For two decades the conflict in Northern Uganda between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan Government has led to the destruction of both the social infrastructure and the environment in the region.
Trees were cut down for wood fuel and building poles and the loss of tree cover leaving the land bare is causing erosion and widespread environmental problems.
The Sustainable Community Forestry Programme project, Trees for Communities in Lira County, is currently working in six villages in this affected area including the village of Barlonyo where over 200 civilians were massacred and buried in a mass grave in 2004. Now 150 households are being trained and assisted by Friends of Environment for Development (FED) to plant 36,000 trees including 8,000 assorted fruit trees.
The project is now well underway with FED reporting that they have been making the news on the local radio station QFM with a talk show to promote the project.
As well as broadcasting to a large audience they have also been meeting with different community groups including women and youth groups to involve them in the project. 150 households are taking part from which 10 management committee groups from six villages have been set up to oversee the project in liaison with FED.
A tree nursery has been established on a 20m x 25m piece of land and almost all the seeds for the project have now been planted. 35,900 seeds have been sown of pawpaw, avocado, orange, neem, teak, caliandra, pine and Gravilae Robusta. They are now waiting for the mango seeds to arrive which will be the last to plant.
Most of the seedlings have now been transferred to pots while others are taking a little longer to establish but it is hoped that the rainy season, expected by end of March/early April, will encourage them to grow.
The project has had its challenges with the rise in the value of the US$ increasing prices across Uganda putting some pressure on the project budget.
An unprecedented dry spell has meant that the plants have needed more watering, not helped by water shortages.
However the project is still on course and the next stages will see skills training on budding and grafting once the orange trees are ready. The photo above shows the orange seedlings in the nursery with the pines under the straw shade.
Lions Clubs in 105D district in the South of England are funding the Trees for Communities project. For more details on the project