Helping with Isimba Dam made easy…

A lot of people care about this issue, and have been asking us what they can do to help. So here it is… made easy.

A BRIEF EXPLANATION
The most important thing right now is that the World Bank stands up for the area they have pledged to protect. They are a huge organisation and have admitted to us that they have the power to stop the largest version of the dam if they wanted to, however, they also basically said (unnofficially of course!) that they will only act if their public reputation is at stake. So basically, if the public pressure is great enough, and enough people care and it makes them look bad by not acting they will stand up for their conservation area. They’ve done it before for this exact conservation area when another area was due to be destroyed, but only once enough fuss was made and it made them look bad to not act.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Putting pressure on the World Bank is the most important thing we need help with. This can be done in two ways:

1) Publishing articles on blogs, in magazines, newspapers etc that push other people to engage with the World Bank (point 2 below). Let us know if you have contacts for articles, or if you publish anything, and we will use it to help raise awareness.
2) Contact the World Bank directly and voice your concerns about the issue. This is most easily done via email, but can also be done through a variety of different mediums as you see fit.

HOW TO CONTACT THE WORLD BANK
We want everyone to email their local World Bank representative, the head of world bank in Uganda, leading high flying World Bank personnel in Washington, and anyone else you can think of in the organisation!
Here are some important email contacts to start with (but feel free to find more!):

Phillip Hay – phay@worldbank.org
(Head of communications Africa Region)

Sheila Gashishiri sgashishiri@worldbank.org
(Head of World Bank in Uganda)

Sarwat Hussain – Shussain@worldbank.org
(Senior Communications officer, Africa Region Sustainable development, Washington)

and here is a link to make it super easy to find your local representative.
http://www.worldbank.org/en/country

You can write to any or all of the above contacts, but better to address them all individually rather than sending a mass email out to them.

WHAT TO SEND?
There is a template email below, which we suggest you modify to make it personal. It can also be much more to the point to Sheila Gashishiri and to Phillip Hay, who are well aware of the Kalagala offset and the Isimba Dam, if  you are emailing your local representative around the world they will need the full email background.
Remember the point is to pressure the World Bank to uphold their agreement (and much more important to them) their reputation.

EMAIL TEMPLATE
Dear (ENTER REPRESENTATIVES NAME),

Representative for the World Bank in (ENTER YOUR HOME COUNTRY / REGION).

I am writing as a concerned citizen of (ENTER YOUR COUNTRY) about a serious issue in Uganda, which directly concerns The World Bank.

As a mitigation measure for the (World Bank backed) Bujagali Hydro Power Project a conservation agreement called the Kalagala Offset Agreement was formed.

The agreement between the World Bank and the Government of Uganda was put in place to protect the remaining stretch of rapids and river banks in the same region, for the sake of minimizing impact on the environment, the local people and eco tourism which flourishes in the area.

Now, the Isimba Hydro Power Project will flood a significant portion of this conservation area thus breaking this agreement. Isimba HPP is funded by the Chinese government, and due to be constructed by a Chinese construction firm, both of whom seem unconcerned that a conservation area is due to be flooded.

I am urging The World Bank to act on behalf of the thousands of Ugandans due to be negatively effected, as well as the environment, and the tourism that generates large amounts of income in an otherwise under developed region.

Fifteen thousand people, including 12,000 Ugandans from the immediate area, have signed a petition demanding the agreement be upheld and a smaller version of the Isimba HPP to be constructed (which would leave the conservation area unaffected).

Please stand up to China and the Ugandan government and uphold the agreement that is laid out by The World Bank to protect the stretch of river due to be flooded.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

 (ENTER NAME)

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The situation regarding the Isimba Hydro Power Project is now critical

Is it right to move a conservation area because someone wants to destroy it?!

The situation regarding the Isimba Hydro Power Project here in Uganda is now critical.

In the next few weeks The World Bank, and Uganda’s National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) have to decide whether to block the Isimba HPP at its current proposed reservoir height and authorize only a smaller version or to break an international agreement between the World Bank and the Government of Uganda to conserve this stretch of river. This decision is going on largely behind closed doors but we need to let the World Bank know that the world cares what is being said and we care about the river that could be lost.

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The World Bank will have to choose whether to block the proposal, or to compromise their morals by breaking the agreement that is in place and moving the conservation area to a different site so that the section can be flooded.

Moving a conservation area to somewhere else because the area is due to be destroyed is morally wrong, and clearly is against the fundamental idea of conservation. What is the point in creating a conservation area if, when it is threatened, it is simply allowed to be destroyed?

The agreement as it stands protects a unique section of river that is environmentally, socially and economically critical to the region.

We need to let the World Bank know that people all over the world are watching this decision, and that it can’t be simply swept under the carpet and forgotten about.

You can help!

Please email and/or write to your local World Bank representative, wherever you are in the world, and to let them know that you are concerned about this issue!

 

You can find your local World Bank representative contact details here:

http://www.worldbank.org/en/country

 

Please send them a letter and write them an email expressing your concerns.

A template for the email/letter is below, which we suggest you modify to make it more personal:

 

Dear (ENTER REPRESENTATIVES NAME),

Representative for the World Bank in (ENTER YOUR HOME COUNTRY / REGION).

 

I am writing as a concerned citizen of (ENTER YOUR COUNTRY) about a serious issue in Uganda, which directly concerns The World Bank.

 

As a mitigation measure for the (World Bank backed) Bujagali Hydro Power Project a conservation agreement called the Kalagala Offset Agreement was formed.

 

The agreement between the World Bank and the Government of Uganda was put in place to protect the remaining stretch of rapids and river banks in the same region, for the sake of minimizing impact on the environment, the local people and eco tourism which flourishes in the area.

 

Now, the Isimba Hydro Power Project will flood a significant portion of this conservation area thus breaking this agreement. Isimba HPP is funded by the Chinese government, and due to be constructed by a Chinese construction firm, both of whom seem unconcerned that a conservation area is due to be flooded.

 

I am urging The World Bank to act on behalf of the thousands of Ugandans due to be negatively effected, as well as the environment, and the tourism that generates large amounts of income in an otherwise under developed region.

 

Fifteen thousand people, including 12,000 Ugandans from the immediate area, have signed a petition demanding the agreement be upheld and a smaller version of the Isimba HPP to be constructed (which would leave the conservation area unaffected).

 

Please stand up to China and the Ugandan government and uphold the agreement that is laid out by The World Bank to protect the stretch of river due to be flooded.

 

Thank you for your support and understanding.

 

(ENTER NAME)

 

Petition on Avaaz

Last weekend, hundreds of spectators gathered on the banks of the Nile near Jinja to witness the annual Nile River Festival – a celebration of the river’s awesome white water and the community that surrounds it. This unique section of rapids is under threat and the Government of Uganda must be alerted to the serious threat that the Isimba Hydro Power Project poses to the Nile’s tourism industry. 

The negative environmental and social impacts are numerous – if this dam goes ahead as planned, not only will one of Uganda’s most popular natural wonders will be destroyed forever, white water tourism, and thousands of jobs will be lost as well.

Your support is needed more than ever! Please sign the following petition on Avaaz so that the GoU can be made aware of the true impacts of this project:

http://bit.ly/1n2BoPH

 

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Meet Abra

Meet Abra Euwlima – Tour Guide

“We sound as though we are opposing this dam, but we are not opposing it. Just let this part remain, don’t kill another thing that is already living.”

Euwlima Abraham, better known as Abra, is a tour guide at Bujagali who has a clear passion for the environment and the nature around him. A true family man, he relies on the tourist economy here in Bujagali to support those around him without reservation.

http://www.simdavis.com/2013/11/isimba-dam-abraham-euwlima/

Meet Francis

Francis Ochiti – Bujagali Business Owner

“If they go ahead with the big dam then it’ll be like burying the Ugandan people alive, we will have no options left but to suffer the consequences.”

Francis grew up in Jinja and ran a successful cafe before the Bujagali dam. With that dam in place and the cafe business no longer viable he has downscaled, but; Francis, his child and the others that he supports, including his wife who also works in tourism in Jinja, all rely on the Nile’s whitewater to bring in their customers. Francis talks about life before Bujagali dam, life now and the effect that Isimba could have not just to the local tourism but to tourism in Uganda as a whole. 

Full interview – http://wp.me/plZQC-uQ

Meet Juma

Part one in a photo series by freelance photographer, Sim Davis, looking at those affected by the impending Isimba dam project.

Juma Kalikwani – White Water River Guide

“I call the Nile my foundation for what I am today”

Juma, from Itanda, has represented Uganda and Africa at the 2012 Olympic games as part of the team introducing kayaking to the crowds in London. He grew up next to the spectacular falls and over the years has built up a career where he is now an internationally known river guide. 

Full interview – http://wp.me/plZQC-tJ

Photo ©Sim Davis 2013
www.simdavis.com

Silverback Rapid lives?! – Errors in the Isimba Dam social impact study

Social impact assessments are fundamental documents for any hydro power project. Key players will base their decisions regarding dams on these evaluations. 

The report for Isimba dam has just been released online. With regards to tourism it is incomplete and, in places, inaccurate. 

An example of this?

‘Silverback’ rapid (amongst other rapids such as the grade 6 Hypoxia!) is listed as still being available to commercially raft following the completion of the Isimba Dam. However, had those writing the report been to Silverback recently, they might have noticed that Silverback no longer exists! It is actually the site for the Bujagali Dam and is now a huge concrete structure – as you can see from this image. 

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Share this if you would like to see a full and comprehensive impact assessment done to show the true impact that the Isimba Dam will have on the Nile, Uganda and its people!

Are you involved in a business that will be affected by the Isimba dam?

If you are involved with a business that’s likely to be affected by the downturn in tourism in Jinja caused by the Isimba Hydro Power project in its current form, you can help by:

– Ensuring your company has completed the questionnaire that counts toward an independent study that’s taking place next month. (Your company should have received this via email in the past two weeks)

– Liking and sharing the Facebook page “Save adventure tourism in Uganda” 

– Ask your visitors to complete the following short survey: http://bit.ly/Ha5O4Y

If you have not yet received a copy of the questionnaire for the independent study be sure to let us know on savethenile@gmail.com. 

 

Not sure you’ll be affected? 

If the Isimba dam goes ahead, in its currently large scale form, white water rafting and all river based activities will cease to operate. Destroying this major attraction with have a huge impact on all tourism businesses in Jinja and further afield. Please read the ‘Mission Statement‘ for more details. 

You can help save Uganda’s adventure tourism!

Word is spreading… the whole region is listening now!

This issue is being discussed on radio, in the newspapers and even on TV! Thousands of residents in the region are against the Isimba dam in its current suggested form, they want to keep their jobs and livelihoods. They have taken the matter into their own hands and are planning a peaceful demonstration to make their views clear. 

We have heard that on 21st October, an anticipated crowd of not less than 2,000 residents will be marching from Itanda to Jinja! Good luck and stay peaceful!

You can still help! The Facebook page needs as many likes as possible. Please ike the page and share it with your friends:

https://www.facebook.com/saveadventuretourisminUganda