NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS VISIT TILENGA PROJECT AREAS OF OPERATION
TotalEnergies EP Uganda (TEPU) hosted 18 members of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas (CSCO) for a two-day field visit on 11th & 12th October 2022 to the Tilenga project area in Buliisa and Nwoya districts.
CSCO is a network of 60 member organizations working towards sustainable governance of Uganda's oil and gas resources to maximize the benefits for the people of Uganda.
PURPOSE OF THE VISIT
The visit was organized by TEPU to update CSCO on Tilenga Project developments. The visit provided an opportunity for the visiting CSCO members to observe site activities and engage with technical staff from TEPU and Government authorities including the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA).
The team visited some of the resettlement houses that were constructed for Project Affected Persons (PAPs) under Resettlement Action Plans 2-5 (RAPs 2-5) and interacted with some of the PAPs.
Before compensation, PAPs undergo Financial Literacy Training to equip them with basic financial skills necessary to responsibly manage the cash upon receipt. Ezekiel, one of the PAPs disclosed the benefits of this training which he said had enabled him to plan well and that, as a result, he has been able to pay school fees for his children up to university level.
Ezekiel also benefitted from the project’s Livelihood Restoration Programmes where he was able to access improved varieties of cassava and coaching on good planting techniques. He says he is now able to sell the cassava tubers to MSL, one of the contractors providing food to the TEPU camp. Livelihood restoration projects are programmes designed by the Tilenga project for PAPs to facilitate the re-establishment of household food sufficiency, income diversification, and skills development following the land acquisition process.
Cuthbert, another PAP, spoke of the scholarship he received which enabled him to study and train in mechanical engineering and welding. He used his crop compensation money to establish a garage that currently employs 10 people from within his community.
The CSCO team also visited Avogera Health Centre III, where TEPU constructed a new outpatient department and equipped it, thus contributing to the improvement of health care service delivery within the project host community in Ngwedo Sub-County, Buliisa District. According to Dr Lauren, the Senior Medical Officer, the refurbished outpatient facility provides health care services to residents in the Avogera catchment area (around 2,000 households).
The visit also included a tour of the ongoing project activities in the Murchison Falls National Park such as well pad site preparations and installations, among others. The Tilenga Project team shared on the progress made so far and CSCO engaged the team extensively on the aspects of environment, safety, compliance and the mitigation measures being implemented.
Discussed in particular were some of the activities that TEPU is undertaking in close collaboration with UWA to mitigate impacts to biodiversity such as animal crossing points, monitoring and restoration. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the project’s restoration work, the CSCO members were taken to a restored well pad from the exploration phase which now cannot be easily differentiated from the untouched surrounding environment and landscape.
In the debriefing session, the TEPU team and CSCO members engaged further on issues of climate, project social impacts to the surrounding communities and the resettlement housing projects for the PAPS, among others with the aim of providing ideas/proposals in the spirit of continuous improvement.