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NAPE is working in partnership with Uganda National Association of Occupational Health (UNACOH) and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to promote Mercury-Free Project in artisanal Gold mining (ASGM) in selected districts in Uganda. The project is supported by Dialogs, a Danish NGO and Ban Toxic from the Philippines.

Mercury is being used freely in Uganda regardless of the fact that Uganda is a signatory to the Minamata and ILO conventions that banned the use of mercury globally. The project is a global initiative under the Convention that aims at eliminating the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector globally.

Over the past century in Uganda, ASGM emerged as a relatively important source of livelihood and contributor to local economic development in several regions of the country. The ASGM sector in Uganda is informal, unregulated, and characterized by rudimentary methods, and use mercury to recover gold from the ore.

The project will target seven districts: Mubende, Bushenyi, Buhweju, Namayingo, Bugiri, Busia, Nakapiripirit where artisanal and small-scale gold mining is taking place.

The objectives of the project are to;

  • To help miners transition from the use of mercury to a more user friendly, less harmful and productive methodology using Borax in artisanal gold mining
  • Improve the health, social and economic welfare of miners as well as conserve the ecosystems around and linked to gold mining areas.
  • To advocate for the review of the mining policies to include artisanal mining sector and formulate regulatory frameworks and guidelines to govern the sector

To realize the Project objectives, two Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshops for artisanal miners from the selected districts has been organized by the project partners. There will be training for miners from the Western parts of the country (Mubende, Buhweju and Bushenyi) will be conducted in Mubende at Ekyekampala gold mining site. The second training for miners from the Eastern parts of the country (Namayingo, Bugir, Busia and Nakapiripirit) will be conducted in Makana mining site in Busia.

The miners will be trained in a new methodology that uses Borax to recover gold from the ore. The Borax methodology has tremendous benefits to the miners and their families; it is user friendly, less toxic and more productive. About 30 artisanal miners will be trained in the new methodology so that they in turn, train other miners in their communities. The training will be from May 26th to June 5th, 2017. Miners will be trained by experts in the use of Borax from Ban Toxic, an NGO from the Philippines and Diologos from Denmark.

The story was compiled by Betty Obbo

During the last week of March 2017, Young Friends of the earth Africa (FoEA) groups and Young Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) had a cross-regional learning meeting for groups participating in the Erasmus project of the FoEI federation in Durban South Africa. The meeting was hosted by groundwork, FoE South Africa.

The Erasmus project brings together youths from African and European regions that are partners to Friends of the Earth to strengthen the Youth Environmental Justice movement, both internally in FoEI and externally with Youth Social and Environmental Justice allies.

The project is also an opportunity to strengthen relationships and ways of working across the European and African regions, and supporting the active engagement of young people in decision-making.

The Director of groundwork, Bobby peek told the young people that one of the principles of FOEI is inclusiveness. Young people can only be included in most of the FOE work if they acquire deeper knowledge around movement building and FoEI is ready to support them.

Ms Sophie Manson, the coordinator for the Erasmus project in FOEI advised the youth to collectively identify creative strategies to enhance the engagement of diverse youth groups.

She told them the future belongs to young people and therefore young people need to critically reflect on particular role they can play in struggles against injustice. She advised them to have one firm voice through the environmental justice movement and suitable thematic campaigns that will prosper their struggles in their individual organizations

In the meeting, NAPE was represented by Peruth Atukwatse who coordinates the Youth Projects. NAPE, in 2016 started a Youth Movement for Social and Environmental Justice in Uganda. The movement is aimed at among other things:

  • Supporting   youth involvement in decision-making processes at all levels
  • Participation of young people in international fora to share experiences and deepen their knowledge on environmental justice issues to enable them advocate for social growth and environmental sustainability of their communities
  • Mobilize 7000 youths by 2018 and build their civic competence, inspire and motivate them to increase their inclusiveness in promoting and building pressure for good governance in natural resources, and
  • Promote social and economic empowerment for the youths in Uganda

NAPE believes that once the young people are in the driving seat, they can cause the change the organization and other activists and other Civil Society Organizations globally have been struggling to make. Society sometimes have a negative perception of young and because of this, young people are disengage from social, economic and political processes and feel powerless to bring about a sustainable change in their communities. NAPE stands in solidarity with young people as they demand for social and environmental justice.

The story was compiled by Peruth Atukwatse

The American Jewish World Service (AJWS) has hailed NAPE for its work of fighting for environmental justice and human rights of communities affected by the Oil Industry in Bunyoro sub-region of Uganda.

On March 2, 2017, NAPE hosted a team of 24 donors for the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) in its community operational areas in Hoima District. The 24 donors were accompanied by staff of AJWS from their New York and Kampala offices.

The AJWS President and Chief Executive Director, Robert Bank said the effects of oil developments heavily fall on host communities and that it is important for communities to be mobilized to realise their rights and work together to defend them.

He stressed that this can be achieved when the communities have one voice and speak without fear. “Good people speak the truth to power. This is the only thing that can bring change. As AJWS, we stand with you in solidarity” he said while addressing a community gathering at Kaiso-Tonya fishing village on the shores of Lake Albert.

Before Bank made his remarks, the NAPE Executive Director Frank Muramuzi and the Sustainability School Manager, Allan Kalangi had made presentations on NAPE’s vision, mission, core values and objectives and its emphasis on working with grassroots communities who are usually marginalized in development processes.

Through dance and drama, the Kaiso-Tonya communities ably conveyed a message of how oil activities have impacted on their livelihoods and their human rights and how NAPE has played a very big role in sensitizing and empowering them to speak for themselves.

“NAPE has empowered us and we are now able to stand up against human rights violations and conserve the environment as well. With the Community Green Radio initiated by NAPE, our voices have been raised and we have a platform to express our views.” Sylivia Kemigisa, the chairperson of Kaiso Women’s group said.

Judy Stern, a Board member of AJWS applauded NAPE for tremendous work they are doing in organizing the communities to speak as one voice.

“I want to thank NAPE for advocating for the rights of communities. As AJWS, we are happy to support you. That’s why I leave an appreciation message with a great American saying; ‘Never doubt that small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Kaiso-Tonya in Buseruka Sub County Hoima district is one of the areas where some oil wells (Ngasa 1 and Ngasa 2) were discovered and the road was constructed to ease transport. However, the communities say this came with challenges like violation of women’s rights, poor compensation and influx of people in the area leading to lake depletion and frustration of their livelihoods.

From Kaiso-Tonya, the team moved to Kigaga village, Buseruka sub-county which shares the same parish (Kabale) with the yet to be constructed oil refinery. Kigaga forms one of the listeners’ clubs of the Community Green Radio.

Penina Ruhindi, the Chairperson of Kigaga oil refinery affected women’s group welcomed the team. She said that the communities that neighbor the proposed oil refinery area faced challenges of land grabbing, environmental degradation, food insecurity and displacements.

Ruhindi said that the Community Green Radio has helped them in amplifying their voices and sensitizing them on how they can engage in income generating activities that do not degrade the environment.

“I want to thank NAPE for organizing and supporting us. With Community Green Radio, we have been able to raise our challenges and we have also sensitized others on the need to conserve the environment,” Ruhindi noted

NAPE has been supporting communities who are affected by oil activities to provide alternative sources of economic livelihoods like beekeeping, establishment of indigenous tree nursery beds among others and with support from AJWS they have provided them with funds to support community-led income activities through sub-granting.

The Kigaga community mounted a mini exhibition of the organ food crops that they have managed to grow following their being sensitized by the Community Green Radio

Muramuzi pledged that NAPE will continue working with the host communities in the oil region in sensitizing them on oil issues and its impacts on environment and livelihoods and their human rights so that they can position themselves better to benefit from the oil developments.

He also hailed the communities in Bunyoro for intensifying the campaign to revive and promote the indigenous seeds as well as saving the environment. “I am so happy that you are reviving our indigenous seeds to ensure food security. They are part of our culture and are very important for our health and need to be conserved alongside planting indigenous trees to conserve the environment.”

This story was compiled by Precious Natulinda,

Assistant News Editor,

Community Green Radio

NAPE promotes rural women's empowerment as one of its long term transformation goals. NAPE strives to create a society where every woman feels empowered, where every woman is independent, inspired and self-fulfilled. At NAPE we believe that women can make a change that we all desire. HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY!

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