Utilization of compensation funds by persons displaced by Park Junction Road Project in Buliisa District, Uganda
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Uganda is pursuing an ambitious target of completing a large section of its “oil roads” in the Albertine Grabben region, where oil exploration is undergoing. The Park Junction Buliisa Road (PJBR) is one of the roads under construction by the Government of Uganda (GOU) and Development Partners which was designed to contribute to the country’s First Oil exploitation by 2020 (UNRA, 2018). In the process of constructing the roads, people in the surrounding areas get displaced, or they may lose their land and other property. Existing laws and policies require that the populations affected by road projects are compensated and made to live life worth how they lived before they were affected. This study sought to establish how the project affected persons (PAPs) along Park Junction Buliisa utilized the compensation funds received, whether there was participation of household members’ in decision-making regarding utilization of compensation funds, and to assess whether livelihoods of PAPs improved or were at least restored following utilization of compensation funds. A cross-sectional descriptive survey study design was adopted, using quantitative and qualitative approaches. A sample of 274 households was studied, selected using a systematic sampling procedure. Data was collected using a survey questionnaire on phone with Open data kit and SPSS was used for data cleaning and analysis. The findings show that more than half of the participants had lost their gardens (65.3%), followed by family homes (20.4%), commercial buildings (17.9%), grazing land (12.8%) and forests (11.3%). Close to a half of the households received 5,000,000 and above (48.0%), followed by those that received 0-100,000 (20.5%), 100,001-2,000,000 (13.6%), 2,000,0001-3,000,000 (8.1%), 3,000,0001-4,000,000 (5.9%), and lastly 4,000,001-5,000,000 (4.0%). Only 39 percent invested in development ventures. Households headed by the females were found to have saved and invested in productive ventures significantly more than those headed by males. Other factors that were significantly related to investment of compensation funds include education level of the household head, household size, and age of the household head. Based on the findings, it is recommended that financial and investment trainings are provided to PAPs to enable them to undertake meaningful investments. Further, key project implementers should always undertake actions on behalf of all affected people, including members of the host communities in which displaced people will be settled, such as informing affected people of their options and rights concerning resettlement, and providing technically and economically feasible options for PAPs in order to make sure that they are not adversely affected by displacement and social change. Total livelihood restoration should be given priority.