How Japanese CORE Project would benefit Bududa Landslide Communities
By Kitts D. Mabonga
The people of Eastern Uganda region of Bugisu specifically Bududa district are yet to recover from the recent landslides that claimed many lives alongside displacing tens of thousands more and extensive damage to property worth billions of shillings.
The CORE project coordinator Aryong Fred [L] translating the message of the CORE Uganda project chief Yuka Iwamura while she addressed the community members during the launch ceremony at Bukalasi primary school grounds.
Many of the affected families are still waiting to be relocated to Bulambuli district were the government bought land and is currently constructing houses to accommodate the landslide victims with their families.
The government through the office of the Prime Minister [OPM] is trying to ensure that affected families are given basic household items like food, blankets and medical assistance as they try to copy with the new environment.
However the locals are saying government was a bit slow in trying to move the program therefore the need to expedite this process.
The district chairman Wilson Watila has said they welcome the project because landslides have become a menace in the area and would ensure they offer full political support to enable the project achieves its intended goals.
Chairman Watila says Bududa should be considered risky area in terms of landslide eruptions and need to be given special assistance to mitigate the challenge and therefore wants the Japanese friends and the Uganda government to consider extending project to cover the whole district.
‘We would like to ask our friends from Japan to humbly consider the option of extending the environmental project to cover the entire district as 272square Kms of area is occupied by the population while 157SqKm is covered by the Mt.Elgon. National game park of which development has mounted pressure on the little land area were tens of thousands of locals compete for farmland activities.
Watila regretted that last December alone over 47 lives were lost and able to retrieve only 29 in Bushika sub county while many more unaccounted for still remained under the huge weight of the mud of whom they decided to write off officially as ‘persons missing in action’.
DISCUSSING PROJECT MATTER; The CORE environmental specialist Nansumbi Florence explaining how the project would be executed in Bukalasi sub county as the sub county community development officer looks on.
As a result, the residents of Bukalasi Sub County have positively received the project extended to them by the people of Japan who felt concerned about the plight that these people were going through.
The two year project worth 210M/= shall be implemented by two selected primary schools and two community farmer groups who would be tasked to establish nursery tree beds planted with tree species that hold back the runoff waters and at same time also receive 10,000 liter capacity water storage tanks each for irrigating the trees that would later be given to locals to plant in gardens and households.
The project to be implemented by the community road empowerment (CORE) a Japanese NGO in partnership with the district stakeholders in Bududa was launched on Thursday last week by the CAO Bududa Namulondo Tappy who was represented by the district environment officer Namono Marion,said the district welcomes the project which is timely.
The CORE project manager Uganda Ms. Yuka Iwamura said they decided to pick on Bukalasi sub county because their earlier assessment had found out that this sub county was extremely vulnerable to landslides as over 100 lives had been lost alongside property as reported in the media.
‘We are operating on over 28 countries around the world and we entered Kenya in 2009 but for Uganda just begun implementing projects last year beginning with Busi sub county located in the lake Victoria islands of Wakiso district and also Kampala central division specifically fixing community road networks in the slummy locality of Kamwokya ghetto’ noted Yuka.
She noted that the project is funded by Toyota motor company Japan under its Toyota environment activities grant program and they expect to see the beneficiary communities showing commitment towards it so that it’s multiplier effects can have a positive impact in the near future.
The sub county chief Shiruyi Bogere Sam thanked Toyota Japan for selecting Bukalasi because they have suffered extensive loss of both lives and property each year landslides occur.
Shiruyi said the sub county has 10 parishes with over 72 villages which largely do agricultural activity for sustaining their livelihoods and are instrumental in supplying nearby Mbale town with most food items.
School children from these areas expressed happiness to the project saying they expect to learn more about how to prevent and protect the environment through planting of trees that hold up the soil to avert landslides disasters.
Some teachers from Bukalasi primary school one of the beneficiary facilities who declined to be named said they are optimistic that they would teach children better methods of conserving the environment and the potential benefits of environmental education with its impacts on the population.