Onapito in a group photo after handing over the hoes

Onapito in a group photo after handing over the hoes

Nile Breweries Limited through its parent company AB Inbev has supported interventions to restore River Rwizi based in Mbarara. This is in order to curtail the heavy degradation of the river.

Despite the river catchment being important for supporting social, economic, and ecosystem functions for upstream, midstream and downstream economies, the catchment has over the years been heavily degraded.

This has resulted in occasional water shortages during the dry season and flush flooding during the wet seasons. It should be remembered that Nile Breweries Limited Mbarara plant worth over USD 90 M investments is based in the Rwizi catchment in Mbarara city and relies on water from this river for production.

Other prominent industries depending on this river for their business include the Coca cola, and a number of beverage and dairy plants, and many more are expected as the city expands. All these major investments are located in high-risk sites with evident water quantity and quality challenges.

Some of the cows that were given to the locals as an alternative source of livelihood

These risks however, also present an opportunity that ABInBev and its partners are capitalizing on to undertake catchment management interventions at scale to reverse this trend. A catchment management plan for Rwizi has been developed and ABInBev in partnership with WWF- UK and Uganda with other stakeholders has been supporting implementation of some aspects of the plan. It has done this through phases.

The first phase support from ABInBev funded the implementation of the project called “multi-stakeholder partnerships for water stewardship and community livelihoods in the Rwizi catchment” which aimed at developing collective stakeholder driven approaches and implementing site catchment-based interventions to address water risks in River Rwizi middle catchment later contributing to improved community livelihoods and water quality and quantity. The donation made was Shs505m.

The second phase funding focused on scaling up the interventions implemented under the first phase through the already established governance structures and partnerships.

The project strives to enhance the quality quantity of water in River Rwizi catchment so that it sustainably and adequately supports ecosystem functioning and socio-economic development.

The donation to this was USD 200,000. The two phases were concentrated in the Kakigani area. After the Kakigani success story, On Wednesday, the Ministry of Water and Environment through Victoria Water Management Zone in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) with support from Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABInBev) held a CMC meeting at Kakiganu Church of Uganda to consolidate ABInBev conservation initiatives for scaling up Catchment Management Interventions in River Rwizi and exchange thoughts with project players and other stakeholders as the same time.

The locals celebrate after they were given donations

The stakeholders also convened a field work exercise on the 29th March 2022 in order to present and discuss ABInBev project implementation progress and develop strategic actions for scaling up project interventions in the Rwizi catchment. They also launched a community revolving fund as a sustainable community financing mechanism for conservation of River buffer ecosystems. They also launched a third phase which is now targeting 1400 hectares of the landscape in 6 sub counties of Ndeiza, Rugando, Nyakayojo, Shuuku and Bubale.

Onapito Ekomoloit, the corporate affairs boss at Nile Breweries handed over a dummy cheque worth Shs2.2bn that will kick-start the third phase.

Onapito said that water takes a great percentage of beer adding that this is the reason they are investing heavily in improving water access and security in the communities where they live and work. The locals were also given conservation incentives like hoes to use as they go about the conservation project.

Some of the participants at the workshop were from the Rwizi catchment management committee from the 12 districts of the Rwizi Catchment. Others included politicians, technical staff, Private Sector, NGOs, religious and Opinion leaders of the respective districts. The Minister of Water and Environment Beatrice Anywar was represented by Dr.Florence Adong, the Director of Water Resources Management (DWRW).

She said River Rwizi emerged as the most endangered river in Uganda from studies done to assess the degraded water sources in Uganda.

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