RESETTLED KYAKABOGA RESIDENTS STRUGGLING TO COPE UP WITH THE NEW ENVIRONMENT

Oil refinery project affected people that opted for resettlement are struggling to get to terms with the new environment in Kyakaboga village in Buseruka Sub county in Hoima district.


The 83 households opted for relocation although government constructed 46 houses. Those with houses have been living in the newly constructed houses for close to one year although they entered their houses at different intervals protesting unfulfilled promises by government among which includes a land title according to the Resettlement Action Plan.


The three bed-roomed houses that were built on a 45x 25 plot of land in a camp-like settlement are separated by small corridors. Each affected person was given a piece of land equivalent to the one lost in the oil in the oil refinery. However, the land is a distance away from the houses. Those who did not get houses have struggled to put up makeshift houses in their allocated land as they settle.


Innocent Tumwebaze, the Chairperson of Oil Refinery Residents Association says the residents are struggling to cope up with the new social set up, source of livelihood, planting seasons and the general environment in the area that totally differs from where they were staying in Kabaale parish.


" Different tribes have their social set up according to their cultures. Like for Alur, when a child makes 12 years, he is supposed to build his own house near his father's but here the houses are congested so it is impossible. Kyakaboga also has one season in a year which were not used to so t has affected our livelihood but we are struggling to cope up," says Tumwebaze.


Angelina Unyera, 30, one of the beneficiaries complains of congestion in the camp which has led to conflicts.


" In such an environment, it is hard to control a child or an animal from going to neighbors and you end up quarreling but we have to get to terms with it," says Ms.Unyera, a mother of five.


For Richard Okumu, he decided to aandon his house because he could not manage living in such a congestion.


" I cannot manage living in conflicts with neighbors besides, I have an extended family and the house is too small to accommodate us so I decided to build another house in my land," explained Okumu.


Angena Midali in her 80s wonders why government decided to resettle them in that way. she says she struggles to trek to her land in addition to finding difficulty in accessing water and firewood urging the government to assist them especially the elderly.


Fausta Tumuheirwe says though the environment is challenging, as women they are trying to form group to support each other for income generation. she says some women have formed Tuende Mbele Women's group that helps them to save some money and share.


" I got detached from most of my friends in Nyahaira parish where I was staying. I am trying to mobilize women to ensure that we pull each other," she says.


Peruth Atukwatse, the Project Assistant for NAPE's Sustainability school program has been calling on the affected women to start up groups that will be able to help them solve some of the challenges they are facing.


"Most of these challenges heavily fall on women but when they come together, they can be able to find solutions," she notes.


Government earmarked a 29-square Kilometer piece of land in Kabaale parish in Buseruka Sub County to host the oil refinery which saw 7118 residents from 13 villages displaced from their ancestral land to pave way for the project.


STORY BY RECIOUS NATURINDA

KAISO-TONYA WOMEN TURN TO WEAVING AS A RESULT OF REDUCED FISH POPULATION ON LAKE ALBERT

On a beautiful sunny morning at around 10 am, women at Kaiso-Tonya landing site are busy drying silver fish along the newly tarmacked Hoima-Kaiso Tonya road. The women who are drying on used up fishing nets seem to be jealously caring for their fish that no single one drops in the process of drying.


Since fishing activities are organized along gender lines where men fish and women process and sell fish, this is a daily routine to many women who depend on Lake Albert as a source of livelihood.


However, to a 60 year old Betty Bagadila who has lived at the landing site for all her entire life, silver fish was not the type to admire until their endowed natural resource - Lake Albert was threatened by reduced fish stock.


Fred Kabagambe, a fisherman and Chairperson of Kaiso-Tonya Green Radio Listener’s Club attributes reduced fish stock to seismic operations that were done during exploration of oil and gas in the lake, overfishing as a result of population explosion brought by excitement of oil discovery and use of illegal fishing gears.


Bagadila says the threat has rendered many women jobless with no source of livelihood since they have predominantly relied on fishing for long.


“Women have nothing to sell for income, a few sell silver fish which is also scarce! Some families have broken up and men have run away as they have nothing to feed their families. Some women have been left with no other option but to sell their bodies to feed their families,” says Bagadila.


Nevertheless, Bagadila is lucky. She is member of Kaiso-Tonya Women’s group where about 25 women have found pride in weaving as a sustainable and alternative source of livelihood.


The women who are supported by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) under Sustainability School Program and are also members of Community Green Radio Listener’s Club weave baskets made out of local materials like reeds; bags, necklaces and earrings made out of beads and also knit table cloths from threads after which they sell and get income.


A 25 year old Ajuna slyvia, a single mother of three says weaving has helped her to meet her family needs and pay school fees for her children.


“I couldn’t believe that I would find my way in weaving until fish business started staggering. Here at the lake, fish is on competition because it is too scarce. And I cannot compete with men. I mostly weave baskets and this has helped me to continue providing for my family,” says Ajuna.


Sylivia Kemigisa, the group chairperson explains that their items are sold between shillings 1,000(about 0.3 dollars) and shillings 50,000(about 14 dollars) depending on the type and size.


“We have no good soils to farm and besides, not every woman can afford setting up a business so weaving has become a better income alternative. Since they use local materials, women can weave as many products as they want”, Ms Kemigisa explains.


Kemigisa says with empowerment from NAPE and sensitization from Green Radio, the women have been able to find solution themselves to challenges affecting them. She says women have also embarked on using energy saving stoves and making charcoal briquettes as a sustainable alternative to over dependency on wood fuel.
She reports that women were restricted from accessing Kabwoya Wildlife reserve for firewood due to existing oil wells therefore adopting the making of charcoal briquettes that are a best alternative to fuel wood and use of energy saving stoves that uses less firewood hence controlling the reserve from degradation.

During a community exchange visit that had drawn community members that work with NAPE under sustainability school program from Buliisa district; Rwamutonga, Kyakaboga and Kigaaga villages in Hoima district and Butimba in Kikuube in September this year, the women demonstrated practically how charcoal briquettes are made out of kitchen wastes and how to make energy saving stoves. They also displayed their products like baskets, beads, hand bags and earrings.
They are optimistic that they will train and empower more women so that they can become self-reliant.


Allan Kalangi, the NAPE Sustainability school manager said NAPE will continue sensitizing women on alternative source of livelihoods and sustainable energy use alternatives.


STORY WRITTEN BY PRECIOUS NATURINDA