Thursday 21 September 2017

Grant Applications for the KOEF

Deadline: October 27, 2017
Keepers of the Earth Fund


Cultural Survival is pleased to announce the Keepers of the Earth Fund (KOEF) Call for Applications. The KOEF is a small grants fund that supports Indigenous values-based community development.  These grants have supported Indigenous-led projects on the leading edge of solutions to the most pressing issues for Indigenous Peoples everywhere.
Through the general KOEF, Cultural Survival intends to provide grants ranging between $500 and $5,000 to Indigenous-led and -controlled organizations and groups around the world.

Grants can support projects focused on a vast array of development activities. Applications will be viewed with an eye toward innovation, Indigenous values woven into the design of the project, and projects addressing real-time development needs. The connection between Indigenous values and the proposed project should be clearly articulated.

The primary purpose of the Keepers of the Earth Fund is to empower grassroots Indigenous communities in establishing their rights and retaining their traditional values.

We seek to fund projects that work in collaboration with others for the larger community as opposed to working alone. We encourage partnerships and networking, capacity building for results, and strategic approaches to Indigenous development.

Grant applications will be accepted through October 27, 2017. For guidelines and grant applications for the KOEF, please visit or contact

In this Call for Applications, we will NOT consider applications to support Self-Governance and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) projects as we have a separate special initiative fund for these topics.
Since 2005, the KOEF has awarded $2.3 million to 357 Indigenous nonprofits in 64 countries.

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Contextualizing Climate Justice in Uganda

Participants during the Climate Justice Dialogue

Climate change has been documented to be induced by human activities such as agriculture, industrialization and construction with impacts directly deterring economic growth. In Uganda climate change impacts are evident with increasing food prices due to supply side shocks to agriculture caused by drought, declining water levels and increasing disasters (floods, landslides and drought) which in turn have exacerbated poverty levels in Uganda. Furthermore, climate change has continued to distort livelihood sources and made access to the basic needs i.e. water, food and shelter extremely difficult.

Looking at the societal class most affected, it is the vulnerable people (poor, disempowered and marginalized) severely affected by the impacts of climate change due to limited alternatives to adapt to climate change and already existing economic, physical and social challenges like disability, poverty, education a few to mention. Such exerted external influence to already vulnerable class of society is collectively qualified to result in injustices to such vulnerable groups.
According to the Mary Robinson Foundation, climate justice refers to sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution equitably and fairly. Elsewhere, civil society organizations have contextualized Climate justice as a mechanism that can help to strike a balance between shared climate change burdens and benefits at all levels of the country e.g. when governments/public sectors fail to promote inclusive and equitable responsive actions to combat climate change impacts, climate injustice is inevitable.

Different scholars have highlighted the relationship between Climate justice, human rights and development with the Mary Robinson Foundation qualifying the achievement of human centred approaches. Climate Injustices can be manifested in forms of; information gaps on climate change response actions, decision making gap and limited transparency and accountability in implementing climate actions.

The Foundation has moved a step forward to guide on how to ensure climate justice by developing 7 fundamentals i.e. 1) Respect and protection of Human Rights, 2) Support the right to development, 3) Share burdens and benefits equitably, 4) Ensure that decisions on climate change are participatory, transparent and accountable, 5) Highlight gender equality and equity,  6) Harness the transformative power of education for climate stewardship and 7)Use effective partnership to ensure climate justice.

Despite the close relationship of climate Justice between human rights and development, to many, Climate justice is considered as a new term. Noting that different stakeholders understand and address things differently, building national consensus on what entail climate justice is one such way to enable stakeholders’ dialogue and raise awareness.

In line with the Rio Principle 10 that sets out the 3 fundamental rights: access to information, access to public participation and access to justice, Climate Justice begins with closing the information gap on climate change, its impacts and existing opportunities. For example youth have a role to play in advancing climate justice though such a role is greatly dependent on the levels of awareness and understanding of climate change, youth involvement in decision making and actual implementation of climate actions. 

If Uganda is to advance climate justice this should be through; communicating a common clear message, improving transparency and accountability to citizens, promoting partnerships with private and public intuitions and raising awareness on the burdens and benefits from climate change. Therefore, while contextualizing climate justice in Uganda, it is necessary to undertake an audit on how practices for climate action respond to the 7 principles established by the Mary Robison Foundation.

Composed by:

Christine Mbatuusa

Fellow at EMLI

Friday 23 June 2017

Mercury Pollution: A growing environmental health risk in Uganda.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The Convention is named after the Japanese city Minamata symbolizing the devastating incident the city went through of mercury poisoning. This Convention is a result of three (3) years of meeting and negotiating, later adopted by 140 countries on 19 January 2013 in Geneva. It is envisaged to enhance the reduction of mercury pollution from the targeted activities responsible for release of mercury to the immediate environment.

Uganda is signatory to the Minamata Convention but yet to ratify it. Positively, some actions are being done at National level to address mercury pollution, for example, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is implementing a project on the development of Minamata Convention on Mercury initial assessment in Africaaimed at facilitating the ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention whilst providing key national stakeholders with scientific, technical knowledge and tools needed to support the ratification of the Convention.

Noting continued indiscriminate dumping and burning of toxic waste(composed of nickel/cad-mium compounds), due to weak legislation on pollution, Uganda risks worsening levels of heavy metal pollution.With the increasing heavy metals presence has been noted in Lake  Victoria  with main sources being  industrial and  domestic  waste  as  well  as  small-scale  gold  mining activities that continue to use Mercury. 

It is worth noting that early ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury provides an opportunity for the global community to address this mounting problem before it gets worse contributing to reduction in mercury pollution from the specific human activities responsible for the most significant mercury releases to the environment.

According to UNEP, Mercury releases from Artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) is estimated to be about 1400 tonne/year. At national level, NEMA estimates total annual mercury releases in society at 26.4 tonne/year with high concentrations in air, water and land. The current Mercury stockpiles include cement production, incineration of hazardous waste, imported cosmetics and related products and dental Mercury amalgam fillings. It should be noted that Mercury to amalgamate gold is mostly smuggled into Uganda and supplied by Gold buyers to small scale artisanal miners all over the country.

Myriad by multiplicity of Conventions, complicity of the Mining sector coupled with limited information on ASGM, Uganda risks acute environmental health risks associated with heavy metal pollution such as Mercury.

However, steps are being taken to address such related challenging. One such step is the development of Mercury Initial Assessment Communication Strategy for Uganda. However, for the strategy to benefit the country, it should be linked to Vision 2040 so as to achieve a more employable and productive economy for increased productivity.

Addressing Mercury pollution should be holistic and follow an integrated approach where issues relating to supply and trade of mercury must be addressed first.

Complied by; Peninah Atwine
Fellow at EMLI Bwaise Facility

Monday 8 May 2017


Tree planting at Fairway High School in Kazo.
Environment means the surrounding of man i.e. wetlands, forests, lakes and rivers. Environment has a great contribution on the livelihood of man. However, in Uganda the environment is over strained due to human activities, for example the natural forests, wetlands and rivers hence has been encroached on by man in the disguise of development and looking for settlement, land for agriculture and construction of roads among others.

Attempts have been done to reverse the situation by both public and Government of Uganda a case in point is the concluded cleaning exercise done in Wakiso district, Kazo parish in different schools (Kazo mixed primary school, Fairway high school and Kazo Islamic primary school) under the theme Promoting Hygiene, Sanitation and Environmental Protection as the following stood out as key good practices in environmental management.

Sanitation and environmental protection is a key factor today in environmental management. This can be done through general cleaning exercises in the community, for example in schools that can involve waste and garbage collection, , toilets and urinals, tree planting to protect from extinct environment and environmental education. 

Coordination/joint effort among stakeholders i.e. community members, schools, organizations and others is very key in promoting environmental protection as it helps to build social responsibility amongst community members in realizing a common goal.

Sanitation and environmental protection is a challenge mostly in highly populated schools such as in UPE schools that have limited social responsibility. Authorities such as schools, locals and others should become more visible here to save the environment and promote sanitation. For example during a cleanup exercise in schools around Kazo Parish, as the Director of Fairway High school commended the youth of Kazo Youth Players Association (KYPA) for the work and effort they do in promoting hygiene, sanitation and environmental governance in the area.
Waste management and environmental education are critical in environmental governance and ensuring proper sanitation. Through sensitization, establishment of environmental clubs, tree planting, promoting good sanitation and proper waste management, we can ensure living in a clean and disease free environment from children. Technical guidance on environment protection and also providing IEC materials to schools during such activities will also lead to continuous spread of the information.

In a nutshell promoting good environmental governance and preserving the Ecosystem in schools, neibouring communities and the country at large will make a “CLEAN AND GREEN PERFECT SCENE.”