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Safeguarding the Right to Water for populations in Iron Ore Mining Communities of Kabale district, Southwestern Uganda

GWEFODE has implemented this project to protect the right to water and encourage sustainable management of natural resources through capacity building, advocacy, awareness raising, access to information dissemination and strengthening of water management, governance and preservation systems.


CAPTION: Ms Komuhangi Lydia, the Executive Director of GWEFODE addressing participants during a consultative meeting held in Rurembo, Butare Parish

Specifically, the project aims to promote and protect the right to water for populations affected by Iron Ore mining in Muko sub county and enhance sustainable use and management of water in a participatory, democratic, transparent manner through awareness raising and access to Information and services; defend sustainable use and management of natural resources and protect the right to water for vulnerable populations in Iron Ore mining areas through capacity building in human rights advocacy and reporting by strengthening of Water management and preservation systems; and resolve conflicts over natural resources between Iron Ore investors and land owners arising from iron ore extraction without free, prior and informed consent through dialogue and consultations in order to support and enable people to express their views and concerns about iron Ore extractive activities.

GWEFODE organized a planning and advocacy meeting at Rurembo village in Muko Sub County aimed to review the water and sanitation situation, agree on priorities and the way forward; secure a “buy - in” and mobilize support for the project within the local leadership of Kabale and create rapport; map out the practical Iron Ore mining issues and challenges on ground relating to the levels of awareness and observance of the human right to water for the local population especially women. The Meeting that involved participants such as residents affected by iron ore mining, land owners on whose land, Iron ore minerals are found, women leaders, religious leaders, local government leaders, sub county councilors, heads of line departments, and civil society representatives was highly participatory with discussions.

Following the Planning and Advocacy Meeting, GWEFODE organized a consultative meeting with local leaders, land owners where Iron Ore is found and water stakeholders to recognize the right to water for people affected by Iron Ore extractive activities in Muko Sub County. The meeting involved topics such as Iron Ore mining and its effect on Water supply/ coverage, Operation and Maintenance, Sanitation and Hygiene Status, Gender and Environment issues related to water accessibility, availability / supply and potability.

Ms Komuhangi Lydia, the Executive Director of GWEFODE while addressing participants during the meeting said that GWEFODE is working with partners, stakeholders and local authorities to improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene especially for the underprivileged Women and children who do not have access to services. The consultative meeting came up with recommendations among which included that GWEFODE should gear efforts towards sustainable water supply services through providing Rain Water Harvesting Systems in water stressed areas.

Women participants also expressed interest to undergo hands on training in Tank construction and maintenance, an initiative which GWEFODE has been undertaking. It was agreed that this would empower them to challenge gender stereotypes and equip them with knowledge and skills to improve hygiene and sanitation in their households and in the community and improving their livelihood skills for future employment and income.


CAPTION: Participants listen attentively during the Consultative Meeting

Participants in the Consultative Meeting further acknowledged that water is accessed for multiple uses such as drinking, cooking, washing, sanitation, watering animals, growing food and generating income. Over the past decade or so, an approach known as multiple-use services has been developed. It seeks to ensure that people have all the water they need for healthy, productive lives. Recognizing the importance of these multiple uses is one thing but what does this mean in practice? How best can stakeholders assist the affected populations in Iron Ore mining areas to secure their right to water, self determination, to free prior and informed consent and participate in all the decision making processes? How can equitable access to water within a community be ensured? How can water for multiple uses be provided in a sustainable manner? Should household investments be promoted? These are some of the issues faced by GWEFODE as an Organization to find innovative solutions.

During the consultative meeting, the affected people such as land owners, residents, farmers were able to have their voices heard on Iron Ore mining and other relevant issues, understand their rights, have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions and plans are being made about their lives. During the meeting, GWEFODE made contacts with the local government leaders and policy makers for obtaining essential services for the affected populations such as safe clean drinking water and sanitation and involvement in local government programs.

Our Programs

Participatory Governance & Gender Equity Advocacy

GWEFODE’s work is to Promote Participatory Governance using Rights Based Approach to programming and gender equity in development as well as participation in decision making.
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Gender Based Violence Prevention & Response

GWEFODE mobilizes resources to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence access free medical treatment and psychosocial support.
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Conflict Resolution & Peace Building

GWEFODE seeks to improve the capacity of community based mediators and local leaders to resolve conflicts and enhance effective and efficient justice delivery in the informal justice system.
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Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security

GWEFODE undertakes research on best agricultural practices that are sustainable and environmentally friendly and sharing these with farmers in Uganda.
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Sustainable Energy Efficient Technologies

Over 95% of households in Kabale district use biomass fuels (firewood and charcoal) to cook on traditional stoves. This reliance on firewood presents mothers with impossible choices.
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Vocational Education & Training

GWEFODE supports entrepreneurial development through equipping marginalized women and youth with skills such as tailoring, candle making and making charcoal briquettes aimed at income generation.
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Water Sanitation & Hygiene

GWEFODE improves the management of water sources through refresher trainings and sensitization of community members especially women and children on better use.
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HIV/AIDS & Malaria Prevention

GWEFODE disseminates Information, Education and Communication IEC/ Behavior Change Communication (BCC) campaigns and materials focused on orphans and vulnerable children.
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Maternal and Child Health

GWEFODE creates awareness on maternal and child health and advocates for improved health services to reduce on maternal and child morbidity and mortality.
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Featured Documents

A joint Statement on The Right of Indigenous Batwa People to Land and Natural Resources in Uganda Submitted by GWEFODE and France Libertes to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

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