ITF’s partners Masaka District Landcare Chapter (MADLACC) in the central region of Uganda have recently completed a project called ‘Out Scaling of Agroforestry for Poverty Reduction and Improved Livelihoods’. This project focused on engaging school children in tree planting and tree nursery management within their school grounds. MADLACC also wanted to improve the productivity of farms and help farmers to increase their income by working through these schools to reach parents and teach them about agroforestry.
Engaging Pupils, Teachers and Parents
Tree nurseries were introduced into the grounds of the participating schools and junior Land Care Clubs were established in order to teach the children about the importance of trees, as well as good tree nursery management. 20 teachers were trained in agroforestry techniques and the schools were then encouraged to plant some of the seedlings from these nurseries in their grounds. The remaining seedlings were given to parents of the students to plant at home. 15,143 trees were planted in total as part of this project.
Participating schools noticed some significant benefits from their students learning new skills outdoors. Butale primary school reported an improvement in academic performance after taking part and has since become a learning centre for 4 other schools. They have also seen an improvement in the students’ nutrition since growing fruit, this has been especially beneficial for students who need a good diet to support HIV treatment.
Children have been able to plant trees at home with their parents; one parent who has benefitted from this is Mike Lwanga. Before being part of this project, many seedlings were too expensive for Mike to buy and plant on his farm. When MADLACC started working at the school that Mike’s four children attend, he received 56 seedlings to plant on his family’s land. He has now planted Avocado trees, Albizia trees to shade his coffee crops and Calliandra trees, which will provide fodder for his livestock.
“I have always wanted to plant trees on my farmland but when I tried to buy seedlings from commercial tree nurseries, it was expensive. Now that we work closely with our school, we have been able to get tree seedlings of our choice and I hope in a few years to come, the landscape on my farm will change” – Mike Lwanga, 56 years old.
Mike and his family will begin to see the benefits of these trees as they mature in around 1.5 to 4 years, their income will increase and their diet will improve. Mike now encourages other parents to support their children in participating in school tree planting activities. This project will continue to have effects within the communities, as many of those who took part have pledged to continue to plant trees.
New Work Begins
MADLACC have now developed a new project ‘Tree Planting for Poverty Reduction and Improved Livelihoods’, which is an extension of this work. The project aims to plant over 36,000 trees with local communities. This new project also aims to engage school children in learning activities related to tree planting and care. The trees planted in schools will provide the school children with fresh fruit and vegetable leaves to improve their nutrition – following on from the work started in previous years.
This project will result in tree cover increasing in school grounds, as well as on surrounding farms and households. It will also have a positive effect on the participants’ livelihoods, as trees will be planted that improve soil fertility along with fruit trees, leading to increased crop yields.
Thanks to Wessanen UK who have supported our Sustainable Community Forestry Programme over the last three years, and have funded this new project with MADLACC in 2019.