In September 2018 we posted an update from our partners in Uganda, Alpha Women Empowerment Initiative (AWEI). Since then their project ‘Enhancing Women’s Livelihood Capacity Building’, which was supported by funding from our partners Wessanen UK, has come to an end and AWEI have exceeded their goals for the project. They aimed to work with 300 local women to train them in grafting mango seedlings and other agroforestry techniques, by the end of the project they had reached 346 women with training in these skills. AWEI also aimed to plant 10,000 mango seedlings with the help of these women and this target was also surpassed as they managed to plant a total of 10,081 seedlings.
On top of the training delivered to these 346 women, 20 women were given further training in project planning and management in order to ensure there are leaders in the communities who can take this project forward and encourage the continuation of tree planting activities. 319 women were also trained on the negative impacts of deforestation in an attempt to minimise exploitation of the local forests.
The long term impacts of this project will include improved nutrition within the community as the mango trees mature, providing fresh fruits. Another outcome will be improved resistance to soil erosion on farms, many of the women who participated live on the slopes of mountains and the addition of trees to their land will help to stabilise the soil and prevent further erosion.
AWEI have already reported that other community members are copying the new skills gained by the direct beneficiaries, this is a good indicator that the project will have long-term impacts in the community. AWEI will also continue to sell mango seedlings at an affordable price and put the money earned towards the continuation of the project activities. The mango trees that have been planted as part of this project will also provide cuttings, which will be used to graft more seedlings in the future.
One beneficiary, Kyakyimwa Helena from Buhaghura Village has learnt how to plant and care for mango seedlings on her steep land, she has also gained skills in tree planting project management. She told us “Part of my land is dry and steep, it was not productive and poverty was leading me to cause deforestation. I had an opportunity to benefit from AWEI grafted mangoes planting program. I was given training on grafted mangoes and good agronomic practices. AWEI gave me grafted mangoes seedlings that I planted economically to utilize my dry and steep part of land. With this support, I expect to increase my food source and also acquire the rest of my basic requirements.”
Another participant, Nzangwa Peregia from Mapatha Village has gained knowledge on the dangers of deforestation and how to efficiently grow mango seedlings. “I am now equipped to become a strong grafted mango tree farmer and a community change agent in preventing deforestation.”
Thanks to Wessanen UK for supporting this project, it has been very successful and we hope that the community will continue to experience the benefits for years to come.
New women’s agroforestry programme – 2019 – 2021:
The new project AWEI have proposed is to combat the ongoing problem of soil erosion around Mount Rwenzori. This soil erosion leads to reduced soil fertility, and this in turn results in low food production. When crop yields are low, some women resort to using forest resources to augment their income. This project aims to deliver training in the maintenance of grafted mango trees and the marketing of their fruit to 200 local women across the 4 sub counties of Rukoki, Kilembe, Bugoye and Bulembia.
4 new nursery beds will be established and 1,000 women will be trained in agroforestry (incorporating beneficial trees into farming systems). It is hoped that these measures will begin to increase local community food security and income. These women will also be trained on the dangers of deforestation, as well as soil and water conservation.