NEBBI – Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO, the Swedish Embassy in Uganda as well as the European Union have partnered up to spearhead the transformation of lives of the people in sub-regions of West Nile and Karamoja.
The transformations would be possible through what is termed as; ‘Climate Resilient Livelihood Opportunities for Women Economic Empowerment; with the two sub-regions.
FAO, together with its partners on Monday embarked on a field tour – starting from West Nile, where farmers as well as other vulnerable groups had received support to adopt clean energy in Nebbi district.
Whereas the Sweden Embassy has provided the required financial support in the implementation of the clean energy project where the beneficiaries received flexy biogas systems in Nebbi; the European Union has undertaken to bankroll forest restoration in efforts in Karamoja.
The tour, according to FAO officials – the implementers of the two major projects, w slated for would lead to the celebrations to mark the International Day of Forests slated for March 21.
Dr. Emmanuel Zziwa – Ph.D – the National Consultant – Climate Change Adaptation – FAO and the project coordinator revealed that their target was to install 250 biogas systems but only eight had been completed.
“We would have wanted a biogas system for every household in the region (s) but funds can’t allow; we expect to install another 40 because these are alternative sources of energy,” he said before taking mission officials through the process of producing biogas.
The Swedish Embassy representative in Uganda, who doubles as the Head of Political and Economic Section – Daniel Johansson Arhem revealed that his government had earmarked $9m (about Ugx33, 300,000,000) over a period of five years.
Mr Arhem stressed that besides women and youth, the project will benefit people living with disabilities; living with HIV and AIDS and school dropouts.
“This project will target the vulnerable groups; and there are other reasons why we chose the two regions; whereas the issue climate change is vital but look at the pressure that comes with refugees – food and social insecurity for the West Nile sub – region,” said Arhem.
He noted further that project will be implemented in eight districts of West Nile namely; Nebbi, Zombo, Arua, Maracha, Koboko, Yumbe, Moyo and Adjuman; and in Abim, Napak, Moroto and Nakapiripirit in Karamoja.
Arhem said the Swedish government was ready to support Uganda to increase economic empowerment of rural women through production, productivity and productive employment in the agricultural sector, particularly in two- sub-regions.
“Our (financial) support is not enough but we have to start from somewhere and lead the way through these pilot projects; so it’s our hope that the government of Uganda will finally takeover,” he told this reporter at Messi Lower village where the team visited Caroline Awachango – a beneficiary of a system.
Awachango, 31, from Ndhew Sub-county and a primary school teacher in Zombo, said the provision of a biogas system had immensely transformed her life and that of the family – slightly a month after it was installed.
“I used spend most of the time collecting firewood but now I have free time to carry out other valuable domestic chores…Even, my husband who was reluctant to boil a cup of tea for himself, does it – so that means that I have a lot of free time on my schedule,” she told the visitors, who had thronged her matrimonial home, about 50 kms, south of Nebbi town.
Margaret Achimango, 51, of Agana village in Parambo Sub – county – Nebbi – another beneficiary of a biogas system was in an ecstasy mood when the visitors arrived.
She revealed that project had reduced down on the time spent while collecting firewood; let alone weekly expenses.