130 Evicted Encroachers Benefit from Wetland Restoration Project

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The wetland restoration project dubbed “Building Resilient Communities wetland ecosystem and associated catchments” targets 11,200 households.
Nyabubaare Women Piggery Group eceive their pigs under the wetland restoration project (Photo Edson Kinene)

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People who voluntarily move out or are evicted from wetlands are set to benefit from a US$ 44.262 million wetland restoration project.

The wetland restoration project dubbed “Building Resilient Communities wetland ecosystem and associated catchments” targets 11200 households.

The beneficiaries will get new livelihood changing projects. The project is being implemented in 24 districts of southwestern and eastern Uganda. 

They are Bushenyi, Mitooma, Rukungiri, Rubanda, Rukiga, Rubirizi, Kisoro Kanungu, Ntungamo, Paliisa, Bukeda, Ngora, Mbale, Namutumba, Kaliiro and Butaleja among others.

The nine-year project will see the beneficiaries get pigs, goats, tree seedlings and Beehives to improve their livelihoods other than farming in wetlands.

It follows a directive by the president, Yoweri Museveni to the Water and Environment Ministry to apply force where necessary and evict people who have encroached on wetlands, swamps, lakes and rivers across the country. 

On Monday, Ronald Kato Kayizi, the Focal Person of the Wetland Restoration project handed over 73 pigs to four groups and 59 beehives to 3 groups as the first beneficiaries in Bushenyi district and 73 goats to others in Mitooma district.

He says that the project will ensure that people get the benefits of moving out of the wetlands and start new livelihoods.

//Cue in: “and we hope…   

Cue out: …livelihoods through alternatives,”//

Jane Ntungwa, the Chairperson Nyabubaare Women Piggery group, the first beneficiaries from the wetland restoration project welcomed the move and vowed never to encroach on the wetland again.

She says as women they are going to take lead in sensitizing other people about the restoration of wetlands.  

//Cue in: “nahabwekyo tweheireyo kukora… 

Cue out: …zeitu twihemu sente,”//

Richard Behakanira, a resident of Bumbaire and a beneficiary is optimistic that the project will change their lives. He says that they were worried that their livelihoods would be affected following their eviction from wetlands. 

//Cue in: “Generally it is…

Cue out: …consumption to commercial.”//

Chris Mugasha, an environmental activist welcomed the project but wants the government to also consider other people like brick makers who operate in wetlands.  

//Cue in: “The challenge is…  

Cue out: …in the wetland.”//

The Bushenyi District Senior Environment Officer, Vincent Katate, says the biggest wetland of Nyaruzinga that covers three sub-counties of Nyakabirizi, Bumbaire and central division is the most affected.

He says that eight of the 50 wetlands across the district have been destroyed while the rest are slowly being encroached on.

According to the Auditor general’s report 2018, wetlands declined from about 13% in 1994 to 8.9% in 2017, which has led to the occurrences of negative consequences such as floods, prolonged dry seasons, loss of Biodiversity and deteriorating water quality.