Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Victoria University To Host Urban Governance Dialogue, Career Day

Victoria University with support from AVSI Uganda has once again partnered with Centre for Urban Studies and Research in organizing its 2nd Public Dialogue on Good Urban Governance and Youth Participation.

The guest speakers at the dialogue will be Mr. Anderson Howard Mugisa the Founder Member and Executive Director of the Federation of Young Entrepreneurs Uganda (FYEU) and Mr. Samuele Otim Rizzo Chief of Party SKY- Skilling Youth for Employment in Agri-Business AVSI Foundation.

The theme of the public dialogue is “Unlocking Youth Potential through ICTs in Good Urban Governance”. The event shall be held on Friday May 27th 2016, at the university campus on Jinja Road, 8:30am - 4:30pm

Victoria University has lined up powerful experts to present at Career Day

Victoria University invites students, youth groups and women groups, civil society organizations, government ministries, departments and agencies, private sector organizations, academicians, political leaders, local governments, NGOs & CBOs to the dialogue.

In the same spirit, the University will also host vacists, A’ level & O' level holiday makers, parents & career teachers at what they have called Career Day at Victoria University campus on 28th May 2016.

Guest speakers at the Career Day will include James Saaka, Executive Director, National Information Technology Authority-Uganda and Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, Senior Lecturer Dept Of Paediatrics, Makerere University College Of Health Sciences; Mulago Hospital.

Others are Andrew Mwenda, a leading Ugandan journalist, founder and owner of the independent, a current affairs newsmagazine and Ethan Mussolini, a renowned motivational speaker.

These experts will speak to students about making the right career choices, setting life’s goals and living a purposeful life. Entrance to the Career Day is free and the event will start at 9:00am-4:00pm.

MTN Rewards Outstanding Callertunez

Rema emerged the overall winner in the MTN Callertunez Awards 2015 with 350,487 downloads. The awards were launched last year in July to reward artistes whose music is consumed most by listeners in form of MTN Callertunez. 

The Awards included monthly recognition of artistes with the most downloaded CallerTunez every month and customers with the most CallerTunez downloads. The artiste with most downloads received Ugx 2.5m and customers who downloaded the most CallerTunez received awesome prizes from Huawei and MTN Mobile Money worth Ugx 100,000 to other eleven customers. 

Rema’s single Mchuzi was one of the most popular CallerTunez amongst customers from the time the awards were launched and she won most of the monthly CallerTunez prizes. 

With a vision of delivering a bold new digital world, MTN is focusing on changing society through digital innovations like the MTN CallerTunez Awards. Caller tunes, also known as CRBTs. are wildly becoming revenue earner for artistes, complementing other revenue streams like concerts and album sales.

On the other hand, customers are also fast adapting to this new style of consuming music and other audio content. MTN recognizes this new thirst and is thus providing a platform that satisfies this need by providing the platform for the artistes to supply and the customers to consume the content respectively. 

While addressing the media and guests at the finale of the MTN CallerTunez Awards Ms. Mapula Bodibe, the MTN Chief Marketing Officer, commented. “Phones have become a channel through which we’re delivering other customer needs like entertainment, over and above the traditional voice, in simple and affordable ways”.

She added that MTN CallerTunez have made strong gains at a time when CD sales are waning and paving way for Digital Content consumption with CRBTs being one of the major revenue streams for industry stakeholders.” 

Today MTN Uganda is rewarding eight (8) outstanding artistes in different categories and each receives the MTN CallerTunez Award and a cash prize of two million, five hundred thousand Uganda shilling. “We are very grateful to all our customers who have embraced this service and for the support you have given us and the artistes. We recognise the hard work artistes. 

put in to make the content and appreciate the fans, who are our customers for consuming the music,” concluded Ms. Mapula 

The 2015 MTN CallerTunez artistes and category winners are; 

  1. Most Downloaded Zouk & Band - Mchuzi by Rema Namakula.
  2. Most Downloaded RnB - Neera by Radio and Wease
  3. Most Downloaded Religious - Nali Manyi by Mirembe Catherine.
  4. Most Downloaded Afro-Beat & Afro-Pop - Manya by David Lutalo.
  5. Most Downloaded Dancehall & Ragga - Friendly Match by Ziza Bafana ft. Zanie Brown.
  6. Most Downloaded Reggae - African Gal by Bebe Cool.
  7. Most Downloaded Hip-Hop - Broken English by Gravity Omutujju.
  8. Most Downloaded Traditional - Balemeddwa okwekolera by Vincent Segawa

MTN CallerTunez Factsheet; 

MTN CallerTunez is a service which allows an MTN mobile customer to personalize the conventional ring-back tone that the calling party will hear while waiting for the called party to accept the call. 

MTN has made it possible for the subscriber to personalize this tone with interesting content including music, personal recordings and other audio content of the customers’ choice. Types of CallerTunez include music, comedy skits and other sound bites.  

MTN launched the MTN CallerTunez service in April 2010 which is currently subscribed by over 1,400,000 customers. 

To subscribe to MTN CallerTunez; 

Ill will On Fossil Fuels Break Loose

Things begin falling apart as NASA announces 2016 is hottest year in recorded history. So the threat of climate change proves soaring enough to move countries to break the ice. Here begins a story of men and women standing erect through manmade pains facing the changing planet. Thousands of whom have emptied sorrows to the streets or coal quarries or oil terminals in May 2016 sampling a united will to get rid of dirty energy once and for all.

History may just be rewritten. But the half thrilling and half intimidating side of the truth will forever echo the curse of dirty energy lobby as among the most impossible dystopian illusion of this generation. When the globe finally cools, the battle is successful. When extinction approaches, will the oil industry have planet ‘B’?

Whether or not climate activism is the cup of tea here, the dark past of climate denial, by all standards have bred about 0.04% (400 parts per million) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, many times higher than 400,000 years ago.

Fossil fuel companies bigger than monsters have bankrolled anti-climate change philosophies; climate activists – as meek as lambs of God are being arrested…the list is endless, but the most recent illogical treatment is the arrests of nearly 60 advocates protesting Keystone pipeline in the US. So confirms the saying: “change is painful but inevitable.”

Equally, it might hurt world governments to give up oil wells for the public wellbeing. But the pains and wretchedness resulting from extreme weather conditions such as ill-health, including those caused by droughts, floods, food insecurity and inundation from rising seas is even much long bottled in communities around the world.

Even oil industry knew of 'serious' climate concerns more than 45 years ago. In fact, researchers warned American Petroleum Institute in 1968 how the release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels could eventually lead to ‘worldwide environmental changes.’

Despite this good faith, they chose to pay a deaf ear, that’s why things had to fall apart. Some did the opposite – trying to challenge climate change science – with illicit documentations. Further evidence unveils that American Petroleum Institute, the peak body for the oil industry in the US, knew about the dangers of climate change at least 20 years before the issue was brought into mainstream public discourse via the former Nasa scientist James Hansen.

The then influential world leaders like the US president Lyndon Johnson also received an early cautioning about climate change, with scientists explaining the mechanism of the greenhouse effect as early as 1965.

For how long could any such delicate matter be hidden? Not too long! With the final blow being the latest Nasa’s thermometers reading global average temperatures as ‘soaring at 1.28C’ as of March above the average from 1951-1980, while February was 1.34C higher, dangerous tipping points, an irreversible benchmark could be crossed.

Climate change is usually crosschecked over years and decades, but even scientists have been struck by the recent unprecedented temperatures. Furthermore, annual heat records have been also breaking records, with 2015 demolishing the record set in 2014 for the hottest year seen, in data stretching back to 1850.

Prof Michael Mann, a climate scientist who spends most of his time between shelves and laboratories of Penn State University also became agile-tonged about March data by saying: “Wow. I continue to be shocked by what we are seeing.” He said the world had now been hovering close to the threshold of “dangerous” warming for two months, something not seen before.”

“The [new data] is a reminder of how perilously close we now are to permanently crossing into dangerous territory,” Mann said. “It underscores the urgency of reducing global carbon emissions.”

As such terrifying facts unfold; the fossil fuel business seems dragging towards hell, with sharp losses resulting from steep price drops. Alternatively, exemplary investors like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is divesting its heavily invested holding in BP.

The weights “breaking” dangerous fossil fuels is the most courageous wave of actions challenging business as usual across the world. Motivated by an ever strengthening, ever stretching effort to achieve 100% renewable energy, breakfree campaign resounds the knell that spelled fossil fuels at the close of COP21.

In the UK, the campaign had the country’s largest open-cast coal mine shut over 12 hours. While in the Philippines, over 10,000 people marched in Batangas city demanding the cancellation of the proposed 600 – megawatt coal powered plant in Barangay Pinamucan.

All signals indicate greener earth and a brighter future will lean on the raptures of renewable energy miracles that must shatter the bondage of carbon dioxide emissions nuclear energy price competitions built from the cradles civilization to the present moment.

To harness the moment, activists and concerned citizens committed to addressing climate change—from international groups to local communities to individual citizens— are united to maintain grips to force energy providers, as well as local and national governments, to steer towards a renewable future through investing in wind and solar energy.

This enviable cause justifies the discharge of thousands of men and women showing the world a glimpse into wrecking resistance through solidarity hard for politicians foster. Each action was unique: from the coal fields of UK, to the oil wells of Nigeria, to defiant actions against new coal power plant in Indonesia and the Philippines -- and many places beyond but all echoes one sound: stop polluting our ecosystem! End fossil fuels. And now.

In order to address the present-day climate crisis, fossil fuel projects need to be shelved and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced now that renewable energy is more affordable and widespread than ever before. The only way to achieve this is by keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground and accelerating the just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

 

By Boaz Opio

Environmental Writer, Kampala Uganda.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ +256784947523

Uganda’s Oil Might Anoint Future Dictators

A global wave of actions to keep fossil fuels in the ground has been gathering momentum all over the world. Already seen in countries such as UK, over 300 people shut down the UK’s largest open cast coal mine for a day. Hours later, 10,000 people from all over the Philippines gathered in Batangas City to demand an end to coal.

All these huge actions are in the name of ending the dark activities of fossil fuel companies. As such, the potential harms of Uganda’s budding oil well as well as the building of pipelines towards Tanzania should never be overlooked. With economic specs on, oil and gas looks like a worthy undertaking. But zooming towards the real world infested by climate change syndromes, you are instantly shocked by the obvious contributions of burning fossil fuels to climate change.

While “Phasing out fossil fuels,” is a decision already reached by 195 countries including Uganda during the 2015 United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Paris, the land locked country is embarking on gigantic fossil fuel investment. Anyone with a reasoning mind can hesitate here. 

The fossil fuel industry, with its companies and lobbies, not only harm our planet by producing greenhouse gas emissions that create climate change. They also breed bad blood infecting democratic systems by using corrupt practises, bribery and tax evasion to accomplish their goals, ultimately affecting our governments.

Across Africa, the impact these damaging lobbies are as abysmal as coal pits. From South Africa to Libya and from Nigeria to Uganda, there are rising worries that African heads of states’ tough grips on power is akin to the prospects about the mineral wealth in their respective countries, a feeling that has not spared Uganda as regarding President Yoweri Museveni’s 30 year old regime. 

Newspapers recently quoted the president say: “You hear people say ‘Museveni should go’, but go and leave oil money,” at a campaign rally in eastern Uganda. The same source says Museveni’s obsession with the country’s largely untapped oil reserves will either prove a benefit or a curse to Uganda. But experience shows that a curse is inevitable.

Talk of the devil, to start with, already there has been perilous court turmoil over oil firm contracts and negotiations on building a refinery. Oil and gas was discovered way back in 2006, around the same time as Ghana, which started production in 2010. Uganda is expected to start its pumping hers in 2018.

Even darker, these resource agreements are shrouded in secrecy, keeping millions of Ugandans in the dark about events in the sector.
A group of civil society organisations – including ActionAid Uganda, Global Rights Alert, Seatini, Advocates coalition for development and Environmental Transparency International Uganda – has launched an online petition urging president Museveni to make the extractives sector more transparent but the outcomes are still disappointing.

“Winfred Ngambiirwe, the executive director of Global Rights Alert told journalists in Kampala: “We would also like government to make a binding commitment by agreeing to take tangible steps to better involve the citizens in the development of oil and gas sector.”

While many Ugandans are pinning their hopes for a better life on the fledgling industry and oil is expected to earn the country more than $3bn annually for close to two decades once production begins, our hopes may be a waste. But damages including climate change, health hazards, corruption and possibilities of wars in the oil rich region are even heavier and disheartening than the expected revenues by all measures. 

The climax of such a “tragedy of endowment” – as development economists of Makerere University call will be reached when truths begins to unfold as trickling oil money is diverted by the further military ambitions of the future leader and strengthening their arsenals rather than focusing on pursing the economic and social welfare of the public.

Again, everyone should be wary because fossil lobby has known for years of the existence and potential damage of climate change and has never acted accordingly. An investigation from last year showed how Exxon Mobil knew about climate change as early as 1977, but this did not prevent the company from spending decades refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change and even promoting climate misinformation. 

Furthermore, they fund climate change denial through big foundations and organisations, and promote solutions that are in line with their corporate interests, but many times not enough to preserve the planet.

In 2015, a study proved that ExxonMobil and Kochs family are the key actors who funded the creation of climate disinformation think tanks and ensured the prolific spread of their doubt products throughout mainstream media and public discourse. For many years, anonymous billionaires donated lumpsum valued at $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science.

Thus, for a developing country neither free from the dangers of climate change nor safe from kleptomaniac political systems as Uganda, the people should demand accountability now and during production. Doing so, we are clearing the path of development off unaccountable governments, but above all, protecting our ecosystems against the harms of fossil fuel industry and block the rise of oil-greedy governments.

This article has been written by Boaz Opio, Climate Change Campaigner
Kampala Uganda

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