Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Some of the stories written as part of the environmental reporting workshop


Environmental and health hazards currently bedeviling Mbarara Municipality and six other urban authorities in the country could gradually be surmounted when a World Bank funded project that will provide a garbage compositor and collect trucks take off.

With Mbarara Municipality population generating over 150 tons of solid waste per day part of which is collected by trucks for dumping at a site in Kankombe, Kakoba division there by degrading the land and polluting the air in the vicinity, the construction of the compositor which turns the solid waste into manure is expected to greatly check the hazardous impact on the neighboring communities. The garbage that has been a menace will also turn into a blessing as its product once its turned into manure will help generate some income when it is sold to the farming community.

While the long time vision for Mbarara Municipality leadership is to archive a city status, it has been grappling with solid waste disposal, which would be aggravated by the increased population occasioned by the territorial expansion and more attractive services.

But the chief township officer Mbarara Municipality David Naluwayiro Kigenyi discloses that with assistance from the environment watchdog the National Environment Management [NEMA], a project worth 400 million Uganda shillings is being implemented to help seven Municipalities and two town councils to partly overcome the garbage disposal problem.
Besides, Mbarara, other prospective beneficiaries are Lira, Masaka, Jinja, Soroti, Fort Portal and Mbale Municipalities plus the town councils of Mukono and Kasese.

The project site will also benefit from a six-kilometer extension of piped water with the help of National Water and Sewerage Corporation from which the neighboring community will benefit. Kigenyi says the NEMA coordinated project has contributed a refuse collecting truck and 20 collection skips while in the subsequent phase, the Ministry of Local Government has promised to provide another truck.

The Mbarara Municipal Environment Officer, Herbert Tumwebaze says the sites at which solid waste is collected and dumped suffers the environment and health hazards through the degrading of land and air pollution. He says the refuse from the unsorted garbage litters and contaminates the neighboring water sources.

Councilors who represent the area where the dumping site is located cry foul of the nasty smell and pollution of the atmosphere but are optimistic of the new project will mitigate the adverse effects.

The township officer Mr. Kigenyi reveals that about 17million shillings is spent per month on collection of the solid waste by the trucks in the municipality. Part of it is collected directly by the council trucks and private contractors manage another part.

He attributes the ever-rising solid waste problem to an increasing population, a big percentage of which is poor, which does not appreciate the desire for beauty and standards. All the majority of the town dwellers care about is their survival and it is difficult to change their negative attitude. He wonders why some town dwellers for instance in their wisdom choose to throw their solid waste on the surface even when the skips are half empty.

On the government policies, Kigenyi feels the implementation of our environment law is weak compared to neighboring Rwanda where authorities are strict with dumping of polythene and plastic materials.

Mbarara’s Resident District Commissioner, Clement Kandole also agrees with Kigenyi on the ambiguity of Ugandan laws on environment. He wonders for instance how an ordinary person is expected to comprehend the difference in gauges of the polythene materials in terms of microns yet it could be more realistic to say impose a ban on all polythene materials.

With proper implementation of the solid waste management project, active involvement of the stakeholders including the communities neighboring the dumping site and continued awareness on sustainability of the project, the environment related hazards in Mbarara and other towns could be history.


The people of Kiswahili Parish in Mbarara District have threatened to burn down International Window School due to its failure to construct a soak pit in which wastewater can be collected.

The area councilor Yusuf Kakembo said that despite several warnings given to the school, it has continued to dispose waste-water that runs over people’s gardens and compounds up to the water catchment area in the lower land.

The Municipal Environment Officer, Herbert Tumwebaze says the waste- water produces a foul smell and is posing an environment hazard to the water source in the area.

Mr. Tumwebaze added that unless the trend is reversed, the wastewater would create a lot of erosion gullies and loss of soil fertility leading to low productivity.

The Municipal Medical Officer, Dr William Tinkasimire said that waste water can cause harmful diseases like diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid to people if not properly handled.

The Town Clerk David Kigenyi Naluwairo said the school will be relocated if the proprietor fails to develop a proper drainage system. The school Headmaster, Maali Kakuru refused to talk to the press when contacted for a comment.



The Mbarara Municipality Health Officer, Dr. John Tinkasimire has said that harvesting of many trees in urban centres and its surroundings has contributed to the increased drought hence causing hunger.

Tinkasimire said that there was rampant tree harvesting in Mbarara Municipality due to the need of space for building residential houses and brick making.

Dr. Tinkasiimire told journalists in his office today at Mbarara Municipal Council building that most of the trees have been cut into timber and charcoal.

He said that this has greatly affected rainfall formation that is needed to support the growth of horticultural crops which are supplementary foods for town dwellers and that if this trend of rapid tree cutting is not reversed, people are likely to lose life.

Tinkasiimire told reporters that before these trees were cut down, Mbarara Municipality used to have enough rainfall and people were planting simple food crops like cabbage, tomatoes and carrots which would supplement other food stuffs from outside Mbarara town. He advised all residents of mbarara town to embark on tree planting in order to save environment and life.

When contacted, the woman LC4 councilor for Myarutobora ward, Jessica Byaruhanga told reporters that Myarutobora ward in Mbarara municipality was leading producer of vegetable food stuffs before trees were cut down but now he area is a bare ground with no any agricultural activity taking place. She said that if this rapid cutting of trees is not controlled, Mbarara is likely to face danger in the near future in terms of food shortage/ hunger.



The District Natural Resource Officer, South Western Region, Jeconius Musingwire has decried that the encroachment on river Rwizi which has caused the lowering of water levels in the region. River Rwizi is the only source of water supply to the districts of Mbarara, Lyantonde, Isingiro and Kiruhura.

He also added that even National Water and Sewerage Corporation uses the same river at Ruharo and Kabale.

Jeconious Musingwire said this while meeting journalists in his office at Kamukuzi where he he also emphasized that the environment is being affected by the encroachment on river Rwizi and the surrounding wetlands.

By press time when contacted, the Manager National Water and Sewerage Corporation Mbarara area, James Opoka said that the corporation has embarked on storing water in their corporation tanks so that the water levels can be controlled to maximum use for environmentalists.

He also informed reporters that the corporation is doing every thing possible to control the situation of water levels by afforestation at the most of collecting centres in Ruharo and Kabale road.

In another development when the people at River Rwizi were contacted, the L.C.1 Chairman Kashanyazi cell, Semunjju Mohammed said that the lowering of water levels at River Rwizi have affected the economic activities of the area because most of the people in his cell benefit from brick laying which consumes a lot of water and the only source is River Rwizi.



Rwentondo wetland degradation has put the health of 600 families in Kenkombe cell Kakiika Sub County at risk due to the use of contaminated water from their well and residents say they have complained to various authorities to no avail.

“For some time now, we are experiencing itches on our bodies due to using bad water that makes our bodies pale when we wash with it,” Sarah Nierere, a mother of three from the village says.

She said residents draw water from a well that is fed by water which goes through Rwentondo wetland. This water that feeds into the wetland is from the run offs from Mbarara Municipality and is contaminated with minerals washed from the town.

Nierere says the water is very hard and one has to use a lot of soap when washing clothes and bathing. “Kuturikuganaaba omubirir twine okwejunisa esabuuni nyingi ahakuba nigaba gagangaire kandi nigashisha nemibiri yabaana bashatanyagurika, reero emyenda yo nekihebya” she says literary meaning [ when using this water for bathing, one has to use a lot of soap and when it comes to bathing children, they run the risk of their bodies corroded by the bad water]

“This water is not only affecting human beings but also their livestock. Our animals have been affected because some have died while others look very unhealthy” Yusufu Mugabo who owns the well where his fellow residents draw water from says. Mugabo who doubles as the LC 1 chairman says the municipality authorities promised that they would use the land fill system of garbage disposal but have since renegade on their promise.

He says he has complained to municipality authorities but they have failed to come to their rescue since they are the people causing the problem. “We have complained to municipal authorities but they have failed to help us and the problem has been compounded by waste dumping from the municipality which was introduced of recent and it is upstream.”

Mbarara municipality land near the village, which it is using as a garbage-dumping site. However, the Medical Officer of Health Dr. John Tinkamanyire says the problem of waste management is temporal and will soon be solved.

“We have received funding from the Bank through National Environment Management Authority [NEMA] to construct a compost that will be turning the waste materials that rot into the manure and garbage will be no more”. On drinking contaminated water, he says soon the residents around the project will receive clean piped water.

The town Clerk David Naluwayiro admits that the residents are consuming dirty water due to the degradation of the wetland but that this is about to be history because the council has received funding from the World Bank. He says the method of waste disposal is the land fill system but compost system.

“We are going to provide water to the residents of villages around the waste disposal plant to a radius of 5 km and every body will benefit from the project and are implementing it with National Water and Sewerage Corporation.

Under the same project, the Rwentondo wetland will be allowed to regenerate because a demonstration farm will also be put to teach the farmers methods of better farming and providing alternative land to using a wetland.

Naluwayiro says the 400 million will benefit the residents by providing manure that will be generated from the compost so that instead of following fertility in wetlands, they would use it as fertilizers in their gardens uphill.

“We are going to employ residents of the area in garbage sorting to separate the buvera and other hard materials from other wastes that rot and churn into manure which we shall give to farmers at a small fee that they will use in their gardens, he says.

A visit to Kenkombe dumping site has revealed work in progress but the dumping is still going on. When asked when the project is to be commissioned, Mr. Naluwayiro is non committal. “The contractors had some problems but otherwise work would have been finished by now but as soon as we finish the residents will be happy.”

Dr. Tinkamanyire however says they are still faced with disposal of the buvera to be sorted but hopes a solution will be found like selling them to recycling plants in Kampala.

While the project is still going on, residents of Kenkombe village will have to put up with the contaminated water and the foul smell from the waste disposal.



The Town Clerk Mbarara, Mr. Naluwayiro Kigenyi has decried the poor disposal of polyethylene papers which has increased the spread of malaria disease because of the mosquitoes they harbor.

He told the Monitor daily paper on Friday during the field study taken up when the journalists had a 3 day training workshop at Pelikan hotel, on environmental reporting.

He said that those polyethylene papers and used condoms spoil the environment in that they cover the soil and the rain water cannot pass through causing soil infertility hence famine in most places.

Dr. Tinkasiimire William said even those condoms young children usually pick them and blow air in them calling them balloons and then start playing with them which always cause some health diseases to those children.



One of the leading environmentalists in the country has warned that continuous burial of people in concrete graves is going to create an environmental disaster in future.

Cyril Mugenyi who is the Bushenyi district natural resources coordinator said that from the ecological point of view, our bodies were made out of elements extracted from the soil by plants.

“Those chemical elements were borrowed from the soil therefore there is need to burry the dead in soils to replace the chemical elements that were removed when man was created,” he said.

Mugyenyi said that our ancestors who discovered the act of burying the dead in the soil must have been great environmental experts.

“Our ancestors discovered the innovation of digging pits where the dead were buried and covered with soil saying they were even fulfilling the biblical saying that man was from soil and therefore should be returned to the soil” he said.

He revealed that in the rural setting people usually settle on the most productive land and go on to burry their departed relatives on the same land.

“These graves are slowly but steadily eating up this productive land, in a district like Bushenyi which has approximately 2,218,000,000 square metres of cultivable land and a population of about 0.8 million people. A concrete grave on average covers three square meters of land. Mathematically, this cultivable land can accommodate only 739,333,333 concrete graves and there will be nothing but a sea of concrete”, he said.

He added that although the above figure appears as though it will take a long time to have the land occupied, this will last for a few generations and assuming that nothing else like buildings and roads is occupying this land.

“By the time 30% of this land is concrete, there will be little remaining as farmland. That is land that is not ours, which we are simply giving away permanently to the dead when those alive have nowhere to farm or construct useful structures” Mugyenyi said.

Cyril said such environmental hazards formulate the essence of multiple failures of natural setups for the revolving of the earth.



Hundreds of thousands of rural people and their livestock in Western Uganda depend on polluted water according to environmentalists there.

Environmentalists in the region say most of the waters in the rivers, lakes and wells there have been polluted and are now brown in color. They blame this mostly on poor methods of farming which causes soils from this hilly region to slop down the hills and pollute waters in the valleys every time it rains.

River Rwizi is one of the main rivers in the South Western Region which is a source of water for thousands of local people and their livestock. Snaking through the famous hills of South Western Uganda, Rwizi was always a very beautiful river that brought pride to the people in the area due too its sky blue waters and the purposes they served.

Today, River Rwizi is back in news not for its great beauty and history but for being under a brink of death. The deadly disease whose symptoms include browning and ever decreasing waters was spread to it by the people who depend on it according to the agency that oversees environment in Uganda- NEMA.

The focal person for the National Environment Management Authority – NEMA in the Western Region, Jeconius Musingwire talking to our reporter said that the water of River Rwizi “should never be shaded blue on any map because its color is brown like the soil”.

He disclosed that Rwizi’s waters are brown because of sedimentation. “There is a lot of soil wash off from the river’s poorly managed catchment areas,” laments Musingwire.

He says that the people have started sand digging on the river that has also contributed to its drying up further.

River Rwizi, which originates from Buhweju, a mountainous country of Bushenyi District meanders through the bare hills of southwestern Uganda in Bushenyi, Ntungamo and Mbarara Districts. It continues to flow via several cattle grazing places in this region before joining Lake Mburo.

Musingwire says valleys and hills which River Rwizi meanders through are usually set on fire in the dry seasons. According to Musingwire, the same hills and valleys are again faced with poor methods of cultivation in rainy seasons. This Musingwire says “leaves soils from the poorly managed hills and valleys dumped into the river every time it rains”. This he says is not only happening to River Rwizi but to also to several other water bodies in the region.

Musingwire tips that poor methods of farming could continue threatening water sources in this region unless local people there promote soils conservation.



Shy D. M. Miriam [who prefers to be called that name] of Kijungu in Mbarara District is busy preparing lunch for herself and her grand children when I meet her for a brief interview.

She says she has lived next to a sewerage lagoon for the last 20 years and says she is very healthy save for the stench that occurs occasionally during the wet season.

She does not know that the lagoon emits gases and substances that are dangerous to her health although she knows that the pond contains human excreta.

A Threat to Health
The District NEMA focal person Jeconius Musingwire says people living around the pond risk contracting cancer related diseases which are brought about by inhaling toxic gases and substances from the pond.

The residents run the risk of contracting cancer of the brain, kidneys stomach and other sanitary related diseases because of directly inhaling the breeze from the ponds containing sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide if there is continual intake of the gases.

Mbarara Municipality has about five lagoons and at least two of them have been encroached on and human habitation is less than the recommended 100 metres thus putting that settlement at risk.

The National Water and Sewerage Corporation’s [NWSC] Engineer, Moses Omara today was speaking out that the corporation has no mandate to stop people from encroaching on the lagoons because their main concern is to make sure the water released from the pond is safer before it is released to be open.

NWSC owns the lagoons; we are under no obligation to chase away the people, as this would interfere with the work of NEMA. Our responsibility only stops at the fence of the lagoons, “he says, “we also make sure we cut the bushes around ponds and remove the dirt that comes with sewerage”, he adds. Omara contends that this problem is country wide. This has not happened here alone.

Again speaking to the Mbarara Town Clerk Mr. Naluwayiro David, he said people/residents who stay around the lagoons is due to over population even when residents are told they cannot listen.

He further reported how he wants the area to be clean so that they live under good sanitation so that it is preserved.

With this problem of the lagoons, it is not happening here in Mbarara, but in other urban areas across the country.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Climate change reporting training

You are welcome to this blog, which will talk about the experience, issues raised and lessons learnt from the journalists’ training I have undertaken with the Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) on environmental and climate change training.
Eventually, this blog will turn into something big I hope with other science related postings since I am science journalist.
But for now, I am facilitating workshops in over 35 districts in Uganda but with 10 stations where journalists converge to train. This blog is where I am documenting some of my experiences and how much journalists know and report on the environment and climate change.
This project will therefore give you an insight of what environment and climate change problems as well as climate change adaptation issues, journalists in different parts of Uganda have observed and have written about. Plus, the role journalists that think can play in the climate change arena.
The training takes 4 days with about 25 participants for each training station. Here below is the programme as it runs. The project is sponsored by Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF). It started in February 2009 with Masaka district as the first training station.
Arrival of journalists and the training team of 3: We have informal introductions and dinner together. 
 The facilitator, Esther Nakkazi –a Science Journalist and two officials from UMDF the organization coordinator John Bosco Mayiga and workshop assistant Gertrude Banderana.
DAY 2- 8.30-9.00am
Participants’ registrations, introductions and their expectations. Expectations are as varied as expecting to get a certificate from the workshop to learning how to write an environment story.
9.00 -9.30 am
Official opening of the workshops. 
(Usually done by the district LCV chairman or the RDC) but the presidents of the press clubs in the particular region usually invite them. (We have never had any of the officials invited come in on time except in Mbarara. So we usually get to business when the officials invited get there we pause for them to officially open the workshop.
Environment policies, institutions and other players. 
 Uganda has many policies that pertain to the environment. We have the Land Act, the National Environment Act, and Fisheries Act etc. The purpose of explaining these polices is to create awareness among journalists about the fact that they exist (the majority are not aware) and to help them understand that in their work they can link governance issues to these policies and see if they are being enforced.
I also talk about the major institutions both government, non-governmental organizations and international organizations that are players in environment issues. (Usually the participants list them as I write them on the flip chart)
10.30-12.00am District Environment Officer (DEO):
The DEO of one of the districts will come over to highlight the major environment problems in the region/district and the role of the media in covering environmental news. This also gives the journalists an opportunity to get to know the DEO as a source for their stories and to engage him with questions and concerns.
12:00-1.00pm Continuation of policies. 

(Usually the time allocated is not enough to go through policies and we cannot hold the DEOs so we continue with our programme when they have finished)
1.00-2.00pm Lunchtime:
2.00-4.00pm Climate Change session: 

A brief about local and international context of climate change. We talk about 
CO2 emissions, Carbon trade (CDM projects in Uganda), Climate change and agriculture, 
Social Justice in climate change. 
 Climate change adaptation and Copenhagen negotiations in December 2009.
Participants get into two groups. 

Group 1: Identify the major environmental problems in the region. Impact and challenges. 

Group 2: How have people in the region adapted to climate change?
4.00-4.30 Tea Breaks
4.30 -5.30pm How to write an environment story?
• Story approach. 
• News Values.
• Sources.
• Working with editors.
• Using Its for research.
• Investigative skills.
• Resources (websites and bogs)
8.30 -9.00 am Registration and recap of previous work. 
9.00-12.00 noon Case study
• Participants come up with the major environment problem in the region. 
• the problem- causes and effects. 
• Institutions/ players. 
• Sources to contact for the story. 
• What questions to ask the sources identified. 
• How do we the story and align it to become an environment story. 
• Identification of an environment story by each participant.
12.00 -5.00 p.m Field Work
Journalists go to the field and practice what they have learnt. Each of them is required to write an environment or climate change story.
DAY 3: 8.00- 9.00am Registration and recap of previous day.

9.00am -12.00 noon Evaluation of individual stories. 
 We distribute the different stories written to non-owners and critique them. The writers talk at the end of the critiques kind of defending their stories.
12.30 pm Official Closure. 

The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) gives a speech and also hands over certificates of attendance to participants.
1.30 pm
Lunch and Closure.

STATION 4: Busoga media club- Environmental reporting, 6th-9th May 2009, ZAMO Hotel in Jinja.
We had 22 Journalists from the Busoga region – Kamuli, Mayuge, Bugiri, Iganga, Jinja and Kaliro. The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Jinja district Mr. Christopher Bagonza opened the workshop. The contact person was Mr. Moses Lwocha.
The RDC highlighted environmental issues in the region like forest conservation, carbon trade, protection of biodiversity, he summarized by saying everything that was created by God should be protected.
Mr. Bagonza demonstrated to journalists what we all know and acknowledge that the wisdom of our forefathers conserved the environment. The older generation used to attach spiritual beings to water sources and trees. In that way word was passed around the community that if say a tree were cut, the spiritual bodies would be angry with the community. There were no scientific explanations to it but it worked. This was respected and thus conservation of the environment.
A brief survey in the room revealed that very few journalists have done much environmental reporting but some few especially the ones that have just joined the profession want to try it out.
The environmental Officer, Mr. Eris Nabihamba Jinja Municipal Council urged journalists to specialize in environmental reporting and stick to a particular arm of environmental reporting.
He explained the issues below as the major environmental challenges in Jinja district.
1. Encroachment and degradation of wetlands- they are used for agriculture and development because of the growing population.
Some sections of Lake Victoria have turned green because the lake is fertile due to pollution. This could lead to the lake dying. A survey revealed that the most degraded wetlands are in Jinja.
2. Solid waste disposal- Jinja district generates at least 220 tones are generated everyday of waste but 120 tones are collected when the district does its best. When the waste is piled there is lack of oxygen and so there is no decomposition. Methane and carbon are created which are affecting global warming and climate change. A composite plant is being built that will serve 9 municipalities under the World Bank CDM compost project. Green House emissions are reduced. Initially everything will be composted and manure will be made and sold off to households. The challenge is to change the community culture to start roper disposal of rubbish.
Solid waste is a challenge because it is expensive and requires many players each doing their work. One of the major problems is lack of proper disposal of especially medial waste.
3. Pollution- factories and runoff are the biggest pollutants. Those who make crude beer and the skin and hides tanneries.
A tannery is good because it would use skins that would rot but the process of tanning uses too many chemicals. They are supposed to put pre-treatment plant but they do not use them because the power used is too much and the power tariff in Uganda is high.
There is a lot of air and water pollution.
Pollution is the major environmental challenge in Jinja because as an industrial town it has a lot of industries. The high level of corruption where industrialists give some politicians money because they are not properly disposing off and treating their waste is a big problem in this area.
There is also a lot of Noise pollution especially from the places of worship. Some denominations have warned him and threatened a holy war for cautioning them over noise pollution. He said in future noise polluters are going to be penalized.
4. Care of the natural environment-deforestation. The officer has tried to plant trees but the public especially small children just unpluck them because they are not informed or educated. Children should be taught in schools on the importance of trees.
When there are political campaigns, supporters of the different candidates just destroy tree branches and trees to wave while shouting names of their candidates to show support for them.
5. There is a lack of awareness because the environment is an issue that needs a concerted effort.
6. Investors and sugar cane estate owners are offering out-growers a service of clearing their land for replanting. But when the estate owners are clearing the land with tractors for growing sugarcane they clear everything including trees.
NB: The environmental officer gave each participant a soft copy of all the environmental laws.
Climate Change:
We discussed climate change problems, effects and adaptation. Adaptation I explained is unique to particular regions and although some issues are cross cutting some are just unique to some region.
1. Some adaptation issues highlighted were similar to other stations but what was different and stood out in this region was the fact that crocodiles are now resorting to eating and hunting man in Mayuge. Although not scientifically proven it was discussed the loss and decline of aquatic life has made them resort to man for survival. The journalist who presented this was asked to go ahead and make research about it.
2. Farmers are resorting to intensive organic agriculture on small pieces of land in order to intensively utilize and maximize output.
CASE STUDY: Garbage disposal in Jinja.
STATION 3: Kigezi region –Kanungu, Rukungiri, Kabaale, Kisoro.

Ebenezer Bifubyeka talking to fellow journalists at the Kigezi region workshop.
Date and Venue: 21st-24th April, Hotel Riverside Rukungiri.
Mobilizers: Patson Baraire President Kigezi Press Club- The Daily Monitor correspondent Rukungiri. 
Goodluck Musinguzi General Secretary Kigezi Press Club-Uganda Radio Network correspondent Kabaale district. 

We left Kampala on Tuesday 21st with Savanna Bus Company. It took about 2.5 hours for the bus to fill up. It was a long 7-hour journey to Rukungiri. None of the training team knew much about Rukungiri. It was the first time UMDF did any training here but they had had trainings for the Kigezi region in Kabale.
UMDF abandoned the region after journalists demanded that they be paid to be trained. So it was 4 long years since UMDF ever came back here and it was quite different from other stations most of the journalists did not even know the basics of writing a story. But the General Secretary said they had actually preferred to train the young, fresh journalists.
Some unique issues about the training in Station 3: 
We had 4 non-journalist participants- 3 young people from Kanungu press club and the police community liaison officer Rukungiri. All these participants appreciated the most and seemed to benefit more from the training. Rukungiri also had the least number of female participants ever, only four women among over 20 males.
The police officer Sgt Baruku was genuinely interested in establishing good working relationship between police and journalists. He was very active and upbeat through the workshop. I must also say his story ‘Impact of electronic magnetic rays from masts on health and environment’ was one of the best in the group. He was also interested in knowing policies on environment, which is important as he is charged with policing the community.
The LCV chairman, Rukungiri district Mr. Zedekia Karokora opened the workshop, the most knowledgeable of environment problems in his district, of all the politicians we had at any of the training stations.

LCV chairman, Rukungiri district Mr. Zedekia Karokora talking to journalists.
Some of the issues the LCV Chairman highlighted in the opening speech:

• Politics overriding environment conservation, reporting and policing. 

• NRM government is positive about the environment as they have mainstreamed environmental issues and set up structures.
• Road construction disturbs the soil structure which is predisposing the environment to soil degradation. 

• Gravity flow schemes are degrading the ecological systems. There are many gravity flow schemes, which are being started without real research and it’s affecting the ecological system. The schemes get water from higher grounds, however, the demand is too high and politicians are using them to garner votes without following proper engineering procedures. So the problem is being made worse by political pressure. 

• Residents are also using the schemes to get back at politicians. When the water pipes are flowing through some a community and it does not have water, they cut the pipes. 

• In Insingiro district, River Kagera is full of mud (silting) with thin water flowing because the residents have cultivated up to the riverbanks. 

• The RDC suggested that maybe journalists should use scaring messages (similar to the ones used for HIV) to bring about change. He cited an example of showing people crossing Lake Victoria on foot from Luzira in Uganda to Mwanza in Tanzania. Perhaps if such scenarios were created it would change people’s ways as we drum up support of change of behavior to mitigate climate change. 

• Food security threatened by polythene bags. 

• Poor waste disposal- Lack of proper dumping of electronics, no refurbishment centres. 

• Lack of laws governing electro-magnetic pollution. High voltage electric lines can predispose people to leukemia, blood cancer but this is not scientifically proven. 

• Noise pollution: two laws in contradiction. Freedom of praise and noise pollution especially from churches, which law, prevails over the other?

Participants who attended the workshop in Mbarara.
The Kigezi Group identified these as some of the environmental and climate change problems and effects:

• Soil erosion, exhaustion and reduced soil fertility.

• Water pollution and silting of water bodies.

• Decreased biodiversity some tree species and fruits are scarce.

• Depletion of wetland resources and drainage.

• Reduced vegetation and increased open ranches.

• Forest deforestation, encroachment on forests for agriculture, bush or forest fires.

• Climate change-erratic or unpredictable whether conditions.

• Brick making in swamps or wetlands.

• Poor waste disposal.

• Water sources drying up.

• Livestock resources- inbreeding, poor breeds, water shortage, poor pastures, unhealthy animals, overgrazed farms.

• Farmland resources: poor or low quality seed, increased diseases and pests.
Some unique observations of adaptation due to climate change:

As a result of warmer conditions because of climate change in Kabaale district some fruit trees have started growing like Jackfruit and Pawpaw. Some of the other fruit trees like mangos used to grow but they never used to bear fruit or it would take them so long. Now they grow and bear big fruit.
In the same district participants say there is better hygiene because previously especially men used not to wash or could do it just once a week because it was very cold. Now as the temperatures are warmer they wash at least once a day. (hilarious but true)
Station 2: Masaka District

This was the first training station we had in February. The turn up was good and the participants were very active and vigilant. Most of them were professionals, a few had written environment stories. They showed a willingness to learn and all were able to come up with amazing stories.

Micheal Ssali gets his certificate after the training workshop in Masaka.
Adaptation issues that Masaka participants pointed out:

• Change of seasons- dry and wet season.
 Farmers used not to plant in the first months of the year but now they are planting in different season. Communities are cultivating in wetlands- crops such as beans, rice and others.
 Some farmers have began irrigation of crops.

• Due to increased drought the cattle corridor in Sembabule and Lyatonde, pastoralists migrate in search of pastures. Pastoralists gang up in groups and zone off some pastures so that during the dry season the zoned off areas are used to feed the animals. This never used to happen earlier.

• Bush burning has increased so that the grass grows fast when the rains come. When the dry season is about to commence, pastoralists sell off cattle at very low prices- before the animals start dying, which makes the pastoralists poorer.

• Due to declining water levels has meant that there is a reduction in water consumption- for domestic use, hospitals, etc which has means people observe less hygiene.

• Low food production means there are reduced meals. Families now have one big meal a day which is a result o threatened food productivity and security.
Group 2: this Group answered the question- what does climate change mean to them.
 Although some examples had been studied as seen in the training manual, the researcher was looking for more in-depth and local examples only unique to this region. This is what the participants said:
• The day-to-day change in the whether conditions which are both negative- feminine- dry spells-high food prices.
• Increased malnutrition due to lack of good nutrition. 

• Changes in whether with increases fog, snow, hail storms in Sembabule. 

• More people are getting mad because of the hot season (of course this has to be scientifically endorsed) but as a positive aspect to this they say a proper unit has been built for mad people. 

• Technological discoveries as a result of climate change. (Not elaborated)