explained that as a conservationist, he sees the radio as a vital tool in disseminating information to the local people.


Bbiira Nassa Kiwanuka, the Executive Director of the Mid-Western region Anti-Corruption Coalition, MIRAC believes the radio has demonstrated its close position with the common person.


“I have been listening to this radio and the voices of the common people are dominant. This is a good starting point for us to fight corruption and improve lives of Ugandans”, Mr. Kiwanuka explained.

I DEAL VOICE: Mr. Michael Businge(Right), the Cordinator BAPENECO in studios of Community Green radio in Hoima Western Uganda. CSOs are looking at the radio as an appropriate channel to cause change in communities and reduce poverty.

A report: “Who is growing? Ending inequality in Uganda” shared by Oxfam in 2017 shows that the poor in Uganda are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer. The richest 10% Ugandans have had their income grow by an impressive 20% per year. This means that 10% rich Ugandans own 35.7% of the country’s wealth, leaving the remaining 90% of Ugandans to share the remaining 64.3% of national income. This report also shows that the poor Ugandans have seen their possession decline by 21% over the past 20 years. As a result, the poor 10% of Ugandans own only 2.3% of the country’s wealth while the poorest 20% of Ugandans own a meager 5.8% of national income.
Mr. Businge says changing this trend of events requires vigorous work that calls for involvement of citizens and radio is one of those avenues to invite Ugandans into the discussion.

“And if the majority of our society continues to live in deprivation and poverty, and not find employment, the crime rate will never go down but may instead increase. Poverty destroys people’s ethics and morals and will give rise to hatred amongst people. Majority of our people are still dying of curable diseases, women dying while delivering, children shouldn’t be dying of malnourishment, youth still grappling with unemployment. This is due to deprivation of the majority of the services”, he explained.


Community Green radio works with communities to alleviate poverty through the various radio listeners clubs in Buliisa and Hoima districts. Through the work of the radio, communities have started apiary, tree nursery beds and other income generating activities.


Compiled by Julius Kyamanywa

MINISTER INSTRUCTS FOREST AUTHORITY TO STAMP LEGAL TIMBER BEFORE SALE

Ugandan minister of water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris has instructed the National Forestry Authority to stamp on all legal timber sold in the market in a move to reduce illegal timber cutting in the country’s forest reserves.


While addressing journalists in Hoima Western Uganda on Saturday January 13, shortly after his visit to Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, the minister said timber dealers have been given two weeks to get rid of all the timber in the stores after which government will start impounding all timber without stamps from the forestry departments.


“Any timber found in the stores without government stamp must be impounded in two weeks from now. Even those who are carrying out agriculture must be flashed immediately after harvesting this season,” the minister directed.


The minister also instructed the authority to impound all trucks found carrying timber from rare tree species like mahogany and Aningera (Enkarati) that are only believed to be found in forest reserves.

THREATENED: Severe human activity is putting Bugoma forest at the risk of extinction. NAPE and NFA are partnering to ensure the forest is not depleted. COMMUNITY GREEN RAADIO FILE PHOTO


The minister’s instructions follow reports of connivance to abet illegalities by some individuals in NFA and security that are mandated to protect forests.


Stuart Maniraguha, the manager for Budongo Systems welcomed the move saying it will extremely make it hard for thieves to find market for their timber.


The minister’s visit followed a scuffle between NFA officials and Hoima district leaders during a visit to Bugoma forest that led to the alleged assault of the NFA Kinsindi Sector Manager, Wilfred Twesige by the Hoima District Resident Commissioner,RDC, Steven Ekoom.


Tumwesige reported a case of assault at Hoima police station under reference HMA/6110/01/2018. In the case, it is alleged that Mr. Ekoom, accompanied by security and the Hoima district Chairman, Kirungi Kadir severely slapped Mr. Tumwesige. He says Ekoom was protesting his decision to impound a truck of timber said to have been harvested from Bugoma forest.


The Minister asked the NFA to work closely with the district leadership to ensure that the forest is protected.


In 2016, NFA opened the boundaries of Bugoma forest reserve that sits on 41,142 hectares to reduce on boundary conflicts and encroachers. Bunyoro Kingdom is in court with NFA claiming to own 5777 hectares of land under Block 2 of the forest reserve in Kyangwali Sub County Hoima district in Western Uganda.


NAPE has teamed up with National Forestry Authority (NFA) to harness sustainable management solutions to conserve the reserve. Last year, NAPE facilitated a stakeholders’ meeting that was attended by the communities through Collaborative Forest Management groups to find out challenges, threats and sustainable solutions to the management of Bugoma forest reserve.


Compiled by Precious Naturinda