By Dinah Kembabazi
The lack of any vocational institute in Buliisa District has raised the eyebrows of the District Woman Member of Parliament appealing to TotalEnergies EP Uganda to establish a fully-fledged one in the area.
Ms Norah Nyendwoha says the absence of the infrastructure has more straining cost implications on both parents and learners who have to incur more expenditure and brace for long distances to neighbouring districts with the services respectively.
Presiding over TotalEnergies’ handout of startup kits to oil Project Affected Persons (PAPs) at Kisomere primary school in Ngwedo sub-county, Buliisa district, the legislator said learners travel more than 60 miles to Hoima city and Kikuube district seeking vocational studies which can be provided at home once an institute is established there.
“This will reduce on the cost of travelling to other districts to get training services and by so doing, TotalEnergies EP Uganda will leave a legacy in Buliisa as the company that established a fully-fledged and well equipped vocational training centre.”
Ms Nyendwoha implored the oil giant to rollout the skilling programme to all parts of the district instead of concentrating only in Ngwedo sub-county its area of operation to enable an inclusive benefit from the oil resource in the district.
She urged TotalEnergies EP Uganda to continue sponsoring more students in vocational training in an effort to provide life skills to the young generation that will directly and indirectly benefit from the oil and gas resource once the sector becomes fully operational to enhance community social transformation.
The Buliisa Resident District Commissioner, Mr Stephen Byaruhanga Nfashingabo, urged the beneficiary PAPs to put in practice the acquired skills to bolster their livelihood consequently transforming others who have not had a chance of benefiting from the training programme.
The Buliisa District Chairman, Mr Fred Lukumu, advised the beneficiary PAPs to ensure that as they work, they save their money so that they can develop their enterprises into bigger businesses.
The Deputy General Manager TotalEnergies EP Uganda, Mrs Mariam Nampeera Mbowa, said the startup kits are symbolic of the commitment pledging that the company will boost the self-sustainability and household incomes of the PAPs.
“TotalEnergies is conscious of its responsibility to support the economic uplift of the Tilenga host community and most especially the project affected persons.” She said.
Ms Mildred Mbabazi, one of the beneficiaries who trained in catering said she will use the acquired skills to earn a living and also help others benefit from the skills indirectly.
She appreciated TotalEnergies for sponsoring and giving the beneficiaries the startup capital for her financial development.
“Because many who studied similar courses that we have also studied but they did not have enough capital to start their own businesses, they are currently seated at home. This makes TotalEnergies a unique entity that is driving its goal home. We have not been left in suspense after attaining the skills. We have been given the capital and now the ball is in our hands to use the skills and the capital to improve our livelihood,” Ms Mbabazi said.
A total of 114 learners were registered to undergo a three-month vocational training but only 104 completed their studies at St Simon Vocational Training College, Millennium Business School, Prestige and Christian Driving Schools in Hoima city and Buhimba Technical Institute in Kikuube district.
The learners hailing from four Resettlement Action Plan (RAP)-1 villages of Kisomere, Kirama, Kasenyi and Kilima in Buliisa graduated in such eight optional vocational training courses as automotive, tailoring, catering, mechanics motorcycle mechanics, driving skills hair dressing, plumbing and welding offered depending on the needs assessments for the PAPs.
The startup kits were identified and procured for 104 PAPs under different categories of vocational programmes including 12 tailors, five hairdressers, 70 mechanics, five plumbers, six caterers and six welders.