It is tempting when reporting on projects to constantly “accentuate the positive” but in many ways we learn more from the difficulties and the things that went wrong. In particular it underlines just why the work of ITF is so important.
The Green Our Environment Project in Uganda was affected by severe weather conditions. As we reported in the December e-newsletter, the Ugandan project run by our partners Rwenzori Environment Conservation Project had to delay the transplanting of seedlings because the expected rainy season was almost two months late.
This caused many more problems with the seedlings “over growing” in the nursery and with the community initially lacking the skills to deal with transplanting these larger seedlings. Recognising the problems they have compensated by providing much more after-care for the transplanted trees than is usual.
However more problems were to follow with heavier rainfall than normal in March causing rivers to flood. It destroyed a lot of trees that the project had planted in the area particularly along the river banks.
Despite all these set-backs trees did survive and the community did learn skills in tree planting and forest conservation. In fact the problems faced by the project means that the community is much more experienced in growing and planting trees when the rainy season is delayed.
It is encouraging that of those taking part in the project, 98% of them are now inter planting trees with crops and others have planted trees on the boundary of their lands.
The project also brought together a wide range of community members; individuals as well as schools and groups including Kitswamba Moslem Primary, Kitswamba Youth Football Club, St. Johns Church of Uganda, and the Seventh Day Adventist Environment Club.
Through the project the pupils of Kitswamba Primary School have received tools to maintain their existing trees and to plant new ones. They have been taught how to prepare seedbeds and look after seedlings.
The project has helped them learn about establishing tree nursery beds. 13 year old student Masika Joy Bobo said “we are now preparing our own trees for sale to generate income at home”.