SUSTAINABILITY CLUBS MENTORING SCHOOL CHILDREN IN GOOD GREEN PRACTICES

Aisha Kaahwa, a primary seven pupils of Buliisa Primary school in Buliisa district is the chairperson of the Sustainability Club at the school.  Being in an area that is prone to strong winds and hailstorms, Aisha wants her club to massively plant trees around her school.  She also urges her colleagues to plant trees around their homes since the winds are a menace there too.


“We have been taught at school that having many trees and forests is very good for our environment and that trees act as wind breakers too. In this Sustainability Club we have been sensitized that we need not to know that trees are good for the environment only but that we need to plant the trees,” Kaahwa said recently while interacting with NAPE staff and journalists at her school.


Allan Kalangi, the Manager of NAPE’s Sustainability School Program believes that working with young people like Aisha is one way of mentoring them to grow up loving the environment and towards living is a sustainable economically sustainable world.


“There are many initiatives targeting youth development. Most of these initiatives however, target youth who have already completed school. We initiated these sustainability clubs to target children in school so that they can start debating on Sustainable development issues at a very tender age,” he said.


NAPE is partnership with Kakindo Orphans Care (KOC) have so far established three Sustainability Clubs in School in Buliisa District. These are Kasansya East Primary School, Buliisa Primary School and Nyamukuta Primary School in Bulisa District. Elsewhere, Sustainability Clubs have been established at St. Andrea Kaahwa and Duhaga secondary schools in Hoima and Katojo Vocational Secondary School in Mbarara District.


While visiting the clubs in the Kisansya East and Buliisa primary schools on 27th March 2017, Mr. Kalangi expressed concern that Uganda has experienced many problems such as abuse of natural resources, environmental degradation, corruption and mismanagement of public resources. He said that children have not been groomed to shun those bad practices at a very tender age and when eventually they find themselves the office bearers they carry just like their predecessors.


Kalangi said that the clubs will help the children appreciate that it’s their responsibility to find innovative ways of conserving the environment and appealed to their teachers to always engage them in sustainable development debates.

 “We want children to start at an early age to use the environment sustainably and participate in discussing and finding solutions to issues that affect their society. This makes them appreciate their responsibility and roles in the sustainable development processes. We also need to train them to be innovative so that they can break the habit of depending on hand out,” Kalangi added.


Samuel Asiimwe, the Patron for Kisansya East Sustainability Club said that through the clubs, the children have expressed zeal for conservation of nature.


“We now have a woodlot for school in addition to the fruit trees that have been planted in the school compound. All these are efforts of children in the sustainability club.”


In 2016, a three-classroom block, estimated to have cost 120 million shillings, and a resource centre at the school were blown of off by wind due to very few trees that can act as wind breakers.


The school head teacher, Ronald Kyamanywa, said the initiative will help in having more trees at the school to act as wind breakers and also the fruit trees will help partly in solving the lunch problem.


Story compiled by Vincent Nyegenya

BULIISA COMMUNITIES WORRIED OF LOSING LAND AS GOVERNMENT PLANS TO ESTABLISH AN OIL CENTRAL PROCESSING FACILITY IN THE AREA

Communities in Ngwendo and Kigwera Sub Counties Buliisa district are currently gripped in fear and anxiety after government disclosed to them plans to establish an Oil Central Processing Facility (CPF) that requires 308 hectares of land. Total Plc is one of the Companies to work on project and its presence is already much felt in the area.


During a consultative meeting organized by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) with the communities in the CPF prospective area at Kisomere Trading Centre in Ngwedo Sub County on 27th March 2017, the communities, most of whom derive their livelihood from agriculture, expressed fear of forced eviction and destruction of livelihoods to make way for the new developments.


WORRIED: Community members giving their views in a consultative meeting with NAPE Sustainability School Programme Manager Mr. Allan Kalangi in March 2017. Community members expressed concern over lack of information regarding the oil Central Processing Facility that government plans to establish in their area.

 
The CPF, which will be in an industrial area with operation camps, yards and access roads, will cover villages of Kasinyi, Kisomere, Uduk II, Kibambura, Mvule, Ajigo and Kirama. Other areas the facility will cover are Kigwera North East, South East, and Bukongoro in in Kigwera and Ngwedo sub-counties respectively.  The CPF is a production collection facility from various well pads where crude oil will be purified from. This is according to Resettlement Planning Information Document that was seen by the Community Green Radio.


The Ngwedo Sub County chairperson, Mr. Steven Kaliisa Munange, said about 50 families are likely to be affected by the new development in the two sub-counties. He said other oil developments in Bunyoro have left people suffering due to inadequate guidance and sensitization and expressed fear that similar mistakes could be repeated.


 “In the case of the oil refinery in Buseruka sub-county (Hoima District), many people who got cash compensation misused the money and are now living a miserable life while others who opted to be relocated have been delayed for years in Kabaale parish. We need to find solutions to such challenges together”, remarked Mr. Kaliisa.


During the meeting, communities raised concerns which included lack of adequate information on the new development which they said is contributing to the anxiety of the communities.


“I was told that the access roads will pass in my village but I am not yet sure where they will pass. We are just waiting and we don’t know whether we should continue cultivating or whether we should stop,” wondered Sophia Ajiku, the LCI chairperson for Ajigo village.


Ms.Topista Atugonza, a mother of eight from Mvule 1 village, who has been deriving her livelihood from agriculture, wondered whether her source of livelihood will thrive in case her land was to be taken for the CPF.


 “I have been growing cassava, maize and sweat potatoes in my fertile land. So in case I am relocated, will I get the same good land,”? asked Ms. Atuganza.
Allan Kalangi, the NAPE Sustainability School Program Manager challenged communities to have a common voice in issues related to human rights and also make duty bearers accountable.


“You need to organize yourselves in groups and get leaders who are able to present your grievances to relevant authorities. This can help you benefit from the project,” Kalangi said.


Mr.Kaliisa hailed NAPE for coming in time to sensitize people on their rights and urged them to continue guiding them.


“We need to be ready to benefit from the projects that are coming. And to achieve that, we need to adhere to sensitization meetings that come up. I need to thank NAPE and its local partners of Kakindo Orphans Care for starting this early.”


BACKGROUND
Oil companies in Uganda are now moving into the development phase having been issued with production licenses by the government in 2016. This phase will necessitate land acquisition for temporary access and permanent occupation as well as linear infrastructure such as roads and pipelines resulting into displacement of communities.


STORY COMPILED BY PRECIOUS NATURINDA