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Water Governance Institute joined a group of national and international civil society organizations to petition UNESCO and the government of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from opening up the Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Virunga National Park in the respective countries for mining and petroleum exploitation because these World Heritage Sites protected under the international convention to which the two countries are signatories. This petition has also brought to the fore evidence that mining and petroleum exploitation in this regions is likely to threaten an endangered Okapi Giraffe species that resides in the forests of eastern DRC bordering Uganda on the west

Get a detailed press release!!!!!!!!

For more information follow the links below,

 

We’ve today officially launched the ten-year IUCN/ICCN Okapi Conservation

Strategy and Status Review. 

 (http://iucn.org/about/work/programmes/species/news/?22454/Global-plan-aims-to-save-elusive-okapi-from-extinction

and  (http://www.zsl.org/conservation/news/global-plan-aims-to-save-elusive-okapi-from-extinction

The UK’s Guardian newspaper has written a great article - 

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/18/stop-armed-militia-to-save-rare-forest-giraffe-conservationists-warn-and we hope to get further press coverage via the BBC World Service (listen out for a programme on Sunday morning) and across the region – IUCN are translating into French.

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The joy and pain of the wet season

With the rain season now on, different categories of people like farmers are jubilating because they expect higher yields at harvest time. However, for others, the rain comes with problems that range from the pesky –mud getting stuck to the shoe sole – to the serious, where roads and houses become flooded.

Traffic jam

While its raining, there is hardly any traffic jam. But no sooner does it stop than the roads get congested. A police traffic officer along Jinja Road believes the main cause of the traffic jam during wet seasons is that while the rain is pouring, all the activities stop. “When its raining, people hold back since no one is able to do a lot in the rain,” he says, adding: “After it has rained, majority of the people rush to complete whatever they were doing and they all end up meeting on the roads hence heavy traffic jam.”

Hiked transport fares

The rain is also associated with an increase in transport fares, especially for people who use public means like taxis. Jamil Muwonge, a taxi driver along Bombo Road to Kawempe says the high consumption of fuel by cars during traffic jam compels them to hike the fares. “In a distance where I drive for one hour when there is no jam, I end up spending two hours on the same distance when there is jam,” says Muwonge. “When I’m going to hike the fare from town to Kawempe, from Shs2,000 to Shs2,500, I first talk to the passengers before they board,” he notes. “Instead of using the main road from town to Kawempe, I divert to using the Nakulabye-Kasubi route where there is no jam but after communicating with the passengers,” Muwonge adds. “With this at the back of their minds, they will pay the Shs2,500 wholeheartedly because they are always tired and want to get home early enough,” he concludes.

Change in commodity prices

Prices of commodities like umbrellas differ slightly from the price that they are sold at in the dry season. In the dry season, a small umbrella in Kikuubo costs Shs5,000 and a larger one goes for Shs8,000, but when the rain season starts , the price may change depending on the demand of the umbrellas, says Agnes Namiggo, who sells umbrellas in Kikuubo. “On good days when it rains almost every day, we can sell as many as 14 dozen, and the rate at which they sell is also very fast,”adds Namiggo. Peter Musoke, a businessman dealing in sweaters and jackets in Mukwano Arcade says a jacket he sells at Shs18,000 in the dry season goes for between Shs20,000 to Shs25,000 when the rain season kicks in. “But there is a high demand for jackets in the rainy season, especially at times when people are going home or to work,” notes Musoke. “On a good day, I can retire with profit of Shs 50,000 which may not be achievable in the dry season,” he adds.

Just an inconvenience for some

For Daniel Kafeero, a dealer in gumboots, his situation is quite different. “Sometimes I have to wear the gumboots myself because there are some areas, which are difficult to reach like deep inside Owino especially when you have to move and look for stock to keep your business running,” says Kafeero.He goes on and says unlike other commodities whose prices change depending on seasons like umbrellas, the change in season does not change the prices of gumboots. “If the prices are to change, they change with an increment of between Shs5,000 to Shs10.000,” says Kafeero.He adds that it is factors like increase in taxes on the side of the manufacturers that affects prices, and not the weather conditions.

Crime rates

The rain season does not only escalate commodity prices but it is also associated with high crime rates, especially in the night when thieves take advantage of people sleeping deeply and they break into houses.Julius Tusingwire the District Police Commander Wandegeya, a Kampala suburb says crime occurrence in his area is low because a lot of precaution measures have been undertaken to eliminate victims of crimes. “This has been achieved by heavy deployment of security personnel in crowded places like clubs and pubs in the night and petrol stations as well as making some foot patrols both during day and night to ensure maximum protection for the people,” says Tusingwire. “If at the end of two days you have only 24 entries of minor crimes, it means there is a low crime rate,” he adds.

The hangouts

You would assume that more people will hit the bar during the wet season, especially if it is indoors but the opposite is true. Some bar owners say they have fewer customers during this season and that is why most of them dread the rain. “During the rainy season, it is cold and wet and therefore I prefer to stay indoors so I stock my fridge at home instead of hitting the bar,” a regular bar goer says.

Poor drainage coupled with poor infrastructure development destroys Kampala

Poor drainage coupled with poor infrastructure development (i.e. roads, commercial, industrial and residential buildings) in Kampala and Uganda in general is responsible for the sight and flooding conditions seen in the article below.

This is happening despite the trillion of shillings spent in planning and construction of this infrastructure in the cities. The rampant corruption that has bedeviled all institutions of government and decadence of morals and integrity of persons is responsible for this mess.

In the Picture: Is one of the impassible roads in Kampala.

This is made worse by a political leadership which is insensitive to ordinary peoples’ plight as depicted by an article in the same Newspaper titled “Museveni okay eviction of residents in mineral areas”.

The joy and pain of the wet season

With the rain season now on, different categories of people like farmers are jubilating because they expect higher yields at harvest time. However, for others, the rain comes with problems that range from the pesky –mud getting stuck to the shoe sole – to the serious, where roads and houses become flooded.

Traffic jam

While its raining, there is hardly any traffic jam. But no sooner does it stop than the roads get congested. A police traffic officer along Jinja Road believes the main cause of the traffic jam during wet seasons is that while the rain is pouring, all the activities stop. “When its raining, people hold back since no one is able to do a lot in the rain,” he says, adding: “After it has rained, majority of the people rush to complete whatever they were doing and they all end up meeting on the roads hence heavy traffic jam.”

Hiked transport fares

The rain is also associated with an increase in transport fares, especially for people who use public means like taxis. Jamil Muwonge, a taxi driver along Bombo Road to Kawempe says the high consumption of fuel by cars during traffic jam compels them to hike the fares. “In a distance where I drive for one hour when there is no jam, I end up spending two hours on the same distance when there is jam,” says Muwonge. “When I’m going to hike the fare from town to Kawempe, from Shs2,000 to Shs2,500, I first talk to the passengers before they board,” he notes. “Instead of using the main road from town to Kawempe, I divert to using the Nakulabye-Kasubi route where there is no jam but after communicating with the passengers,” Muwonge adds. “With this at the back of their minds, they will pay the Shs2,500 wholeheartedly because they are always tired and want to get home early enough,” he concludes.

Change in commodity prices

Prices of commodities like umbrellas differ slightly from the price that they are sold at in the dry season. In the dry season, a small umbrella in Kikuubo costs Shs5,000 and a larger one goes for Shs8,000, but when the rain season starts , the price may change depending on the demand of the umbrellas, says Agnes Namiggo, who sells umbrellas in Kikuubo. “On good days when it rains almost every day, we can sell as many as 14 dozen, and the rate at which they sell is also very fast,”adds Namiggo. Peter Musoke, a businessman dealing in sweaters and jackets in Mukwano Arcade says a jacket he sells at Shs18,000 in the dry season goes for between Shs20,000 to Shs25,000 when the rain season kicks in. “But there is a high demand for jackets in the rainy season, especially at times when people are going home or to work,” notes Musoke. “On a good day, I can retire with profit of Shs 50,000 which may not be achievable in the dry season,” he adds.

Just an inconvenience for some

For Daniel Kafeero, a dealer in gumboots, his situation is quite different. “Sometimes I have to wear the gumboots myself because there are some areas, which are difficult to reach like deep inside Owino especially when you have to move and look for stock to keep your business running,” says Kafeero.He goes on and says unlike other commodities whose prices change depending on seasons like umbrellas, the change in season does not change the prices of gumboots. “If the prices are to change, they change with an increment of between Shs5,000 to Shs10.000,” says Kafeero.He adds that it is factors like increase in taxes on the side of the manufacturers that affects prices, and not the weather conditions.

Crime rates

The rain season does not only escalate commodity prices but it is also associated with high crime rates, especially in the night when thieves take advantage of people sleeping deeply and they break into houses.Julius Tusingwire the District Police Commander Wandegeya, a Kampala suburb says crime occurrence in his area is low because a lot of precaution measures have been undertaken to eliminate victims of crimes. “This has been achieved by heavy deployment of security personnel in crowded places like clubs and pubs in the night and petrol stations as well as making some foot patrols both during day and night to ensure maximum protection for the people,” says Tusingwire. “If at the end of two days you have only 24 entries of minor crimes, it means there is a low crime rate,” he adds.

The hangouts

You would assume that more people will hit the bar during the wet season, especially if it is indoors but the opposite is true. Some bar owners say they have fewer customers during this season and that is why most of them dread the rain. “During the rainy season, it is cold and wet and therefore I prefer to stay indoors so I stock my fridge at home instead of hitting the bar,” a regular bar goer says.

Source: The Daily Monitor.

Tullow Oil plc (Tullow) has on 8 November 2013 resumed operations in Block 10BB and Block 13T in Northern Kenya following successful dialogue with national and county government and leaders of the local community.

The suspension of operations announced last week allowed all parties to discuss and understand the complex operating environment in Northern Kenya and commit to taking the necessary action to allow exploration operations to resume.Further to these discussions, Tullow has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Minister for Energy. The MoU clearly lays out a plan for the Government of Kenya, county government, local communities in Northern Kenya and Tullow to work together inclusively over the long-term and to ensure that operations can continue without disruption in the future.

Tullow has about 2,100 employees in Turkana County alone and rents over 1,000 vehicles.“We had an agreement with Tullow that they will give tenders of supplying vehicles to our youth women and they got loans to buy tracks only to find out that tenders have already been awarded to some other people, how will these women repay their loans,” said Turkana South (Kenya) Constituency Member of Parliament James Lomenen.

Lomenen urged Tullow Oil plc to honor the agreement and adapt to the culture of the host community.“The suspension of operations announced last week allowed all parties to discuss and understand the complex operating environment in Northern Kenya and commit to taking the necessary action to allow exploration operations to resume,” said Deputy General Manager Sid Black.

Through the agreement, the company re-affirmed its commitment to local employment, local opportunities and transparency throughout its operations in Northern Kenya. “As Tullow’s exploration campaign progresses and gathers pace, the number of local employees and local companies involved in our work will continue to grow,” Black said.

The company suspended its operations as a result of demonstrations by the residents demanding to be employed at the company’s sites, including Ngamia 1 and Twiga 1, which are its biggest operations. Residents in the area had marched to the oil sites, demanding an explanation from Tullow president on the criteria the firm used to hire workers.

Recently, the company announced that the Ekales-1 wildcat, located in Block 13T had made a new oil discovery.

This is the fourth consecutive wildcat discovery, in the first oil basin opened in Northern Kenya, since drilling commenced in 2012.Results of drilling, wire line logs and samples of reservoir fluid indicated a potential net oil pay in the Auwerwer and Upper Lokone sandstone reservoirs of between 60 and 100 metres. The Ekales-1 well is located between the Ngamia-1 and Twiga South-1 oil discoveries and the reservoir properties at this location are similar to those previously encountered.

Source: REDPEPPER

On the 17th and 18th of September 2018 ,WGI a member  of the civil society coalition on oil and gas joined other coalition members on a field visit to investigate compliance of the Tilenga project to social and environmental safeguards.

The project which covers much of Buliisa,Nwoya and Hoima districts includes 412 oil wells planned to be drilled,110km feeder pipleline and several Central processing units.

Several issues of non -compliance were observed as well good practices. Among the places visited were King Fisher oil field operated by CNOOC in Hoima  ,Kasamene 1 oil production well plus CPF’s that will be operated by Total E&P in Buliisa ,Enviro Serve waste treatment facility in Nyamasoga ,Hoima  that will be treating most of the waste from exploration and production of oil and gas and finally the area planned for construction of the Hoima International Airport through which  most of the cargo for the oil and gas industry will be transported.

 

 

Water governance institute together with its partner Navigators of development Association (NAVODA) in Hoima conducted awareness raising meetings about aquaponics farming at Glory summit hotel on the 8th and 9th April 2017.  Information on the innovative fish farming was disseminated to the community as well as story telling from the successful farmers who have been in the innovation in the past year.

The team also had a talk show on community green radio, 3 participants expressed their interest in the system and demos were setup at their homes.  

 


 

On the 27th July 2017,WGI held a community meeting at Rapona Hotel,Moroto district, to disseminate research findings on gold mining industry compliance to social and environmental safeguards in Uganda .Around 34 people participated in the meeting including artisan miners ,local government officials such as the RDC  and representatives of local CBO’s.

 

The SWFF Program Team lead, SWFF TA Facility deputy program coordinator, and other USAID representatives travled to Kampala, Jinja, and Hoima to meet with innovators in Uganda, including Aquaponics and Green Heat.

“SWFF site visits allow the program to get a better understanding of innovators’ activities and provide more in-depth advice that can accelerate their path towards progression,” SWFF Program Team Lead Dr. Ku McMahon said.

In addition to meeting with the innovators, Ku and the SWFF team talked with local farmers and technicians to get feedback and confirm innovator-submitted data over the course of the week.

 

“SWFF site visits allow the program to…provide more in-depth advice that can accelerate their path towards progression.”

Each innovator serves as a pioneer, impacting the amount of water used in poor countries through cutting edge technologies and business models. Water Governance Institute’s aquaponics program serves to eliminate nutrient deficiencies through a tray cultivation system. This technology creates a bridge between crop and fish production, allowing for optimal food output with less water.

The Green Heat program cuts down on water use by implementing a waste-separation system that creates fertilizer. SWFF travel plays a key part in both organizations’ success through offering the innovators in person support and guidance.

Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development helps farmers around the world grow more food using less water, enhance water storage, and improve the use of saline water and soil to produce food by ensuring that the entrepreneurs get the support they need to apply and expand their solutions around the world.

To learn more about Securing Water for Food, as well as access a list of our innovators, visit www.securingwaterforfood.org/innovators

 

 

SOURCE: SWFF

 

Women panning-off earth tailings with no protective gear to reveal the Gold impregnated Mercury at “Kampala” Gold mining site in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende district. .
Women panning-off earth tailings with no protective gear to reveal the Gold impregnated Mercury at “Kampala” Gold mining site in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende district. 

Uganda’s abundant mineral wealth if well managed has the ability to enhance the economic fortunes of the country. Indeed, many Ugandans view mineral resources– such as gold in Mubende and the Karamoja region– as critical precursors to the country’s move towards prosperity as well as the means for lifting thousands of people out of poverty. This mineral wealth is captured in the country’s economic blueprint “Vision 2040” as a driver of growth and development.

While, admittedly, the exploitation of mineral resources could bring prosperity to Uganda, they could fuel violations of human, health and safety rights, particularly, the right to a clean and health environment as provided in country’s constitution and environmental regulations.

During a recent field trip by Water Governance Institute staff to the gold mining areas of Mubende district, it was observed that women gold miners were found using Mercury Oxide and Cyanide in gold extraction. These are highly toxic and dangerous substances, which if ingested or gain entry into the human body could result in serious health problems and ultimately death of the affected persons. These chemicals are particularly risky to women, because it is the women that are mostly engaged in extracting the gold from the earth tailings using a mixture of water and any of mentioned chemicals.

30-year old Rose Namaye (real name withheld) holds a basin containing Gold impregnated Mercury after panning off the earth tailings at “Kampala” Gold mining site in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende District

30-year old Rose Namaye (real name withheld) holds a basin containing Gold impregnated Mercury after panning off the earth tailings at “Kampala” Gold mining site in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende District

In addition, women often work with no or inadequate protective gear, which worsens their exposure to the hazardous chemicals.  Women do this usually out of ignorance or mire lack of enough money to buy the protective gear. This is worsened by the low labour wages they are paid for their work.

Laboratory analysis of soils and water taken from selected sites in Mubende revealed pollution levels of up to ten times the permissible levels by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Similar results were obtained in respect to Cyanide in water. Water Governance Institute is planning a multi-stakeholder dialogue that will bring together government officials, ASM-miners and CSOs to deliberate on the findings a chart a way forward.

According to the World Health Organization, Mercury is highly toxic to human health and inhalation of Mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, including organs like the lungs and kidneys, resulting in death.  Similar effects to the human body have been reported by other experts.  NEMA puts the permissible levels of Mercury at 2.0 milligrams per kilogram of soil and 0.001milligrams per litre of water, while WHO puts it at 8.0milligrams per kilogram soil and 0.001milligrams per litre of water.

In respect to Cyanide, NEMA’s permissible level is at 10.0milligrams per kilogram soil and 0.1milligrams per litre of water. The WHO’s standard for Cyanide is 0.2milligrams per litre of water. WGI’s search of the WHO records online did not reveal any permissible standard for Cyanide in soils, this is probably because Cyanide is unacceptable in soils by WHO standards or WHO has not yet investigated Cyanide in soils to set a standard.

It is clear that while NEMA and WHO are in agreement on the permissible levels of Mercury in water, their standards differ for soil. NEMA’s standard for Mercury in soil is more stringent and restrictive. Likewise, the NEMA standard for Cyanide in soils and water is more restrictive and stringent compared with that of WHO. In such cases, it is better to enforce the NEMA standards for Mercury and Cyanide.

Women panning-off earth tailings with no protective gear to reveal the Gold impregnated Mercury at “Kampala” Gold mining site in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende district. .

Women panning-off earth tailings with no protective gear to reveal the Gold impregnated Mercury at “Kampala” Gold mining site in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende district. 

Gold impregnated Mercury (Whitish material in basin) revealed after panning-off earth tailings at “Kampala” Gold mining site in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende district

Gold impregnated Mercury (Whitish material in basin) revealed after panning-off earth tailings at “Kampala” Gold mining site in Kitumbi sub-county, Mubende district

According to the December 2015 Auditor General’s report on Regulation, Monitoring and Promotion of the Mining sector, the artisanal, small- and medium-scale mining sector employs up to 200,000 people in Uganda of which 50% are women. This suggests that 100,000 women are exposed to the harmful Mercury and Cyanide chemicals. This is not a small number that can be ignored by any administration.

Since the women gold miners are not in position to effectively protect themselves from the negative effects of chemicals used in gold mining, it is important for government to require mining companies and/or individuals employing women in gold extraction to provide them with safety gear and to comply with health and environmental standards and practice. Also, civil society actors and other development partners should come to the aid of such women, including men.

While we recognize the efforts government is undertaking to revise the mining policy and legislation, we think government is slow (or is it reluctant) to put in place a mechanism that will regulate artisanal, small- and medium-scale mining, including the formalization of this sub-sector.  The new mining policy and laws should also be guided by the aspirations and principles of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) and Agenda 2063, which recognizes a mining sector that harnesses the potential of artisanal and small-scale mining to stimulate local/national entrepreneurship, improve livelihoods and advance integrated rural social and economic development.

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