On 8th March every year, Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate International Women’s day. This year’s theme was, ‘Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls: Challenges and Opportunities’. The National celebrations were held in Mityana district.
Buliisa district celebrated the women’s Day on 16th March, 2018 at Kihungya Primary School playground in Kihungya Sub-county, Buliisa. Hon Monica Amoding, the Woman Member of Parliament (MP) for Kumi district presided over the celebrations that was organized by Buliisa District. A number of MPs attended the celebrations including: Hon. Norah Bigirwa. the Buliisa District Woman MP and host, Hon. Mukitale Birahwam MP for Buliisa, Hon Akello Silvia for Otuke district, Hon. Kisembo Basemera Noeline, MP Kibaale district, Hon. Kahunde Hellen Kiryandogo district, Hon. Barnabas and Tinkasimire, MP for Buyaga county. The Local Council 1V Chair Person, Mr. Simon Kinene and the Buliisa Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Peter Bisoborwa also attended the function.
Buliisa Small-Scale Farmers, under their Umbrella Group, “Tulime Hamwe Mbibo Zikadde Buliisa” Women’s Group in partnership with National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), carried out exhibition of indigenous seed varieties and traditional methods of traditional seed storage. During the celebrations, the women demonstrated traditional means of seeds preservation, which involves wrapping of seeds in dry grass and hanged the wrapped seeds on a pole to protect it from pest’s attack and diseases and increase its shelf-life.
They also exhibited indigenous seed varieties that were almost getting extinct, such as sorghum, beans, cassava, pumpkins, Bambaranuts (also known as in local Kinyoro Endemesa dialect), local green vegetables among others, and their import values. The women demonstrated and explained the importance of these various seeds varieties, and their important role of enhancing better nutrition and working as medicine. These traditional foods are also used during traditional cultural ceremonies, and most importantly they ensure food security in times of food shortage for example drying sweet potatoes.
The women also told their guests that these indigenous seeds varieties when planted in appropriate seasons, they produce better yields and can withstand harsh weather conditions and are not easily affected by pests like conventional and hybrid seeds which is common on the markets today.
“Women are the custodians of seeds”, and since time immemorial women have played the central role of the conservation of traditional food systems and ensuring food security in their families”, Kagole Margret, a member of the women’s group explained to the guests and MPs while visiting their stalls.
While addressing the show-gowers, members of Parliament from Buliisa hailed NAPE for supporting women in promoting indigenous seeds varieties and pledged to continue supporting NAPE’s activities in the area.
“You should always keep seeds for the next season. Do not wait for government to provide you with seeds. I therefore want to thank NAPE for promoting indigenous seeds varieties, medicine etc..,” said Hon. Steven Birahwa Mukitale, Bulisa County MP.
The Bulisa Woman MP, Hon. Norah Bigirwa appreciated the contribution of civil society organizations, especially NAPE, in empowering women and said these efforts contribute to her dream of empowering Bulisa women to benefit from the oil sector.
“In Bulisa, we want to appreciate local content concept including traditional seeds, and we say NO to GMOs! That’s why I appreciate the efforts of NAPE for this initiative of promoting indigenous seeds. I pledge my commitment to support these women,” she said.
With support from European Union (EU) and the Open Initiative for Eastern Africa(OSIEA), NAPE has been implementing a project aimed at Strengthening Community Cultural Governance Systems to defend and Protect their food, land and Natural Heritage in Hoima and Bulisa districts of western Uganda. The project, supports community efforts of small-holder farmers, especially women to enhance their indigenous knowledge of seed and associated culture to be food secure and safeguard biodiversity for future generation.
Dennis Tabaro Natukunda, the Senior Programs Officer at NAPE who also heads the project says the traditional seed varieties are intertwined in cultural heritage because they are used by the clan elders when performing traditional practices in their clan traditional ceremonies.
NAPE uses traditional community dialogue as an approach, which involves the identification and involvement of elders who have knowledge of sustainable solutions to the current conflicts on land, food and ecosystems.
During these dialogues, the elders (custodians) of knowledge meet with the young generations and small-holder farmers to synergize on weaving the basket of knowledge, especially on the role of seeds in performing rituals and ceremonies in cultural sites and their attachment to the protection of ecosystems.
Story compiled by:
Precious Naturinda, Uganda Green Community Radio
On International Women’s Day, NAPE stood with its partners, Womankind, the National Association for Women’s Action in Development and a growing movement of rural women in Uganda who are coming together to document and resist the land grabs that are making way for mining and large scale agriculture.
Our new joint report, Digging Deep: the impact of Uganda’s land rush on women’s rights is launched today, please find it here:
Using feminist participatory research, NAWAD and NAPE trained 35 rural women in research methods, who in turn interviewed over 350 women in five areas affected by oil plants and industrial activity in Uganda. The results are shocking:
The report brings the voices of Ugandan women affected by corporate land grabs to the fore. Their demands are clear:
Please read and share the report and join the movement.
In solidarity on International Women's Day,
Ethiopian president Mulatu Teshome has warned countries sharing the River Nile of the tough times ahead as urbanisation and populations rapidly grow, hence putting enormous pressure on the waters amid climate change.
Nile Basin cooperation is not an option and managing a common pooled resource is not an easy undertaking,” Dr Teshome said.
He added: “We should be having a basin-wide planning perspective to synergise and make good use of water when it is getting scarcer per-capita.”
Projections indicate that demand for energy, food and freshwater will increase significantly over the next decades under the pressure of, among others, population growth, economic development and other factors. Currently, agriculture uses 80 per cent of the Nile waters.
About 5,000 residents in the Island district of Buvuma have rejected a government proposal to compensate them for their land to pave way for oil palm growing, claiming their property was undervalued.
This comes after government unveiled a programme for the relocation and resettlement of the affected people late last year.
Residents led by Mr Mohammed Ssengooba said they will not hand over their pieces of land to Buvuma palm oil project managers until they are given fair compensation.The oil project is a component of the Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) under the Ministry of Agriculture. Read more here.
NAPE is part of the Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaign (GLPEC), which is a global effort aimed at eliminating lead in paints through the entire chain: from the manufacture, sale, import, export and use of paint. Since 2015 NAPE has been participating in the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (ILPPWA) -an annual event carried out for a week in the month of October to raise awareness about the harmful effects of lead to human health and the environment. This year’s ILPPWA activities is happening from 22nd – 28th October 2017, and NAE has carried out series of sensitization campaigns in primary schools around Kampala on the harmful impacts of lead to children. Yesterday, NAPE held a press conference and released a study report that it conducted between March 2016 and August 2017 with support from International PoPs Elimination Network (IPEN) to the establish lead contamination in solvent-based paints for home-use manufactured and sold on Ugandan market.
For the study, NAPE purchased a total of 30 cans of solvent-based paint intended for home use from stores in Kampala. The paints represented 14 different brands produced by 14 manufacturers. All paints were analyzed by an accredited laboratory in the United States of America for their lead content, based on dry weight of the paint. The laboratory participates in the Environmental Lead Proficiency Analytical Testing (ELPAT) program operated by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), assuring the reliability of the analytical results. The result of the analysis found high concentration of lead, a heavy metal that is widely known for causing cancer in the paint on sale for home-use in Uganda.
People are exposed to lead in paint from various routes. Buildings painted with lead paint either on the interior or exterior have higher concentrations of lead in the dust. Children are most susceptible to exposure as they have frequent hand-to-mouth contact and play close to the ground where paint dust collects. Homes with lead paint on the exterior often have excessive lead levels in soil found adjacent to the structure from weathering and the dust generated from previous painting projects.
The report has a number of recommendations, including mediate formulation of national regulations to control the manufacture, sale and use of leaded paints in Uganda, and encouraged paint companies to find alternative or substitutes for lead in their products. Consumers are also encouraged to buy lead-free paints for home use. Read the full report here.
Why Lead is used in paints
Leaded is added to paint as a pigment and to increase durability and moisture resistance. Even a small amount can damage the brain and nervous system, and lead is especially harmful to children. Scientists have long been aware of lead’s toxicity.
Substitutes for lead in paint
Substitutes for lead-based pigments have been available for over one hundred years and titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are commonly used for this purpose. In most countries where lead paint is commonly sold for residential use, competing brands that have eliminated the use of lead pigment and other lead additives are often available within the same price range.