Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Hoima Residents Say Oil Airport Contractor Denied Them Jobs

By George Busiinge

The company which is a joint venture between Colas, a UK Company, and SBI, an Israel company, was contracted by the government to build a euro230m Hoima airport at Kabaale parish in Buseruka Sub-County in Hoima district.

The residents however claim that they are being neglected in the recruitment to offer casual works despite work having started in December last year.

The residents led by Baziriyo Batwaiki and David Ssali say despite the intervention of government and leaders from Bunyoro region, SBC officials have declined to offer them jobs as agreed.

The residents also accuse SBC of failing to construct boreholes at Kitegwa, Kabaale and Nyamasoga villages as earlier promised.

Anent Kasoro, the Buseruka sub county vice chairperson wonders why SBC has failed to fulfill the demands of the public and leaders. Recently, The Minister of Works and Transport Monica Azuba Ntege ordered the Company that is in-charge of the construction of Hoima International Airport to reserve at least 30 percent jobs for the host communities.

The project is expected to create between 800 - 1,000 jobs both skilled, semi and unskilled. The airport is among the related infrastructure development activities meant to facilitate oil production in the Albertine Graben.

Efforts to get a comment from SBC company officials were futile as they couldn’t pick our repeated calls.

UNRA Orders Smart Oil Fuel Station In Hoima to Demolish Illegal Structure

By George Busiinge

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has issued a one week ultimatum to the director Smart Oil Fuel Station along Hoima-Kampala road in Mparo division, Dr Scholar Bwari to have demolished the illegal structure established in the road reserve.

The order was issued by Julius Ahuura, the Hoima UNRA station engineer during a crisis meeting held in his office with the local leaders to discuss the management of roads.

This followed a protest by residents in Kihemba cell, Mparo division in Hoima Municipality who attacked UNRA officials and blocked them from demolishing the illegal structure.

Speaking during the meeting, Ahuura says the building including the billboard and Canopy were extended three kilometers in the road reserve.

He says Dr Scholar has failed to provide the traffic management plan and design for the road access to UNRA for approval.

Ahuura has directed Dr Scholar to rectify the problem within one week or else UNRA will forcefully demolish the building.

The Mparo division boss Solomon Nyakonjo has challenged Dr Scholar to follow guidelines to ensure co-existence.

Consider Rural Women In Development Of Energy Sector

By Edwin Mumbere

The gender question in regard to energy issues in Uganda has for long been kept in the background. It is evident that women and children in rural areas are the most affected by energy needs.

Most of us have all witnessed the situation in rural households where women and children spend countless hours either collecting firewood or fetching water. Clearly energy, gender and poverty in Uganda are very strongly inter-related.

Solving rural women’s cooking energy needs, water needs through water pumping would free up women’s time and reduce drudgery allowing them to participate more in productive activities.

This would contribute to enabling livelihoods through increased output, improved working conditions and increased hours for production thus reducing poverty.

For rural women, clean energy would directly translate into health gains through clean cooking and improved health services by ensuring the efficient operation of medical equipment that would guarantee safer deliveries thus reduced maternal and infant mortality rate. 

How then does the most affected person by major energy needs become excluded from the energy sector planning, policy formulation and interventions?

Have we ever asked ourselves that most probably consulting rural women on energy issues could lead to informed energy sector interventions and provide solutions to energy woes and eradicate poverty in Uganda? 

Without question, for the Ugandan government to achieve sustainable energy for all(SE4ALL), the unique aspects that gender dynamics play in influencing energy access, energy efficiency and most importantly gender needs in relation to the preferred renewable energy sources have to be taken into account.

Over the years one of the single biggest concerns has been the limited evidence relating to the use of the gender approach in energy sector reform and regulation in Uganda. In Uganda’s energy sector the emphasis on women and girls is limited because energy interventions are usually implemented in a gender-neutral way. 

This is based on the assumption that women and men benefit equally. In reality, energy interventions are gender-blind and fail to recognise that the needs of women and men are different thus missing issues that would be significant in implementing interventions that are of relevance to women.

A perfect example is that the question of using a gender approach has not been taken into account in the extension of energy sources in Uganda rural areas. The importance of extensively consulting women and getting their suggestions is never considered. 

Questions are never asked to ensure that the energy sources distributed are affordable, accessible and efficient to the needs of women instead, the government concentrates in distributing unaffordable energy sources like hydro power electricity which isn’t affordable to rural women. 

Therefore, Uganda’s energy sector should take into account the gender dynamics specifically the involvement of women.

The reason is that women’s productivity and wellness is greatly affected by challenges entwined with energy issues leading to high poverty levels. Understanding of the aspects of gender in relation to interventions of improving energy access can empower women, girls and improve affordable energy access thus reduce poverty.

Edwin Mumbere

Kasese Field Officer

Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO)

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Government Should Provide Solar Panels To Refinery Affected Households

By Sandra Atusinguza

Recently, I visited the resettlement site at Kyakaboga where the refinery affected community relocated, to my surprise the houses had electricity wirings though some were naked but no lightings in them.

I asked a one Umberi Leticia a single mother of 8 children why this situation and she replied government promised them electricity but only provided the wiring.

The Government of Uganda through the Energy Policy and Poverty Reduction Strategy   has over the past eight years embarked on a Power sub-Sector Reform Programme, which has resulted in the implementation of significant structural changes within the sector.

The Reform Programme was aimed at providing adequate, reliable and least-cost power supply to meet the country’s demand, promoting the efficient operation of the power sector and scaling up rural and peri-urban access to maximize the impact on poverty reduction.

Despite the implementation of these reforms, the country continues to experience significant power supply shortages, low rates of access to electricity and high levels of power losses, all negatively impacting the country’s economic growth.

The low level of access to modern forms of energy, particularly electricity, has continued to be one of the major infrastructure bottlenecks to socio-economic growth in Uganda.

Additionally, the Renewable Energy Policy for Uganda, 2007 with the overall goal to increase the use of modern renewable energy and with the objective to promote the conversion of municipal and industrial waste to energy.

Under the power generation programme, promote power generation from mini-hydro power schemes, biomass, cogeneration, wind, solar, geothermal and peat.

Solar potential to government projects’ affected communities must be vital and are reliable clean energy options rather than hydro electricity. On average solar radiation is 5.1 kWh/m2/day. Existing solar data clearly indicate that the solar energy resource in Uganda is high throughout the year.

The data indicate a yearly variation (max month / min month) of only about maximum 20% (from 4.5 to 5.5 W/m2), which is due to the location near the equator. The insolation is highest in the dryer area in the north-east and very low in the mountains in the east and south-west.

The fact the communities in the Albertine graben receive abundant sunshine annually; government must have proprieties solar to the refinery affected communities in kabaale –Hoima which relocated Kyakaboga rather than promising them electricity in their homes. It is now close to one year since the houses were commissioned, families have never seen an electric wire cross over their houses or   pole even in the surrounding.

They live in a dark ghost village known as “satellite village” all night hence a security threat to them and the surrounding. The project that is estimated to have cost a whooping UGX 70.915.217.225.12. After government failing to connect the houses to electricity for that long can the money be transferred and alternative clean energy options such as solar panels installed to the households and help in domestic chores.

These rural poor have low standards of living with an estimated 90.9% of the affected households are substance farmers thus its evidence based that they cannot afford the maintenance costs of paying electivity bills, or replacing damages.

Sandra Atusinguza

AFIEGO Field coordinator


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