The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) is committed to sustainable solutions to Uganda’s most challenging environmental problems through, among other things, monitoring government actions, conducting research, providing educational materials, and organizing affected communities. Since 2010, NAPE has conducted a Sustainability School Programme in order to build capacity of local communities to address the negative impacts on people’s livelihoods resulting from degradation of the environment. According to NAPE, “the sustainability school focuses on key thematic areas such as land use and food sovereignty, forests and large plantations, large dams and energy, oil mining and governance and climate change among others. The sustainability school is premised on the basis that communities have the potential to contribute meaningful solutions to their own problems.”
The community training sessions take place within the communities, and are conducted by community trainers that NAPE has trained over the years. The training addresses issues of community rights, governance and other challenges identified by the communities themselves. It has empowered communities to demand transparency and accountability from oil companies and the government on matters of the environment. NAPE has also trained and built the capacity of communities to engage, mobilize, report and hold government and the developers accountable for their negative impacts on the environment. The Sustainability School has used drama as one of the important tools in information sharing and dissemination to diverse audiences. For example, a women-led drama group of Kaiso Tonya village in Hoima District stages performances on community-based approaches to mitigating effects of climate change and also on the challenges being faced by the communities as result of oil and gas activities in the area.
According to a Senior Programme Officer at NAPE, the programme has encountered some challenges. For example, NAPE believes that representatives of government agencies have come to community meetings in disguise. NAPE has also had difficulty receiving the necessary permits required by the government to travel to oil production areas in order to work with the communities in those areas.