The European Union together with Oxfam Uganda and Care International Uganda have launched two disaster risk management projects funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).
Over 839,750 people benefit from the projects that will be implemented separately by Care and Oxfam in Isingiro, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge and Kikuube districts aimed at improving the resilience of the Ugandan community members in the four districts to the ever-changing climatic conditions and their adverse effects on the food and social-economic structures.
Speaking at the launch, the State Minister for Local Government, Jennifer Namuyangu described the project as one which has come at the right time when a number of parts of the country are prone to disasters and hence the need to prepare for it early enough.
“There is an increased frequency of disasters like droughts, floods and landslides among others because of the effects of global warming. There is, therefore, need to put in place efforts to ensure preparedness and resilience to the disasters by the communities,”Namuyangu said at Hotel Africana.
“Although communities can’t stop natural disasters, there is need to empower them to prepare for them but also minimize them and their disastrous consequences.”
Minister Namuyangu, a seasoned environmentalist however noted that these efforts should involve everyone because disasters affect everyone.
“Disasters have made us lose a lot of money in terms of infrastructure like roads, water sources and bridges among others. If this project is to succeed everybody must be brought on board. It is one thing to plant trees but these must be nurtured just like a baby. You can’t just plant trees and dump them. They must be tendered to professionals from districts like natural resources officers, environmental officers, forestry officers must be involved to ensure the project succeeds,” she noted.
The Oxfam Uganda Country Director, Francis Odokorach said, “Under this project, we look forward to a reduction in forest exploitation, and restoration of natural resource management activities. These actions will improve environmental governance through advocacy, environmental education and influencing.”
“We shall achieve this through building on the currently running waste to value innovations projects like turning fecal waste into energy briquettes, building the capacity of local actors and district staff, and most importantly, through interagency coordination.”
He noted that Oxfam’s part of the project will be implemented in Isingiro and Kyegegwa districts targeting both refugee and host communities in the two districts.
“Our projects will focus more on resilience building for those communities, restoration of some of the water sources, restoration of forest covers and building the capacity of the people to prepare for any disaster associated with climate charge and resources in those areas,” the Oxfam Uganda Country Director said.
Care International Uganda Country Director; Apollo Gabazira said the project is targeting disaster risk management and resilience capacity building within the districts and communities.
“If we are going to have resilience competencies within districts we can’t exclude local communities. As Care International, we are targeting district local government disaster management committees and the systems around that as areas for capacity building. We don’t think we can have sustainable resilience capabilities without involving communities,”Gabazira said.
The head of Development Cooperation at the European Union delegation to Uganda, Caroline Adriaensen said such projects are important for operationalizing the human development nexus in the country.
The EU, by funding the projects firmly reaffirms its commitment to support the local governments in their efforts to respond to the continued influx of refugees, by strengthening the districts’ capacity in critical areas such as natural environment management as well as service delivery,”Adriaensen noted.
Oxfam’s 30-months project titled “strengthening resilience through enhanced local disaster risk management capacities will be implemented in consortium with Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) and Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE), in Nakivale Settlement, Isingiro District, and in Kyaka II refugee settlement in Kyegegwa district.
On the other hand, CARE’s project titled “strengthening emergency preparedness and inclusive natural resources management in refugee-hosting districts” will be implemented for 33 months in the districts of Kikuube and Kamwenge, within Kyangwali and Rwamwanja refugee settlements respectively and the host communities.
The projects will cost €2.9 million which is over shs12.5 billion.