June 2014 is probably IDEAS for Uganda’s most blessed month since her inception in 2012. On 1st June, IDEAS for Us International Director Mr. Christopher Stampar paid a visit to Uganda with an aim of assisting the chapter to develop a joint action plan and was welcomed by IDEAS for Uganda team led by Mr. Masereka Adidas, the IDEAS for Uganda Country Director; and later had a meeting with the IDEAS for Uganda Board on 2nd June.
Chris Stampar visited IDEAS for Makerere on the 2nd of May and was received with smiles and honor by the chapter leadership. He was the chief guest on the chapter’s Handover ceremony, during which former chapter president- Matovu Paul officially handed over to Ms. Akot Scovia as the new chapter president. The ceremony was presided over by other IDEAS officials including Mr. Sinamakosa Isaac, Mr. Masereka Adidas, Ms. Grace Merci- the Country Director IDEAS for Kenya, and chapter leaders from IDEAS for Uganda university chapters. Among other items of the day was a power point presentation about composting made by Chris. The chapter later showcased their urban micro gardening project which is intended to set off in September.
Other chapters that were visited by Mr. Christopher Stampar included IDEAS for Nkumba University, Kampala International University IDEAS chapter, Hormisdallen school Kyebando, St.Kisito S.S Bugolobi, St. Joseph ‘s primary school Kyamasansa-Mubende. All these appreciated the support from IDEAS for Us and promised to do much more to advance environmental sustainability should they get resources.
The team later headed to Kasese on 11th June and interacted with community chapters in kasese Municipality, Kiburara and L.katwe town council. Mr. Christopher Stampar and the IDEAS for Uganda team were welcomed by Mr. Landus Masereka, the Kasese district IDEAS coordinator. While in a spirited meeting with Kasese municipality IDEAS coalition, the members suggested the integration of indigenous knowledge with technological advancements to save Kasese from the floods resulting from poor environmental management which has led to increase in temperature and the consequent melting of the glaciers on Mt. Rwenzori. Other suggestions from the chapter members included establishment of a tree nursery in the municipality and earthworm farming to supplement on the phytoplankton in Lakes George and Edward where fish catch is drastically reducing because of shortage of earthworms and overfishing!
The recommendations made by the municipality were later on presented to the Mayor of Kasese municipality, His worship Godfrey Kime Baluku who accepted to support IDEAS initiatives in tree planting, clean energy and waste management through segregation and vermicomposting. All this was discussed in the presence of media personnel from UBC/ Engeya FM and Messiah radio. Several media interviews were also conducted by Mr. Stampar and IDEAS for Uganda executive.
Our visit to Kilembe was a sorrowful one as we found a lot of property destroyed by the boulders of the flooding river Nyamwamba from Mt. Rwenzori . A newly constructed road had been washed away, building of the kilembe mines were smashed while some sections of Kilembe hospital were severely damaged. We struggled to find our way across a broken bridge as we tried to access a local primary school (Kyanjuki P/S) that had been destroyed by the boulders. Here, pupils attended class from canvas tents provided by UNICEF while those of upper primary squeezed themselves in one classroom. If only we had the capacity, we would do something for this school but……we were overwhelmed!!
The following day, we were all engaged in a clean up exercise organized by the Skylight chapter in Kiburara town board. Chris taught the chapter members about composting and waste segregation. The traditional practice of incineration was discarded with sentiments that if burnt, plastics become more toxic to the environment yet, biodegradable waste can be used as manure once composted. The exercise was closed by a meeting around the traditional fire place, with keynote remarks from Mr. Stampar.
On this very day, the IDEAS team visited the Katwe- Kabatooro IDEAS chapter meeting to which Stampar was the chief guest. We were so amazed to have a consortium of over 30 organizations coming together to form a chapter. In this part of Uganda, IDEAS efforts are directed towards habitat rehabilitation, reptile farming, protection of endangered species, fishing and awareness creation. Many members of the consortium promised to start up IDEAS chapters in their home districts. The way forward for this meeting included cage fishing, and tree planting.
Upon our return to Kampala, Chris and the IDEAS for Uganda executive were engaged in partnership meetings with local NGOs, CBOs, local government and business community. We therefore can’t hesitate to say thank you to Environmental Alert, Care Uganda, FHI, the Forestry Sector Support Department, the Uganda Greens, Joint Energy Environmental Projects and Youth Go Green Uganda for the partnership opportunities we were able to identify with you.
Mr. Stampar later visited the IDEAS home in Kanyanya and assisted the IDEAS Uganda team come up with technological and gardening ideas that will make this home a learning center. The day’s work ended with monitoring of the 21 km Go green trees that IDEAS planted along the northern bypass in partnership with the Youth Go Green in Kampala city.
– Matovu Castor
IDEAS For Uganda