DRDIP Empowers Communities to Preserve Lake Nakivaale
Aware of the looming effects of a degraded environment surrounding Lake Nakivaale in Isingiro district, members of Misirira village have taken action to avert the consequences. Since June 2019, the largely women group of 116 members (70 females, 46 males) have embarked on a shoreline restoration activity in a 15 acreage of land with support from the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP), a World Bank funded scheme under the Office of the Prime Minister(OPM).
Sharon Businge, the Group Chairperson says the degraded shoreline had rapidly led to loss of tree cover, depletion of aquatic life and caused pro-longed drought within the vicinity.
“The increased population resulting from the influx of refugees mainly caused the depletion. It’s the people who cut down trees and papyrus weed that held the water previously, so we needed to reverse this damage”, said Businge. She notes that an awareness and empowerment training by DRDIP provided impetus that allowed the group to work successfully to restore the shoreline.
According to Businge, the support from DRDIP did not only go into the growing of trees along the shoreline, trainings on savings, but bolstered livelihoods within households as members benefitted through the Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) approach that the project used. Under the LIPW methodology, the DRDIP supported group members work for their sub project and get daily payment of UGX5,500/=, but a mandatory savings of UGX1,500 is retained until after 54 days to allow members to invest later so that they can sustain the daily income lifestyle beyond the project life.
In order to substitute some livelihoods activities that affected the shoreline, the group also embarked on Apiary from where they expect to get income after sale of honey. Other members used their savings to start up livestock farming. A member like Nsimine Alfred, a father of seven children is proud because the project enabled him to easily feed the family and also plan for them for the future.
“When I received my savings, I bought a goat and two hens”, Nsimine recalls, adding that both the goat and the hens have now multiplied. “Now there are six goats and 40 chicken, when the schools re-open, I will sell some of them to support my children’s school requirements”, says Nsimine.
Another group member, Kyomukama Irene 53, a mother of six, the benefits of borrowings from the group has added to her own savings and this enabled her to start up a grocery shop. She hopes to expand the business and support her children’s basic needs including school requirements.
The project has equally empowered the refugee communities as 37-year-old Rehema Ndgungutse (not her real name) a refugee woman attests. She participated in tree growing to revert the environmental damage and to preserve the river, but she also benefitted from savings and group borrowings.
“This activity of DRDIP has brought unity between us and the host communities. I have been given free land to cultivate and to settle, I borrowed from the group and started selling tomatoes and other vegetables in order to feed my nine children”, Ndgungutse testifies.
This community driven climate transformation initiative is in line with the aspirations of the recently concluded 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), a global climate summit that took place in Glasgow, UK and was attended by nearly 200 nations.
In an address to the COP26 summit last November, Uganda’s president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni blamed the deteriorating environmental features to what he called “irresponsible and greedy human actions”, noting that destruction of wetlands, forest covers and huge emissions of greenhouse gasses continue to worsen the climate change challenge. The president revealed that social economic transformation and environmental protection go alongside each other, calling on the people of the World to embrace a balanced use of natural resources so as to preserve the environment.