TotalEnergies EP Uganda on Wednesday entered partnerships with four Ugandan organizations, with whom they will work to enhance road safety, cultural heritage and biodiversity conservation in the Albertine region.
The company officials led by General Manager Philippe Groueix, signed agreements with Safe Way Right Way (SWRW), Cross Cultural Foundation Uganda (CCFU), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWT), at an event held at the Kampala Sheraton.
The organizations will receive funding from Total to promote road safety initiatives in schools; implement a cultural dialogue and heritage programme; support UWA law enforcement activities in the Murchison Falls National Park and promote community, education and awareness around Budongo forest central reserve, respectively.
The partnerships make the first phase of TotalEnergies’ Tilenga Biodiversity Program which was launched on June 8th this year.
Speaking at the signing event, Mr Groueix said this was the beginning of the implementation of the biodiversity program, promising that many more partnerships will be signed in the near future.
“We are here to show that that all we have been saying is now turning into action. This is only the starting point,” he said.
“We made clear commitments towards ensuring that its activities are conducted in line with best environmental and social practices. We are committed to working with partners who are experts in implementing sustainable projects aimed at achieving positive outcomes for conservation, culture and communities.”
On his part, Dr Joseph Kobusheshe the Environment Director at the Petroleum Authority Uganda (PAU) thanked TotalEnergies for putting haste in the implementation of the biodiversity program.
“I happy to see that we already have the first fruits just after one month of the launch. I thank you Total for this momentum because most of the things in the sector as you will see, are going to have to move with such levels of momentum”
Kubusheshe called on the implementing partners to start on their work immediately.
“Some of this work was needed yesterday. So, I call upon you to observe the timelines, the quality of work, the outputs and expectations that have been discussed,” he said.
On her part, Mrs Barbra Babwetera Ntambi, the Executive Director Cross Cultural Foundation Uganda (CCFU) thanked Total for selecting them to contribute to the company vision of safeguarding and promoting the heritage of communities.
“Under this one-year arrangement we are going to be promoting cultural entrepreneurship for improving the livelihoods of people; we are going to work with women young people to safeguard their cultural heritage as well as promoting interaction between different cultural groups,” she said.
Dr Joseph Rukundo from the Chimpanzee Sanctuary said he was happy to work with Total “because they have proven over the years that they have worked in Uganda and in Africa and have learnt from the mistakes they have made, gained experience and developed strategies that are geared to safe extraction of energy.”
Meanwhile, Peter Tibigwambwa the ED, Safe Way Right Way stressed the need to enhance road safety in the country, citing the recent spike in road carnage.
“There are too many children and young people dying on our roads today,” he said.
“A recently study showed that one has a better chance of being killed on Ugandan roads than on the battle front,” he said.
Traffic in the Albertine region is predicted to double over the coming years due to increased oil and gas activities; more vehicles moving equipment and materials for the project coupled with newly upgraded infrastructure leading to more risks on the road.
As such, under the MOU with total, SWRW will be working to enhance Road Safety under the ‘VIA Road Safety and Mobility program’ in schools in order to provide solutions to this challenge.
The program themed Road Safety at Heart prioritizes road safety sensitization and awareness in schools with a specific emphasis on young children and youths in the Albertine Region.
Simon Nampindo, the Country Director WCS Uganda said in this partnership, they will be extending support to the Uganda Wildlife Authority to increase the effectiveness of patrolling activities focused at reducing illegal activity within the park as well as rolling out a series of anti-poaching awareness campaigns with communities in the area.
The program will run for 12 months initially and encompasses a detailed needs assessment, equipment provision and refresher training on the use of Spatial Monitoring and Reporting software.