TotalEnergies EP Uganda on Monday commenced the handover of 105 resettlement houses and titles to people whose primary residence was impacted during the identification of land for the construction of the Tilenga Project facilities and associated infrastructure in Buliisa District.
The 105 houses are part of the planned 205 houses to be built and comprise 2, 3 and 4 bedrooms (depending on size of original structure), a sitting area, veranda, an outside kitchen, a solar powered system, rainwater Harvest Water Tank (5,000 litres), and a VIP Latrine. The structures are located on parcels of land chosen by the affected households and have been designed to last for at least 25 years before any major refurbishment is required. The completion and handover of the remaining 100 houses is planned for end of August 2023.
All beneficiary households are assisted by TotalEnergies EP Uganda to acquire free-hold land titles and are supported during the relocation and acclimatization process to include participation in the various livelihood restoration programs. They also receive transitional and psycho-social support. Specific emphasis is also placed on the joint spousal participation throughout the entire process.
Speaking at the handover, Mr. Philippe GROUEIX, General Manager, TotalEnergies EP Uganda said, “The handover we are witnessing today as well as the activities we are undertaking for livelihood restoration are enshrined in one of our sustainable development pillars focused on people’s well-being. Ultimately, we would like to contribute towards creating positive impact and shared value with the people affected by the project and those living in the vicinity of our activities.”
The ceremony was officiated by Hon. Dr. Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development. “I hope the world is watching what is happening here in Buliisa, Hoima, and Kikuube districts—205 decent resettlement houses worth US$10 million, with land titles, developed for our people, thanks to TotalEnergies.”
“We promised to implement Uganda’s oil and gas projects while safeguarding the environment and transforming the lives of our people. We shall sustainably exploit Uganda’s natural resources for social and economic transformation.” said Hon Nankabirwa.
The housing project is being implemented in the districts of Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube by Ugandan companies: Technical Masters Limited, ATX Ltd and Teltec Uganda Ltd. Potens Engineering Limited, another Ugandan company is providing 3rd Party Quality Assurance and certification. The building materials and manpower to construct the houses have also been locally sourced.
The Tilenga Land Acquisition and Resettlement process is being executed in line with national and international laws as well as international guidelines stipulated in the International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 5 (IFC PS 5) and in consultation and engagement with various stakeholders to include project communities, government agencies, and civil society organizations among others.
In addition, TotalEnergies EP Uganda through its Agricultural Support Services programme has handed over post-harvest handling equipment to 20 Farmer Groups and Associations established among Project Affected Households. The equipment includes Cassava chippers, silos, milling plants, and drying racks among others and is aimed at supporting farmers to access and utilize good agronomical practices to improve their household income levels. The project is being implemented on behalf of the Company Living Earth Uganda.
At the ceremony, TotalEnergies EP Uganda also commemorated 10 years of the local scholarship program that has benefitted over 270 students from the districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Pakwach, Masindi and Nebbi. The beneficiaries are supported to access O’level and A’level education with an emphasis on science subjects at top schools in the country.
In attendance were Buliisa District leaders, representatives from the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, CNOOC, UNOC, NGOs and members of the housing beneficiaries.