GRA empowers Nyahaira residents to demand for effective service delivery from SBC Uganda Limited

Development is key in communities and locals are happy to witness it because jobs are created and in turn people’s sources of livelihood are improved. Often times, service delivery is also availed.

In Kabaale, Hoima, a number of companies have set up base to tap into the fortunes the discovery of oil has brought to area, now commonly known as ‘the oil city’. Roads have improved, structures have been set up and more. Companies have engaged in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as their contribution to societal goals and aspirations. Recently, the local area leaders of Nyahaira received an invitation letter to a donation function from SBC Uganda Limited, the contractor for the development of Kabaale International Airport in Kabaale- Hoima. The letter dated 30th July, 2020, stated that the company, was giving back to the communities within which they operate, according to its needs. “As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we will donate the below mentioned items in Buseruka Sub-county in Hoima District: A borehole to Karo Karungi community, a borehole to Nyahaira community, Wheel chairs and clutches to the disabled people and a water tank to Kabaale Primary School,” the letter reads, in part.

The handover function was slated to take place on Tuesday 11th August 2020 at Kabaale Primary School starting at 10am and ending at 1pm. However, residents of Nyahaira received the invitation letter from SBC Uganda’s operations manager, Dotan Hameiri, with shock because SBC had not constructed a borehole in their community.

As such, there was no reason for them to attend the celebratory function in Buseruka- Hoima. ‘I wrote to the Local Council (LC5) of Hoima District that SBC should come and show us where the borehole is. It was not in our village as stated in the invitation letter. It was in another village- Kitegwa B. The LC5 chairman did not help us so we wrote to Global Rights Alert (GRA) explaining what happened here,” Emmanuel Odimu, the LC one chairman of Nyahaira village.

Global Rights Alert (GRA) is a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) whose mission is to make natural resources benefit the people. Odimu adds, “They advised us to call a meeting. We did and it was held on 13th August 2020. We invited SBC management and asked them where they had built the borehole. They apologized and committed to build us a borehole. We are grateful for the guidance we received from GRA in guiding us to hold those in power accountable. The borehole is under construction so we know that anytime, it will be completed and will help our people who have been facing a challenge of walking long distances in search of clean water.”

Brian Nahamya is a Program Associate with GRA in Hoima and confirms that Nyahaira is faced with a challenge of access to water. “SBC came in to provide water sources in form of boreholes for community members. At some point, they volunteered to give different villages boreholes but Nyahaira missed out. SBC instead installed a borehole in Kitegwa but instead indicated that they had installed it in Nyahaira. The community reached out to us for help on how we could help. We advised the community to write to SBC which responded by formally explaining to the community. explained that during the s they had failed to get a,” Nahamya explains.

Amos Muriisa is Public Relations Officer (PRO) of SBC Uganda. He explains that they initially failed to get a water point to drill the borehole. In some places, SBC’s publicist says that they would drill more than 90 meters down, into the earth, observing that Hoima is dry corridor.

“We have constructed more than eight boreholes in Kabaale Nyamasoga, Kigaaga, Nyahaira, Karo Karungi, Rugonjo. We found water was a big problem here but now every homestead has access to water provided by SBC. We have touched the lives of the people around which has made them like the company,” Muriisa explains.

He says they are in the process of constructing a borehole in Nyahaira and Nyamasoga. They are Community for donating committee to supervise the boreholes for sustainability and also ensure good relations between SBC and the communities. GRA’s Nahamya says that as an organization, they are happy to empower and see communities hold those in power accountable in service delivery.

“I would like to thank Global Rights Alert for responding and guiding us when we reached out to them to help us solve the challenge we faced of SBC announcing that they had given us a borehole when in actual sense, it had been constructed in another village. We feel supported and empowered as a community now that we see the borehole being constructed by SBC,” Odimu, LC1 chairperson of Nyahaira, explains.

Millius Nyamahunge, a Community Based Monitor (CBM) in Kabaale Sub County. “I didn’t know my rights as a person but when Global Rights Alert they enrolled me and trained me, I can now talk about and demand for my rights from politicians and those in positions of making decision. We can speak with strong voices as communities to demand for our rights. That is how the people of Nyahaira have been able to acquire a borehole,” Nyamahunge explains.